I started this blog with a post on tarte aux fruits (fruit tart). Fast forward four years and one hundred and eighty-four posts later, it remains as one of my favourite tarts and maybe dessert of all time.
I get many requests to bake this on numerous occasions, for birthdays and celebrations; I can’t quite keep track of the number of times I have made a fruit tart over the past few years. I’ve made variations of it and this recipe is my current favourite so it seems befitting to post tarte aux fruits 2.0 here.
While the first version of my tarte aux fruits (fruit tart) is a classic one – one with a basic pâte sucrée, a rich and smooth vanilla crème pâtisserie with fruits, this one takes a spin on the pastry and filling.
The pastry uses icing/confectioner’s sugar which makes it more crumbly and the almond meal that replaces some of the flour gives it more flavour.
The crème pâtisserie is lightened with some whipped cream which makes it a lot lighter without taking away its beautiful vanilla flavour that complements the berries.
Oh yes, berries are my favourite fruits to use on a fruit tart. I can’t imagine any other fruit that better complements the vanilla bean speckled pastry cream. I’m most probably bias and you don’t have to take my word for it; do go for any fruit you like and has a nice shape (and holds it shape).
There is no single way to arrange the fruits on a fruit tart – you can do it in neat concentric circles or give it a “just thrown together” look like what I did here. A couple of tips to on making a fruit tart pretty – 1) consider the shapes of the fruits that you are using, 2) consider the colours of the fruits you are using, 3) make sure that you cover most of the pastry cream by overlapping the fruits so you cannot see the pastry cream, 4) give it a bit of height. Most importantly, enjoy yourself doing this and I believe the tart will come together very nicely.
I find that tarte aux fruits and its variations are always well-appreciated even by the people who claim not to be dessert people and the people who claimed that they are on a diet. I’ve witness both camps “fall prey” to the fruit tart, not that I intentionally tempt them with tart.
You can find tarte aux fruits 1.0 via the link here. I use both recipes all the time and I can assure you that both works very well. At this current moment, I prefer this new version for its lighter version of the pastry cream which allows you to eat a bigger slice of tart without feeling too heavy. This sweet shortcrust pastry is also crumblier with the use of icing sugar instead of caster sugar which makes it a little finicky on warm and humid days.
Pâte sucrée (sweet shortcrust pastry)
You only need half the recipe for one tart but I like to make the full recipe as the dough keeps well – one week in the fridge and a month in the freezer.
150g unsalted butter
95g icing sugar/confectioner’s sugar
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
250g plain flour
30g almond meal
a pinch of salt
1. Cream butter and icing sugar until smooth. Add in egg and vanilla extract and mix until well-incorporated.
2. Mix in the dry ingredients until just combined, without overworking the dough.
3. Transfer dough onto cling wrap into two flat discs. Cling wrap dough and allow it to chill in the fridge for at least 30 mins, or overnight.
4. Rolling the dough: Place one of the disc onto a floured surface. I like to roll the dough in between two sheets of cling wrap. Roll it to about 3 mm thickness to a size bigger than the base of your tart ring, flouring sparingly every now and then to prevent the dough from sticking onto the surface.
5. Transfer the dough into the tart ring, pushing the dough to the sides and trimming off the excess. I like to rest my tart before baking at this stage – any amount of time between 15 -30 minutes is good as it helps relaxes the gluten that is formed during the rolling.
6. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius. 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.
7. Blind bake the tart shell 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 slightly.
Lightened Crème Pâtisserie (Lightened pastry cream)
This version of the pastry is lightened with lightly whipped cream which gives it a lighter mouthfeel and quite frankly, this lightened pastry cream has began to take over all my fruit tarts. This recipe makes enough to fill two tarts.
500g full cream milk
100g egg yolks
100g caster sugar
1/2 vanilla bean
200ml whipping cream or cream about 36% fat
1. 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.
2. Place milk and scrapped vanilla bean into a medium size pot (big enough for all the ingredients).
3. In the meantime, whisk egg yolks with sugar in a separate bowl until well-combined before adding the cornflour. Whisk till mixture is uniform.
4. When the milk comes to a boil, take the milk off the heat and pour it into your egg mixture while whisking quickly.
5. 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.
6. 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.
7. Whisk in the cubed butter until well-combined.
8. 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.
9. Before using the pastry cream, transfer it into a bowl and whisk it up until smooth and lump-free. Whisk the whipping cream in a separate, grease-free bowl to soft peaks.
10. Fold the cream into the pastry cream in two or three additions. Use immediately.
Assembling the tart:
You will need (for one tart):
1 punnet of strawberries
1 punnet of blueberries
1 punnet of raspberries
a few kiwi-berries
50g white chocolate, melted
neutral glaze/ apricot jam (or a neutral flavoured jam)
Feel free to include fruits that you enjoy that are in season
- Secure tart base onto cardboard with some pastry cream to prevent the tart from sliding while you transport it/move it around.
- Use a pastry brush to brush on the melted white chocolate on the tart base. This will prevent the moisture from the pastry cream from softening your tart base. Allow the chocolate to set – takes a couple of minutes.
- Using a piping bag, pipe in the lightened pastry cream to fill the tart about 3/4 way. Alternatively, you can spoon the cream into the tart then even it out with a small palette knife.
- Decorate your tart with sliced berries in any style you like.
- Scoop in some neutral glaze or apricot jam into a small pot with a few drops of water (about 1-2 tsp of water to 1 tbsp jam). Bring it to a boil and use immediately with a pastry brush to brush over the fruits. The glaze gives the berries an attractive look as well as to preserve the fruits on the tart especially the sliced surfaces.