Parisian Fruit Tarts

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Preparation info

  • Makes six

    4½ inch

    individual tarts
    • Difficulty

      Medium

Appears in

The Modern Baker

The Modern Baker

By Nick Malgieri

Published 2008

  • About

This type of tart—a cookie dough crust, covered with a thin layer of pastry cream and topped with an assortment of glazed fruit—has been the mainstay of pastry shops in Paris and many other cities for the better part of a century. In the past, the fruit was carefully arranged in concentric rows in the crust and then painted with a simple glaze. Nowadays the fruit is mixed together with the glaze fruit-salad style, resulting in a tart that is more casual, and manages to pack in a lot more fruit. Use berries, kiwi (more for color than anything else), diced pineapple, and maybe some mango. Avoid fruits that would discolor, such as apples, pears, or peaches, and anything that would be excessively juicy, such as melon. Aside from these restrictions, feel free to make your own assortment of fruit. This is essentially a summer tart, best when all the seasonal fruits and berries are at their peak of flavor. I prefer to do this as individual -inch (11-cm) tarts, though they lack the dramatic punch of one large one, which is not easy to cut into neat wedges.

Ingredients

Pastry Cream

  • 1 cup milk
  • ½ cup heavy (whipping) cream
  • cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • About 5 cups of assorted fruits and berries, such as rinsed and dried blueberries; picked over but unwashed raspberries; rinsed, drained, hulled, and halved small strawberries; peeled, halved, and sliced kiwis; peeled and cored pineapple, cut into ¾-inch (2-cm) dice; peeled and diced mango

Topping Glaze

  • ¾ cup apricot preserves
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • Six -inch (10-cm) Press-In Cookie Dough tart crusts, baked and still in the pan

Method

  1. For the pastry cream, bring the milk, cream, and half of the sugar to a simmer. In a bowl, whisk the remaining sugar with the flour, then whisk in the egg yolks. Whisk ⅓ of the simmering milk into the yolk mixture. Return the milk to a simmer and add the yolk mixture, whisking constantly until the cream thickens and comes to a boil. Allow to boil, whisking constantly, until slightly thickened, about 30 seconds. Remove from the heat and whisk in the vanilla. Scrape the pastry cream into a glass bowl and press plastic wrap directly against the surface. Chill until cold.
  2. After the pastry cream is completely cold and you are ready to assemble the tart, layer a little of each fruit in a large bowl, repeating the layers until you have used all the fruit— this method will cut down on mixing and bruising the fruit too much later on.
  3. To make the topping glaze, put the preserves and water in a small bowl and stir well to mix. Strain into a small saucepan and bring to a boil over low heat, stirring occasionally. Let the glaze reduce to about ⅔ its original volume, then pour into a shallow bowl and let cool for 10 minutes.
  4. Carefully spread 1/6 of the chilled pastry cream in each tart crust. Don’t whisk it first or it might liquefy. Just scrape it into the crusts and use a small offset metal spatula to spread it evenly.
  5. Drizzle the cooled glaze over the fruit. Use a large rubber spatula to gently toss the fruit and coat with glaze. Scrape the glazed fruit over the pastry cream neatly, making sure it comes all the way to the edge of the crust and mounds evenly in the center.
  6. Unmold the tarts and slide them from the pan base onto a platter.

Serving

This dessert doesn’t need anything else to embellish it.

Storage

Try to assemble the tarts as close as possible to the time you intend to serve them, though they can certainly wait a few hours at a cool room temperature. If you do want to assemble these at the last minute, keep the fruit separate so the berries won’t stain the other fruit. Leave the glaze in the pan and just reheat it gently. Then all you’ll have to do just before serving is spread the pastry cream in the crusts, mix the fruit with the glaze, and arrange the fruit in the tart shells.