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, has broken down the technique for us into simple steps even a novice could complete.
A recipe with a “wow” factor
It’s the perfect recipe for a couple to make together as a weekend baking project. And it’s also the “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, 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 desert wine which echoes that apricot note.
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 and 1/4 cups all purpose flour
- 3 TBL sugar
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 8 TBL unsalted butter very cold
- 3 to 4 TBL ice water
- 8 TBL sugar
- 2 cups whole milk
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 egg
- 4 TBL cornstarch
- 2 TBL butter
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla
- 1/2 cup apricot jelly
- 1 TBL 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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