Glazed fruit tarts are a classic dessert found in many a cake shop.
Sweet, buttery shortcrust tarts are filled with creme patisserie and topped with strawberries, mandarins, kiwi fruit, mango, blueberries and raspberries.
Shortcrust pastry has a reputation for being finicky due to its high butter content, making it a very soft dough to work with. The trick to shortcrust is to allow it to rest in the fridge. This hardens the butter a little, making it easier to handle.
Another tip with shortcrust is not to overwork it. Use a gentle touch and barely any kneading for a melt-in-your mouth crumb.
- ***PASTRY CREAM FILLING***
- 500ml milk
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- 2 egg yolks
- 60g (2oz) caster (berry) sugar
- 20g cornflour (0.7 oz) (cornstarch)
- ***SWEET SHORTCRUST DOUGH***
- 250g (8.75 oz) unsalted butter, cubed
- 100g (3.5 oz) castor (berry) sugar
- 1 room temperature egg, beaten
- 360g (12.5 oz) plain flour, sifted
- ***FRUIT TOPPING***
- 1 can of mandarin segments
- 10 strawberries
- 2 kiwi fruit
- 10 raspberries
- 10 blueberries
- 1 mango
- 1/2 cup of apricot jam
- 2 Tbsp water
- Special equipment: 4 x fluted tart pans with a removable bottom (3"X 3/4")
- Flat baking tray & plastic cling wrap, pastry brush for glazing fruit
- Makes 4 tarts for about 12 people
- PASTRY CREAM. Line a baking tray with plastic cling wrap. Set aside.
- Place 450mls of milk in a medium saucepan with vanilla essence and warm gently over a low heat.
- Reserve 50mls to dissolve the cornflour.
- Add yolks, sugar and dissolved cornflour to a large mixing bowl and whisk to combine. Add a little of the warmed milk and whisk. Add remaining warm milk to egg mixture, whisking constantly.
- Pour milk mixture back into the saucepan and heat over a medium heat, stirring constantly with a whisk or wooden spoon until the mixture thickens. This will take about 6 minutes or so. Stir the mixture well, especially in the edges of the saucepan. After the pastry cream has thickened, immediately pour it onto the plastic-lined baking tray and cover the surface with plastic cling wrap. This will stop a skin from forming. Refrigerate to cool until needed.
- SWEET SHORTCRUST DOUGH. Use your clean hands or a mixer to cream the butter together with the caster sugar until it is smooth.
- Add the beaten egg and stir with a wooden spoon until combined.
- Place sifted flour on a clean bench. Make a well in the middle and add the butter.
- Use your fingers to gently fold the flour in. Don't squash the mixture or use your palms. Just use your fingertips with a very light touch to bring the dough together.
- Roll dough into a large log, then divide it into 4 equal portions and wrap individually with plastic cling wrap. Rest in fridge for 20 minutes.
- After this time, pre-heat the oven to 390F (200C). Lightly grease the tart tins.
- Remove one portion of dough from the fridge and unwrap it. Place it on piece of plastic wrap (cling film). Place another piece of plastic wrap on top of it and then roll in all directions with even, steady pressure to make a large circle about 1cm (1/2") thick. Make sure you roll the dough about 8cm (4") wider that the base of the tart pan. You need to work quickly on this one so the dough doesn't get soft and hard to manage.
- Gently transfer the dough to the tart pan. This can be done by loosely folding the dough over the rolling pin then positioning it over the tart tin and slowly unfolding it.
- Ease the dough into the corners of the pan and use your fingertips to gently press the dough against the sides to fill in the fluting.
- To trim the overhang, just run your rolling pin over the top of the tin.
- If there are any holes in the dough, simply take a small piece from the overhang trimmings, moisten it lightly with water and position it over the hole. Press it gently into place. Repeat process with remaining dough.
- Next, use a fork to poke holes in the bottom of each pastry shell. This is called "docking" and helps prevent the dough from puffing up as it bakes.
- Line the pastry shells with baking paper and add enough pie weights (uncooked rice or beans) to fill them to the brim.
- Bake the pastry for 12-15 minutes or until the edges pull away from the tin. Remove from oven and remove weights and baking paper. The center of the tart may still appear moist but this is fine. Set aside to cool.
- GLAZE & FRUIT FILLING. Make the apricot glaze by heating apricot jam and water together in a small saucepan. Stir well to melt. Strain liquid and discard any pulp. Place liquid back in saucepan and heat gently for 5 minutes to thicken. Allow to cool slightly.
- Slice the fruits such as strawberries, kiwi fruit and mango into small pieces. The raspberries and blueberries can be left whole.
- Fill tart bases with pastry cream. Spread in an even layer. Arrange the fruit over the surface of the cream so that no pastry cream is visible. Dip pastry brush into apricot glaze and lightly brush the surface of the fruit to give an attractive shine.
- Serve tarts immediately or cover and refrigerate for up to 12 hours.