French technique made simple
The classic fruit tart is the ultimate French pastry shop dish. It’s the sort of dessert you envision sharing with your lover at an outdoor cafe, your hair tousled and cheeks flushed from the activity that brought on your appetite.
Many home cooks shy away from this technique-driven dish. But one of our favorite pastry chefs, Leah Kuo, breaks down the technique with her simple fruit tart recipe. And the way she organizes the instructions in such simple steps makes it achievable even for a novice baker.
Can you make this dessert in advance?
A classic fruit tart is a dessert best served on the same day as it is baked. However, if it makes the task more manageable, you can make the tart shell a few (3-4) hours in advance. And this way you’ll know that pastry crust is completely cooled before you start to assemble your tart.
You can also make the pastry cream up to a day in advance. Just store this egg mixture in the refrigerator overnight.
However, once you add the pastry cream, the fruit and the glaze, this dessert is ready to serve. And it should be served within hours of assembly for the best crisp crust and freshest, brightest fruit flavors.
A recipe with a “wow” factor
This classic fruit tart is an excellent recipe for a couple to make together as a weekend baking project. And it’s a “wow” sort of dish perfect for wooing someone at the end of a romantic meal. I love the combination Leah puts together of fresh fruits with a somehow both light and rich pastry cream and that distinctive tang of an apricot glaze.
I like to serve my tart with a glass of late harvest Riesling or other dessert wine that echoes the apricot note from the glaze.
If you love this recipe, be sure to check out Leah’s recipe for Raspberry Semifreddo!
Pastry chef Leah Kuo breaks down the steps of creating a classic, French fruit tart. This is the perfect dessert to "wow" at the end of a romantic meal.
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 3 tbsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 8 tbsp unsalted butter very cold
- 3 to 4 tbsp ice water
- 8 tbsp sugar
- 2 cups whole milk
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 egg
- 4 tbsp cornstarch
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 cup apricot jelly
- 1 tbsp water
- Strawberries raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, kiwi, sliced peaches and plums, cherries, champagne grapes.
- To make the pastry combine flour, sugar and salt and place in the freezer for an hour.
- Cut the butter into π inch pieces.
- Put flour mixture in the bowl of a food processor, add butter and pulse until butter forms small bits.
- Add ice water and process until dough comes together.
- Form into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 30 to 45 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- On a floured surface roll dough into 1/8 inch thick circle, large enough to hang slightly over the sides of a 10-inch tart pan with removable bottom.
- Cut off excess dough with a sharp knife.
- Line shell with aluminum foil, then fill with dried beans or pie weights.
- Bake 10 minutes.
- Remove beans and foil; prick bottom of the shell with a fork to allow steam to escape.
- Bake another 20 minutes until browned.
- Cool to room temperature.
- To make the pastry cream, scald the milk and 4 TBL sugar.
- Whisk the egg, yolks, cornstarch and remainder of sugar until pale yellow and reaches the ribbon stage.
- Temper the milk into the eggs. Thicken over medium low heat.
- Once thickened, remove from heat and add vanilla and butter.
- Place in a large bowl and cover with piece of plastic wrap laid directly on the surface of the cream to prevent a skin from forming.
- Refrigerate until completely cool.
- To make the glaze, melt the jelly and water in a small saucepan until combined and smooth.
- Spread pastry cream on the bottom of the shell.
- Artistically arrange the fruit over the cream.
- Brush glaze over the fruit.
- Serve and enjoy!
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