Who doesn’t love tart? From savory to sweet, tarts are pretty little things that seem to make its way to everyone’s hearts. I, for one, have a lifelong love affair with tarts because I used to help my mom make personal size fruit tarts for the family, and for my grade school canteen that used to sell her stuff for dessert. It would always be a treat to finish one on the way to school on delivery days. She would set them with gelatin to make them all shiny and enticing, and to prevent the tops from getting watery in the humid tropical weather of Manila. The cream custard that holds the fruit up conjures up memories of childhood for me and my brother. We’ve been bugging our mom to make some of her fruit tarts, with no success. I even got her the small tart shells from Williams-Sonoma, but nope…she still hasn’t gotten around to them. Hah.
For now, all we could hang on to, is my humble tart with frangipane filling.
One evening a couple of weeks back, I was insane enough to arrange the blueberries right side up one by one. it was worth it for the photos, even if they weren’t perfectly aligned. Who wants perfection when you can have homemade? Or so, I tell myself!
And what is it about the scalloped edges of tarts that make me all warm and fuzzy inside?
Don’t get me wrong, I love eating fresh, sweet and local blueberries as is, but it’s always nice to have some good fruit go into something baked:
Making something out of Mother Earth’s bounty is one of the simplest joys the home kitchen can produce…especially summer fruits!
Hmm…and guess what? Something exciting is coming–we’re opening up an online shoppe of our favorite goodies soon! Tick-tock-tick-tock check out the countdown on the right block! More on this later. In the meantime, click that link and be signed up for some cool prizes! Thanks for your support!
Sweet Pastry Crust
Adapted from Ottolenghi: The Cookbook by Yotam and Sami Tamimi
- 330 grams (~ 2 ½ cups and 1¼ tablespoons) unbleached all-purpose flour
- 100 grams (~ ½ cup and 4¾ tablespoons) confectioner’s sugar
- Grated zest of ½ lemon
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 180 grams or 3/4 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes, plus extra for tart pan
- 1 egg yolk from 1 large egg
- 2 tablespoons cold water
1. Combine flour, confectioner’s sugar, lemon zest and salt in a bowl. Add butter and rub it into the dry ingredients with your fingers. You can also use a food processor, stand mixer fitted with a paddle, or a hand mixer. Mix until you achieve a coarse crumb consistency, and without anylarge lumps of butter.
2. Pour the egg yolk and water into the bowl and mix until the dough comes together. You might have to add additional (small) amounts of water.
3. Transfer dough into a clean work surface and knead lightly for a few seconds before shaping into a disk about 5 to 6 centimeters thick. Completely wrap in plastic and chill.
4. While dough is chilling, lightly brush tart pan with a thin layer of softened butter.
5. Place the dough in the middle of your clean working surface dusted with a little flour. Roll out the chilled dough thinly, and turn as you go until the thickness is down to 2 to 3 millimeters. Roll it around your rolling pin and transfer into the buttered tart pan. Smooth out the edges of the pan and cut excess crust at the tip. Chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
6. Preheat your oven to 300°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
7. Take out your tart pan with crust from the fridge, place it the lined baking sheet. Fill it up with uncooked rice or dry beans and bake it for 25 minutes (also called blind baking). Remove from the oven and cool on a rack.
Frangipane (almond crème)
(Adapted from Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan)
- 1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter at room temperature
- 2/3cup confectioner’s sugar
- 1 cup ground almonds
- 4 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1 large egg
- 1 large egg yolk
Combine butter and sugar in a food processor and mix until smooth. Add the ground almonds and pulse to blend, and add the cornstarch and pulse. Mix in the egg and egg yolk next. This can also be done on a stand mixer with whisk attachment or a hand mixer. Scrape crème into a bowl and chill in the fridge for 2 hours. [It can be made ahead to chill for up to 3 days.]
ASSEMBLING THE TART
What you need:
- Blind-baked sweet pastry crust
- Almond crème
- 1/2 pound to a pound of blueberries, or your choice of fruit/s
- Pre-heat the oven to 375°F.
- Pour chilled almond crème into the cooked baked tart shell in the pan until about ¼ inch high from the tip of the crust. Add your fruits at the top. You do not have to arrange them perfectly if they are small (e.g. blueberries) because they will sink into the crème during baking.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes until crème is puffed and golden brown. Insert a thin sharp knife into the crème and if it comes out clean the tart is done.
- Cool on a rack until just warm before serving.