I confess that in addition to biscotti, I have an innate fear of making tarts. Tarts are some of the most stunningly beautiful desserts out there, and nearly half of the bookmarks in my dessert folder are various incarnations of tarts, but there’s something about cutting in little cubes of cold butter (“work quickly but make sure the butter has been incorporated”), chilling the crust pastry for x hours, rolling out the pastry with your fingers/water bottle because you keep forgetting to buy a rolling pin, making the custard filling (“temper the eggs with the hot – scalding, not boiling! – milk mixture”) that makes me think aiyah! I will make this tart one day, but not today. Probably not tomorrow either.
Last Monday the graduate student whom I’ve been working with successfully defended her Ph.D. thesis (hooray! :D) and we threw her a party that afternoon. I was originally planning to make a cheesecake, but then I saw #15841 on Tastespotting and there was no going back.
This recipe is easier than it looks. I took some shortcuts but the final product still tastes pretty darn good. The only reason why I used mascarpone cheese in the filling is because I happened to have a container in the fridge, but feel free to substitute the filling described here with your own à la custard, pastry cream or vanilla pudding and the like.
If you’ve been putting off making your first tart because you think it’s too complicated and takes too long, then give this a try and I hope it will help you overcome your fear just as it did for me. Happy tart making!
Congratulations again to Dr. A.H.!
Fresh Fruit Tart
Pat-in-pan pie crust
– 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
– 2 tsp sugar
– 1 tsp salt
– 1/2 cup vegetable oil (I used corn oil)
– 1/8 cup (2 tbsp) milk
Directions for the crust:
- Heat the oven at 425F.
- Combine the flour, sugar and salt in a bowl.
- Add the oil and milk, and mix until combined. It may seem oily but it’s okay.
- Shape the dough into a ball and pat into a 9-inch baking dish. A tart pan would be best, but I used a 9-inch springform pan and it turned out fine. A pie dish should work too. I pricked the bottom with a fork because I’ve heard that some crusts puff up.
- Bake for 10 min or until the crust is a light brown.
- Let cool while you make the filling.
Mascarpone and cream cheese filling
– 1x 8 oz. package of cream cheese, room temperature
– 1x 8 oz. container of mascarpone cheese
– 1/3 cup sugar
– 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
Note: I also used 1/8 tsp of ground cardamom when I made this, but couldn’t really taste it with the cream cheese and mascarpone cheese. That’s why I left it out in the above recipe.
Directions for the filling:
Beat cream cheese, mascarpone cheese, sugar and vanilla until smooth.
Putting it all together
– crust, cooled
– cream cheese and mascarpone cheese filling
– ~8 strawberries, sliced lengthwise
– 2 kiwis, peeled and sliced
– ~1/2 cup blueberries
– 3 tbsp apricot jam
– ~1 tbsp water
Here’s your cooled crust
and your filling
I used a Ziploc bag with a corner snipped off to “pipe” the filling into the crust.
You could also just use a spatula to spread it evenly.
Cover and chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
Layer sliced strawberries in a ring
Followed by the sliced kiwi
Top with the blueberries.
To make the glaze, warm the apricot jam and water in the microwave and gently spread over the fruit.
Keep in the refrigerator until ready to serve.