Whenever I go to upscale pastry shops I always see these charming fruit tarts or tartlets decoratively placed on the shelves of their refrigerated display cases which never fails to capture my attention because of their vibrant colors and attractive shine. I can't help but pause and stare at them in admiration and appreciate the way the fruits are carefully positioned on top of the cream and how all their lovely colors complement each other. Needless to say that I got very excited when I found out that this July's bake for ABC would mean making my own classic fruit tart! I knew immediately that I wanted it to be colorful--using all the berries that are sweet and delicious this time of the year as well as other tart and colorful fruits that I can find such as kiwis. Fortunately, our supermarket is currently filled with all of these fruits--all very sweet, juicy and fresh. I especially love how sweet the strawberries and kiwis are right now!
The recipe used here is from Abby Dodge's book The Weekend Baker and it makes one 9 1/2-inch tart or in this case, four 4-inch tartlets. The amount of pastry cream in the recipe also filled all of the tartlets equally with only a few tablespoons leftover which my son gladly gobbled up for his post-lunch dessert LOL. It was my first time making pastry cream using flour instead of cornstarch and I definitely prefer the consistency of the PC using flour more as it's less clumpy and gelatinous which made it easier to fold in the whipped cream as well. Interestingly, Abby's pastry cream doesn't include a few grams of butter that is usually added to the cream once the mixture has slightly cooled. A part of me thinks that this would've added a richer and yummier flavor to the pastry cream but another part of me is breathing a sigh of relief that at least a little unhealthy cholesterol was omitted :-) I also noticed that there was salt included in the PC's procedure but no salt amount written on the ingredients list. I still went ahead though and added a pinch of table salt.
|I heart pastry cream!|
I must say that I had so much fun decorating these tarts that as soon as I finished the fourth one, I immediately wished that I had 10 more to decorate! I opted to brush apricot glaze on top of the fruits which I knew would make them look more vibrant and fresh. The glaze is just 1/8 cup of apricot jelly thinned with 1 Tablespoon of water then heated until well blended. I cooled it to room temperature then I used a small paint brush and painstakingly brushed each piece of fruit to coat. I noticed that when I used a larger pastry brush the glaze tended to pool on certain areas of the tart.
The tartlets were very delicious and all of the fruits married beautifully with the cream and crust....couldn't get enough of it! My favorites were definitely the strawberries, kiwis, and blackberries as they were the sweetest. My only complaint is that the tart overall was a little lacking in sweetness despite the sweetness of the fruits. I found that dusting the tops with a little powdered brought the tartlets to the level of sweetness that I preferred.
I also made a few changes to the crust by adding 3 Tablespoons of ground toasted unblanched almonds into the flour mixture as well as replacing 1/2 cup of the AP flour with whole wheat pastry flour. Because of these changes though, I had to add 1 Tablespoon of ice water while processing the dough in order to bring the dough to the proper consistency.
Dusted with powdered sugar
Yum! My favorites from the fruits that I used were the strawberries, kiwis, raspberries and blackberries.
If you would like to join ABC or just check out this month's take of my fellow ABC bakers, head on over to the ABC blog!