Crostate di Frutta

Fruit Tarts

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La Cacciata has several cherry trees, at least two fig trees, and peaches, apples, pears and quinces all available for making desserts in their appropriate seasons. With this abundance on hand, it’s hardly surprising that fruit tarts have become in a way the definitive dessert throughout the season out there.

You will need a frozen pastry shell and the almond frangipane mix, otherwise the method is very simple. Be careful to fully cook these pastries, for what may appear to be fully cooked judging by the top may well have raw frangipane and a soggy bottom of pastry (never desirable in tarts). The raw pastry shell is taken straight from the freezer and filled to a depth of 1 cm only with the frangipane mixture, then the prepared fruit is pushed into the mix but still protruding. The tart then goes in a 180°C/350°F/Gas 4 oven for 30 minutes, during which time the frangipane will rise and nearly engulf the fruit and everything will start to brown. At this point the oven is turned down to 150°C/300°F/Gas 2 and the tart continues baking and drying out for a further 45 minutes. The best indicator that everything’s completely cooked is the edges of the tart detaching themselves from the pastry case as they shrink when cooked. A clean knife inserted into the frangipane near the tart’s centre should also come out clean.

I prefer to prepare these pastries some time in advance, often in the morning, for service at dinner. This in effect means that you have one course all present and correct before you start the main bulk of the cooking. This can induce a strong sense of well-being as your plans for a dinner party proceed.

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