Fresh Fruit Tart

This recipe makes one 9-inch tart. It is lifted from Cook’s Illustrated Best Recipes 2014.

It’s an impressive dessert and can be broken into parts for easier preparation. Give it a try. Your call on the fruit topping.

For crust:

1 large egg yolk

1 T heavy cream

1/2 t vanilla extract

1 1/4 C flour

2/3 C confectioner’s sugar

pinch of salt

8 T butter cut into 1/4 inch pieces and chilled in the freezer

Combine eggs, cream and vanilla in a small bowl. Mix well. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade, combine flour, confectioner’s sugar and salt. Process to combine. Sprinkle frozen butter pieces over the flour mix and pulse 15 times until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add egg mix through feed tube while machine is running. Process until dough begins to gather around the blade. I had to add a smidgen more of cream. Remove dough and flatten into a disc. Wrap in plastic and chill. I did this the night before and baked the crust the next morning. Remove dough from refrigerator and allow it to sit on the counter for 15 minutes. Flour counter and dough and roll out evenly until you have a 1/4 – inch thickness. Constantly check to make sure your dough is not sticking. Loosen dough from counter and add additional flour to prevent sticking. Work quickly. Once your round is large enough ( about 11-inches in diameter) for the tart pan, roll the form onto your rolling-pin and unroll it onto the tart pan that has been sprayed with non-stick baking spray. Trim off excess. Patch where needed using excess dough. Sides and bottom should have a uniform thickness – 1/4-inch. Place tart shell onto a baking sheet and put it in the freezer until frozen. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Take frozen tart shell out of the freezer and place a double layer of aluminum foil on top. Place dried beans on top of foil to weight the foil down. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and carefully remove beans and foil. Place shell back into the oven for an additional 5-10 minutes until golden. Remove and cool on a baking rack.

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For pastry cream filling:

2 C half and half

1/2 C sugar

pinch of salt

5 egg yolks

3 T cornstarch

4 T butter, sliced into 6 pieces, room temperature

1 1/2 t vanilla bean paste, or extract

In a sauce pan, add half and half, 6 T of the sugar, salt and bring to a simmer. In a bowl, combine egg yolks,  the remaining 2 T of sugar and cornstarch. Whisk until smooth. Add a ladle of the warmed half and half mix to the egg mix. Whisk slowly to combine and temper. Add remaining half and half to the egg mix and whisk to combine. Place the custard mix back into the sauce pan and place over medium heat. Whisk constantly until mixture thickens and bubbles. Remove from heat and add butter pieces one at a time while whisking. Add vanilla and whisk. Pour thickened custard through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl for chilling. Press plastic wrap directly on top of warm custard. Place in the refrigerator and thoroughly chill. This can be done up to 2 days ahead.

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For assembly:

Evenly spread vanilla cream into tart pan. Layer fruit on top. Whole berries work best as they don’t “leak” juices into your cream. Kiwi provides great color. Make sure they are not too ripe. Glaze fruit with some warmed apricot jam. I thinned it out with a few drops of water. Assemble about 30 minutes prior to serving and chill. Ooh and aahs are sure to come forth.

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