Friday, August 16, 2013

Classic Fruit Tart

your fruits may vary
Last year, I wrote about a quick and easy fruit tart that was pretty to look at and good to eat. It is a good dessert but not a great one, made as it is with premixed cookie dough. However, I make it at time because it is so quick and simple.

For my birthday last March, my daughter Kate made me a classic fruit tart, knowing I was not much of a cake eater. Her tart was absolutely delicious—it immediately became a favorite dessert—and Kate gave me the recipe. I tried it myself yesterday and realized it is not that much harder than the quick tart I've made for years; however, it requires different ingredients (and a tart pan, which I borrowed from same daughter) and a bit more time.

Essentially, it's a four-part process. You wash and dry the fruit first. Then you make a shortbread crust, fill it with a creamy filling, and decorate with fruit.

Start by making a shortbread crust: Place 1 c. all purpose flour, 1/3 c. confectioner's sugar,  and 1/8 tsp. salt into food processor. Pulse once or twice to combine. Then add 1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces, and pulse until it starts to come together in clumps. If it doesn't clump, add 1-2 tsp. cold water. Grease an 8-9 inch tart pan with removable bottom, or spray with a nonstick cooking spray. Spread the pastry evenly in the pan and press into the bottom and sides, using your fingers or the back of a spoon. Pierce the bottom with a fork and place in the freezer for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 425, with rack in the center. When dough is chilled, place tart pan on a baking sheet and bake until golden, about 13-16 minutes. Remove and cool on a wire rack. (You can cover and store this for a day or so if the weather isn't humid.)

They day of serving, make the cream filling. Mix 1/2 c. room temperature mascarpone cheese with 1/2 c. cold heavy cream, 2 TBSP granulated sugar, and1/2 tsp. vanilla extract. Whip until soft peaks form. Spread into the baked and cooled crust. Now arrange the fruit on top. I really like berries of all sorts, but peaches, kiwis, bananas, plums, whatever you like, can be used.

I like to finish with a light jam glaze. It adds a nice shine, and it keeps the fruit from drying out in the fridge if the dessert has to wait a few hours. For a glaze, put a heaping 2 TBSP apricot jam in the microwave for 15-20 seconds on high until melted. Add a few drops of fruit juice or grand marnier to thin until spreadable. Then lightly brush the fruit with this. Refrigerate, lightly covered, until ready to serve.

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