Saturday, July 13, 2013

Perfecting The Summer Fruit Tart

This seasonal dessert allows you to showcase your favorite summer fruits!

We've all bit into a fresh fruit tart that looks beautiful but tastes bland. A good fruit tart will not only look great on a dessert table, but it will taste even better.

Our recipe calls for a few tweaks to the typical fruit tart ingredients, and it also brings a few new ingredients into play that add more flavor and texture to the dish. 
Form the Pate Sucree into the pan, making
 a thick dough rim around the edges

Start With The Pate Sucree

Never underestimate the importance of a good pastry crust! Many prepared fruit tarts, including those found in the grocery store, will use a puffed pastry crust. Our recipe calls for a traditional Pate Sucree (pahtsoo-Cray), which is a traditional French sweet pastry dough. A pate sucree is easy to make and will provide more of a shortbread cookie foundation to your tart, rather than a lighter, less flavorful crust that comes from a puffed pastry.

Once you've processed and rolled the dough, form it into the tart pan and be sure to get a thick rim of dough around the edges of the pan. You'll then want to par bake the crust by placing parchment or aluminum foil over top of the dough, and then placing a layer of dried beans on top of parchment.

Add parchment paper on top of the dough, then
add hard beans before baking, so that the dough keeps
its shape in the oven.

The Pastry Cream

There are many ways to make a pastry cream for your fruit tart, but our recipe calls for heavy cream and a good quality cream cheese. Using heavy cream will give thicker and richer cream that complements the flavor of the fruit.

Chocolate Makes Everything Taste Better!

There's no denying it. Chocolate is a vital ingredient to great desserts. A little bit can go a long way, so add a half cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips to the tart shell as soon as it comes out of the oven. Let the chocolate melt and spread into a thin layer over the crust. This will act as a barrier between the pastry cream and the crust, while adding a hint of chocolate to every bite. Also, try drizzling melted white chocolate on top of the fruit for both presentation and flavor!

Fresh Fruit Tart with Pate Sucree, Chocolate & Pastry Cream Filling
Serves: 6-8


Pate Sucree (Shortbread Crust)
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 Tbsp. sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) cold butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 egg yolk combined with 1 Tbsp. cold water.
  • 1 Tbsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 cup toasted almonds or pecans (optional)
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Pastry Filling and Fruit.
  • 2 - 8 oz. packages of Philadelphia Cream Cheese
  • 1-pint heavy whipping cream, very cold.
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
  • Confectioner's sugar to taste
  • Sliced seasonal fresh fruit as a garnish
  • Strained currant or apricot jam to glaze fruit.
  • 1/4 cup white chocolate chips plus 1-2 Tbsp. corn oil


Make the Pate Sucree
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Combine flour, salt and sugar in a food processor until well blended, if adding nuts do so now and process until finely chopped.
  3. Add the pieces of cold butter and mix in food processor until mixture resembles coarse meal.
  4. Add egg yolk combined with cold water and vanilla to the mixture and process until the dough forms a ball inside the food processor bowl.
  5. Remove dough and sandwich between parchment papers. Roll the dough into 10-inch circle and refrigerate until chilled.
  6. Remove parchment and place dough in removable bottom tart pan. Be sure to push the dough up on the sides of the pan to form a thick crust barrier.
  7. Using a fork, pierce dough with tines to prevent dough from bubbling up (called “docking”).
  8. Spray parchment paper lightly with vegetable spray and place sprayed side against dough (this will prevent dough from sticking to parchment once parchment is removed).
  9. Fill parchment lined pastry with pie weights or dried beans to weigh down dough for baking. (This technique is called “blind baking,” it’s purpose is to prevent the buttery dough from loosing its shape while baking in a very hot oven)
  10. Place lined tart shell in the oven for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, carefully remove bean-lined parchment from tart; place the tart shell back in the oven until the crust is lightly golden, about 5-8 more minutes.
  11. As soon as the tart shell is removed, sprinkle 1/2 cup of chocolate chips on the crust and allow time for them to melt. Then, use a pastry brush to spread melted chocolate and coat the shell. Allow the shell to cool to room temperature and then refrigerate to firm up chocolate until ready to fill with cream filling. (Coating pastry with chocolate not only adds one of my favorite flavors to this dessert but it also creates a barrier between the flaky crust and the rich pastry keeping this tart delicious for several days – if it lasts that long!)

Make the Cream Filling
  1. In a large bowl, use a hand mixer to beat cream cheese until soft and creamy. Add the vanilla and confectioner's sugar to taste. Be sure not to make it too sweet, as you'll be adding other sweet ingredients such as the fruit!
  2. In a separate large bowl, beat the heavy cream until stiff peaks form and it thoroughly whipped.
  3. Fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture and adjust sweetness with the confection's sugar.
Assembling Tart
  1. Fill the tart shell with the cream cheese mixture, using an offset spatula to spread evenly.
  2. Garnish with the sliced seasonal fruit.
  3. Heat & brush the strained currant or apricot jam to glaze the fruit.
  4. Finally, melt a 1/4 cup of white chocolate chips. You may add 1 to 2 teaspoons of corn oil to the melted chocolate if it is too thick. Use a fork to drizzle white chocolate over top of the fruit.
You've now added the final touches to the fruit tart and are ready to serve. Bon Appetito!

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