Spring Fruit Tart

This Spring Fruit Tart may just be the prettiest thing that I’ve ever made. It’s beautiful in its simplicity as it highlights seasonal fruit, including sweet berries and tropical kiwi, as well as luscious vanilla-bean pastry cream, and almond-flour-infused tender tart crust. Make this tart in the Spring and Summer when produce is at its best and fresh berries can be purchased from local farm markets that always crop up around this time of year. This lovely fruit tart also makes a beautiful addition to a spring celebration or Easter holiday. I’ve tried many recipes for pastry cream and have found that Zoe Francois’s Vanilla-bean pastry cream is the clear winner. A renowned cake expert, Zoe knows how to make a darn good pastry cream. I recently purchased her book, Zoe Makes Cakes, and it is chock full of everyday loaves and multi-tiered confections. This luscious pastry cream is just one example of her genius and I have made only minimal adaptations to her original recipe, one being the inclusion of vanilla bean paste. If you haven’t used this beloved ingredient before, give it a try. It is fantastic in vanilla flavored cakes, pastry creams, and ice cream recipes. Nonetheless, if you don’t have it on hand, feel free to use pure vanilla extract instead. I have a hard time not eating this pastry cream directly out of the pan as it is just so good warm. If you feel the same inclination that I do, you may just have to make a second batch to be used in the pâté sucrée tart crust.

Spring Fruit Tart

Serves: 6-8 slices

Pastry Cream adapted from Zoe Francois at https://zoebakes.com

Ingredients:

  • ½ recipe pâté sucrée tart crust (recipe below)
  • 1 batch Vanilla-bean Pastry Cream (recipe below)
  • 3-4 Kiwi, peeled and sliced (to cut a Kiwi perfectly, cut off both ends, take a spoon and insert it between the skin and fruit and move in a circle to loosen the skin, it should just slide off)
  • 8 strawberries, hulled and sliced in half
  • 8 raspberries
  • ½ pint blueberries

To assemble:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll out the pâté sucrée between two sheets of plastic wrap to an approximately 9-inch circle. Place in a tart pan and prick the dough with a fork. Place crust into the oven and bake for about 30 minutes, until lightly browned and fully cooked. Allow crust to cool completely.
  2. Remove pastry cream from the refrigerator and stir. Pour pastry cream into tart shell. Arrange fruit decoratively on top of the pastry cream. Slice and enjoy!

Pâté sucrée

Makes 2–9-inch tart shells

Ingredients:

  • 2 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/3 cup almond flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ sticks plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (14 tablespoons), cold and cubed
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or almond extract)
  • 1 teaspoon water

Directions for Food Processor:

  1. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a blade, combine flour, sugar, almond flour, and salt. Add cubed butter and pulse exactly 15 times. In a small bowl, whisk together egg, extract, and water. Add liquid to the food processor and blend until ball of dough comes together. 
  2. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface. Divide dough in half and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerator for at least 1 hour and up to 3 days. 

Directions for Stand Mixer:

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the flour, sugar, almond flour, salt, and cold cubed butter. Mix together on low speed until mixture looks like sandy little pebbles, about 5 minutes. 
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, extract, and water. Add the liquid to the mixer and mix on low speed until a ball of dough forms. 
  3. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface. Divide dough in half and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerator for at least 1 hour and up to 3 days. 

Pastry Cream (adapted from Zoe Francois)

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • ½ cup granulated sugar, divided
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste or pure vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 whole egg, room temperature
  • 4 egg yolks, room temperature

Directions:

  1. In a large saucepan set over medium heat, combine the milk, ¼ cup of sugar, butter, salt and vanilla. Bring to a gentle boil then remove from the heat. 
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the cornstarch, remaining ¼ cup sugar, the egg, and egg yolks and whisk until very smooth and no lumps of cornstarch remain. Whisking constantly, add about ½ cup of the hot milk mixture into the eggs. 
  3. Once the eggs are tempered and there is no fear of making scrambled eggs, pour the egg mixture into the saucepan with the milk. Whisk together until smooth.
  4. Return saucepan to the stovetop and heat over med-high heat. Bring the mixture to a boil and allow to simmer for two minutes, whisking constantly. Remove from heat.
  5. Strain the pastry cream through a fine-mesh sieve into a large glass bowl. Cover mixture with plastic wrap, pressing the plastic directly onto the surface of the pastry cream. Place the container into the refrigerator and allow to chill for at least 2 hours and up to 3 days. 

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