Recently we had a lovely summer barbecue at our friend’s home, and we brought mini fruit tarts for dessert.
There is quite a bit of prep work involved, but I made each component over a couple of days, so it didn’t seem that labor intensive. Alternatively, you could use pre-made tart shells and use instant vanilla pudding for the pastry cream a la Sandra Lee. I won’t tell. 🙂
The fun part is assembling the tarts. Jamie helped me with the fruit designs. I first prepared the cut up fruit pieces, tart shells, pastry cream, and the glaze. Then I had him decorate the custard filled tarts with his own designs. He then “painted” on the glaze.
Of course we loved them because they are tiny and cute (see Lego food). Also, they are such a delicious taste of summer’s bounty!
Mini Fruit Tarts
Pastry Cream (Adapted from Jacques Torres’ Dessert Circus)
2 large eggs
2 large yolks
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar (4.5 oz.)
3 tablespoons flour (25 g)
2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon cornstarch (25 g)
2 cups + 1 tablespoon milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 1/2 tablespoons butter
1. Whisk eggs, yolks, sugar, flour, and cornstarch in a medium bowl until combined. Make sure there are no lumps.
2. Heat milk in a 2 quart heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium high heat. Bring to a boil.
3. Temper eggs. Pour a little bit of the heated milk into the egg mixture while whisking constantly. Then pour this mixture into the saucepan of milk. Continuously whisk as it thickens. After it comes to a boil, cook 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and butter.
4. Transfer to a clean bowl and cover with saran wrap gently pressed on top of custard to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Pate Sucre (Sweet Dough) (Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated)
1 large egg yolk
1 tablespoon heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup flour (6 oz.)
1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar (1.5 oz)
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons butter, chilled and cut into pieces
1. Whisk together egg yolk, cream, and vanilla in a small bowl. Set aside. Pulse flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Scatter butter over the flour. Pulse 15 times. With machine running, add egg mixture through feed tube. Process until dough comes together, about 25 seconds. Shape into disk and wrap with saran. Refrigerate at least 1 hour
2. Let stand at room temperature until malleable. Roll out about 1/4-inch thick. Cut to fit mini tart pans. Press in and prick bottoms with the tines of a fork. Chill until ready to bake (I refrigerated mine over night).
3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Fill tarts with pie weights (or cover with a piece of aluminum foil sprayed with non-stick spray and fill with uncooked rice). Bake about 15- 20 minutes. Remove weights; bake 20 more minutes , depending on size of tarts. Watch closely – tarts should be golden — don’t let them brown too much. Let cool on baking rack. Using a sharp knife, remove shells to rack to cool completely. Be very careful, as shells are delicate!
1/3 cup jelly (I used apricot jam)
2 teaspoons water
1. Heat jelly and water together. Whisk. Add more water if necessary to get a consistency of thin honey which you can easily brush on fruit with a pastry brush.
2. Cut fruit into small sizes and shapes. Wash and dry berries.
3. Fill tart shells with a dollop of pastry cream. Make a design on top using fruit. Brush on jelly glaze with a pastry brush.