Monday, August 5, 2013

Summer fruit tart

There's just something so different between the fruits of summer and the fruits of winter. Summer fruits are so much more refreshing and clean, for lack of a better word. The desserts that you make with them reflect the fruits themselves. That's what I love about this tart. All the fruits are raw, crisp, and super fruity.

The fruits that are in season during Summer are just too beautiful: strawberries, blueberries, peaches, blackberries, etc. They are so vibrant and just bursting with flavor. I couldn't think of anything better than to make a refreshing fruit tart, which is actually quite simple to make. It consists of only pâte sucrée, lemon pastry cream, and your choice of seasonal fruits. You can even make the pâte sucrée and pastry cream a few days ahead. They keep well in the refrigerator.

Originally, I was just going to make a plain vanilla pastry cream, but then I realized that adding lemon zest would really enhance the refreshing fruits. I think I made a pretty good decision because the addition of the lemon zest really added a nice burst of citrus and acidity. I would recommend adding the zest rather than the juice of a lemon since the zest carries more flavor than the juice. Also, it wouldn't mess with the consistency of the pastry cream. 

As for the fruits, you can really choose to use any fruits that are in season. I chose strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries because I had them all on hand. Any combination of fruits that you enjoy will suffice, though. You really can't go wrong.

Summer Fruit Tart
makes 1, 10-inch tart

Lemon Pastry Cream
adapted from Christine Beanie
2 cups milk
1/4 cup white sugar 
2 egg yolks 
1 egg
1/4 cup cornstarch 
1/3 cup white sugar 
2 tablespoons butter 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon lemon zest 
In a heavy saucepan, stir together the milk and 1/4 cup of sugar. Bring to a boil over medium heat.

In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks, egg, and 1/3 cup of sugar until thick and pale. This should take about 5 minutes of vigorous whisking. Then stir in the cornstarch. When the milk comes to a boil, drizzle one ladle full of it into the egg mixture. This is called tempering. Once mixed, pour the egg mixture into the the saucepan, and slowly bring to a boil, stirring constantly so the eggs don' t curdle or scorch on the bottom.

When the mixture comes to a boil and thickens, remove from the heat. Stir in the butter and vanilla, mixing until the butter is completely blended in. Pour into a heat-proof container and place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until completely chilled, about 4 hours.

Pâte Sucrée
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 cup unsalted butter, cold and cubed
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
On a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, combine the flour, sugar, and salt. Mix until just combined. 

Next, with the mixer on low, slowly add the cubed butter. "Beat" the mixture until the butter resembles the size of peas. While the mixer is still running, add the egg and egg yolk. Keep the mixer running until the dough mixture forms a ball. Take the ball of dough out of the mixer and knead until the dough is no longer crumbly, it should take only 5-7 kneads. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for one hour. 

On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough to about 1/8-inch thick. Make sure that the dough is about 2 inches wider than the diameter of the pan. Gently place the rolled out dough into the tart pan. Trim the edges of the dough by rolling the rolling pin over the edges of the pan or by using a knife. Prick the dough with a fork. Chill the dough for another 45 minutes or place in the freezer for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Put the tart on a baking sheet and bake for about 15-20 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown. If you want, rotate the pan halfway into the baking process to ensure even browning. Cool the crust in the pan, completely, before you fill it with the pastry cream. 

Place the cooled tart shell onto a cake stand. Fill the shell with the lemon pastry cream. (I used a piping bag fitted with a round tip). Smooth out the cream and make sure that there are no gaps. Top the tart with your choice of fruits. (I started with layering blueberries, then added raspberries and blackberries on top of any gaps, and then placed a few strawberries randomly to add more color). Finished! 

Like I said, this tart really is quite simple. The only "difficult" part is waiting for all the elements to cool down. It is also so forgiving. If you crack the tart shell just a bit, no worries, because the pastry cream will cover it all up. I hope you try this recipe and enjoy it as much as my family did.

As always, 
Happy Baking! 


  1. i think it would be nice if you glazed the fruit next time

    1. I was going to do that, but i wanted everything to be really natural. I contemplated it.