On a recent visit to the NY Cake store on 22nd St. in New York (their link doesn’t seem to be working now), I couldn’t resist purchasing a pack of assorted mini tart shells. I love the idea of having individual bite size fruit tarts that are compact and don’t require any cutting, which can be sort of a messy process. Mini tarts are so cute, to boot! I made these for a family birthday (along with a delicious green tea cake that I’ll post later), but they’re perfect for a party.
Making mini fruit tarts is a bit more time consuming and will require just a little more skill and patience than making one large tart, but the end results are worth it. They’re still relatively easy to make, and everyone will fawn over these and love you for making them! The key points I’ve learned so far are:
- As is the case with most crusts/shells, when making the sweet tart dough, avoid over-mixing the flour.
- Keep an eye on the baking, lest you end up with shells a shade too brown.
- For the pastry cream, when going for the second heating on the stove, keep stirring!
Fresh Fruit Tart
Sweet Tart Dough (based on recipe from Desserts by Pierre Herme)
This recipe makes enough about three large tart shells (I’m not certain how many mini tarts this equates into as I’ve made them in separate batches but as an estimate, I’d say about 40 mini shells). This larger quantity is recommended because it is easier to prepare one large batch at once. The unused portions can be frozen for later use (and will come in handy for your last minute fruit tart needs!).
2.5 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup lightly packed ground blanched almonds
1 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten
3.5 cups all purpose flour
Beat butter on low speed in the bowl of a mixer with paddle attachment. Add rest of ingredients, except flour, and blend on low speed, scraping down sides occasionally. Add flour in 3-4 additions, still on low speed, just until mixture comes together.
Divide dough into two or three discs, depending on the size needed, and wrap each in plastic. Chill/rest in refrigerator for at least 4 hours or freeze up to a month.
Grease tart shells (I used canola oil spray and that worked fine). Scoop out one tablespoon of chilled dough and press into each individual tart mold, filling it to the edges. Set on baking sheets and chill dough for about 20 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place tart shells onto baking sheets and bake for about 15 minutes or until edges brown slightly. Start checking the oven a few minutes before and watch that you do not overbake. Transfer to wire rack to cool and then unmold.
(adapted from a recipe from Chad Pagano. Enough to fill 20 mini tarts.)
40 grams sugar
3 egg yolks
25 grams cornstarch
40 grams sugar
20 grams butter
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise (optional, or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
In a saucepan, dissolve first portion of sugar in milk along with half a vanilla bean, bringing to boil. Whisk egg yolks in a bowl. Sift cornstarch and second portion of sugar into eggs and beat until smooth. Temper yolks by slowly pouring hot milk into eggs in a steady stream (to avoid cooking eggs). Transfer mixture back to saucepan and reheat until boiling. Stir constantly. When mixture comes to a boil – it will be thick – remove from heat. Stir in butter and mix until melted. Transfer to a clean bowl and chill for at least three hours.
To assemble tart, place a dollop of pastry cream in shell. Arrange sliced fruits and berries in decorative manner. The fruits can also be glazed with a watered down apricot preserve glaze or clear cake glaze. The ones shown in this post are unglazed.