Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Summer Fruit Tart

How could I not buy a box of berries like this?  I love the farmer's market!

Of course I could just eat the berries right then and there, but I really wanted to bake something special with them.  Luckily, we were going to a friend's house in a few days for dinner so I asked if I could bring dessert.  I wanted to make something that really showcased the berries, leaving them as untouched as possible.  I didn't want to bury them under a crumble or pie crust.  Into my head popped the cover of a Cuisine at Home magazine from a few years ago - a beautiful summer tart.  I found the issue and read over the recipe - not too difficult, though not really something you can make the night before.  Since I had to work, Joe pretty much made the whole thing during the day.  When I got home I got to put the berries on top and dab them with glaze, which, in my opinion, was the best part.  That, and seeing our friend's reactions to it when we brought it to their house later that evening.   

This is a great dessert to bring to a dinner, a BBQ, or a party because it's just so stunning!  It's also delicious; the honey and lemon really compliment the berries.     

Summer Fruit Tart
adapted from Cuisine at Home Magazine - August 2006
Makes one 9 inch tart

Note: Since I had strawberries instead of raspberries, I hulled them and then halved or quartered them, depending on the size of the strawberry, so that they were about the same size as raspberries.   

For the crust:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
Minced zest of one lemon
1 stick unsalted butter, cold, cubed (1/2 cup)
1 egg yolk (reserve egg white)

For the filling:
Reserved egg white
1/2 cup purchased lemon curd
3 eggs
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons cornstarch
Pinch of salt
2 cups whole milk
1/3 cup honey
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed
Juice of 1/2 lemon

For the glaze and berries:
1/4 cup apple or apricot jelly
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 pint fresh blueberries
1/2 pint fresh raspberries
1/2 pint fresh blackberries
Sprigs of fresh mint

Preheat the oven to 400 F.  Get a 9 inch tart pan with a removable bottom and coat it with nonstick spray.  

To make the crust: 
Process the flour, sugar, salt, and zest in a food processor until combined.  Add the cubes of butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Blend in the egg yolk, and pulse until the dough is crumbly (it won't hold together).  Press the dough as best as you can into the bottom and up the sides of the tart pan.  Poke some little holes in the dough with a fork, to prevent bubbles (this is called docking).  Bake for about 12-15 minutes, until golden.  Cool completely.

To make the filling:
Add the reserved egg white and lemon curd into a bowl and mash them together.  Whisk in the other eggs.  In a second bowl, combine the flour, cornstarch, and salt.  Gradually add this dry mixture to the egg mixture.  

Bring the milk and honey to a simmer in a saucepan over medium heat.  Slowly add this milk mixture to the egg/curd mixture - doing it slowly like this is called tempering - you add the hot liquid slowly, raising the temperature of the eggs mixture so that when you heat it on the stove, the eggs don't scramble.  Once the milk is incorporated, return this mixture to the pan and cook over medium heat for about 3-5 minutes, until it gets thick and bubbling.  Let it boil for one minute to get rid of any starchy flavor from the flour and cornstarch.  

Take the pan off the heat and add the butter and lemon juice, stir until smooth.  Pour this custard onto the cooled crust and smooth the top with a spatula.  Cover and chill until set, about 4 hours.

To make the glaze:
Melt the jelly and lemon juice in a saucepan over medium heat, then gently dab over the surface of the cooled tart (be sure to glaze around the rim of the crust too!).  

Scatter about 3/4 of the blueberries over the tart.  Don't really worry about how evenly they are spaced.  They will stick to the glaze.  Next, add almost all of the raspberries, and then almost all of the blackberries, to the tart.  Use the remaining berries to fill in empty spaces as needed.  Dab the berries with more glaze.  Garnish with the sprigs of mint. 

To serve, use a sharp, thin-bladed knife to cut the tart into wedges.  Some of the berries will fall off as you cut, that's ok - just spoon them back onto the slices after you plate them.      

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