What better way to christen a new blog with a post on tarts! Tarte aux fruits is one of my favourite tarts of all time. Why? One can’t deny how gorgeous it looks – the vibrant colours of the seasons can just set a smile across anyone’s face. The tart is also a canvas for creativity – you can hardly find tarts that look exactly the same. The moment you bite into it defines it best – the sweet tart base crumbles, the smooth and rich crème patissiere tingles on your tongue, followed by the flavours of the seasosn bursting in symphony. What more can you possibly ask for?
This recipe follows closely to the recipe from my 9-months training at Le Cordon Bleu, Sydney.
The tart base is one of the basic recipes that I use all the time. This is a sweet tart dough (pâte sucrée) and what makes it so wonderful is the ease of working with it. I suggested using the rub-in method because I love using my hands to work the dough to the consistency that I’m familiar with. But of course, you can opt to use a food processor, just be careful not to overwork the dough or it will be tough.
In a hot and humid country like Singapore, tart doughs aren’t the easiest thing to work with; they become sticky quickly and they tear at the slightest tug.
The best way to getting around this problem is to ensure that you roll the dough into a flat disk before you chill it. After chilling it, flour the dough (though not excessively) and rolling pin and work fast. You can put it to chill for another 5 minutes just to let it firm up ever so slightly before you fit it snugly into the tart tin.
This crème patissiere will make you swoon over and vow never to use ready-made custard in any form ever again. Investing in vanilla bean for this purpose would be a very wise decision. The flavour of the vanilla bean will penetrate the milk, turning the humble crème patissiere into something more luscious than you will ever imagine.
You can work with a 9-inch tart pan like me or make little tartlettes that would make them even more irresistible. I actually had leftover dough from the recipe below and made two extra tartlettes.
The tarts are best served on the same day as it is baked. Keeping it in the fridge for a prolonged period will inevitably soften the tart shell. I believe you don’t have to worry too much about this as these tarts are a crowd-pleaser. There are never leftovers whenever I bake this at home.
Welcome the seasons with tarte aux fruits! You will have as much fun baking it as you are eating it!
Recipe: Tarte aux fruits
250g all-purpose flour, sifted
125g unsalted butter, room temperature and cut into cubes (Your butter should not be melting though)
125g caster sugar
60g egg (add more egg if needed, if the dough still feels dry)
grated zest from a lemon, orange or grapefruit
1 tsp vanilla extract
- Rub in butter with flour and caster sugar to fine breadcrumb-like consistency
- Add in egg, vanilla and zest till mixture is well combined. Alternatively, you could opt to use a food processor for the first two steps. Be very careful not to overwork the dough.
- Roll the dough into a flat disk, cling wrap it and place the dough in the fridge to rest for at least 20 minutes.
- Dust flour sparingly on the dough and rolling pin, roll dough to approximately 3mm thick.
- Transfer the dough into the tart pan. Rest dough in the tart tin for about 15 minutes before baking.
- Place a sheet of crumbled parchment paper over the top of the tart shell and weigh it down with baking weights or uncooked rice/beans. This will prevent the sides of the tart from sliding. Another tip is to bring the tart dough slightly over the edge before baking.
- Blind bake the tart shell in a 180 degree celcius pre-heated oven for about 25 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove the rice/beans during the last 5 minutes of the baking time and continue baking so that the tart base can brown.
Crème Patisserie (Pastry cream)
500ml full cream milk
1/2 vanilla bean, scrapped
100g egg yolks
100g caster sugar
60g cornflour, sifted
35g butter, cut into cubes
- Prepare and measure all the ingredients before you start. You wouldn’t want to cry over spilled milk when you are rushing while the milk is boiling.
- Place milk and scrapped vanilla bean into a medium size pot (big enough for all the ingredients).
- In the meantime, whisk egg yolks with sugar in a separate bowl until well-combined before adding the cornflour. Whisk till mixture is uniform.
- When the milk boils, you will see the milk in the pot start to bubble. Take the milk off the heat and pour it into your egg mixture. At this point, whisk quickly to incorporate the milk mixture.
- Pour the milk and egg mixture back into pot (under low heat) and whisk continuously (as if your life depends on it!) This step is crucial to prevent lumps from forming in the crème patisserie.
- Ensure that you whisk under low to medium heat until a smooth, thickened paste. Allow the crème patisserie to cook for at least 2-3 minutes before taking it off the heat. You should see one or two large bubbles forming. That is an indication that the pastry cream is done.
- Whisk in the cubed butter until well-combined.
- Transfer the pastry cream, using a scrapper, onto a tray lined with cling wrap. Cling wrap the pastry cream. Cool it down in the fridge before using it.
- Before using the pastry cream, transfer it into a bowl and whisk it up until smooth and lump-free.
1.5 tbsp apricot jam
a few drops water, to ensure glaze can be brushed on
- Place jam and water in a pot and bring to a boil while stirring the water and the jam. When it starts bubbling, it is ready to use.
- Use a brush and brush over the fruits on your tart. This glaze will not only give the fruits a shiny appearance, it also helps to preserve the fruits.
Assembling the tart:
- Ensure that tart base is cooled to room temperature before you continue.
- Fill the tart with crème patissiere and smooth it with a small palette knife
- Wash and cut fruits ( I used kiwis, strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries) into slices and arrange it on the tart. Let your creativity take charge
- Glaze the fruits on your tart. Refrigerate your tart and serve chilled!