Cooking with Kate: Fresh Fruit Tarts

Warmer temperatures and bright sunshine means spring is here and summer is just around the corner! What better way to celebrate the beautiful weather then with fresh fruit tarts? This simple dessert is delicious, quick to put together, and the perfect dessert, or afternoon snack with coffee, for the spring and summer months when fresh fruit is readily available and more flavorful than during the winter.

Fresh Fruit Tarts/Pizza

 

Shortbread Crust:

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ tsp baking powder

Fruit:

  • strawberries, washed, stems removed, and sliced
  • blueberries, washed and dried
  • kiwis, peeled and sliced
  • grapes, washed and cut in half
  • other options – diced mango, thinly sliced pineapple, sliced peaches, fresh blackberries, mandarin oranges, or any other fruit you like

The crust is made with just four simple ingredients: all-purpose flour, powdered sugar, baking soda, and softened butter. Handy to have along – an electric mixer with a paddle attachment.

Fresh Fruit Tart

We are going to be baking the crust in a 9-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. If you do not have a tart pan, any spring-form pan, pie pan, cookie sheet, or baking dish will work for the crust.

Fresh Fruit Tart

Start by adding the butter to the mixing bowl and cream it on high until it is light and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar and continue mixing on high until smooth and creamy. Use a rubber spatula to scrape down the mixing bowl after the butter and sugar are creamed together.

Fresh Fruit Tart

In a separate bowl, mix the flour and baking soda. Slowly add half the flour and baking soda to the creamed mixture and blend for about 30 seconds. Add the remaining flour and mix just until crumbly.

Fresh Fruit Tart

The dough is going to look like it needs to mix longer so that it will come together. Do not overmix! You want the dough to be crumbly and tender. Over-mixing makes the dough tough and chewy (not what we are wanting in this crust).

Fresh Fruit Tart

After the dough is mixed, lay out a piece of plastic wrap. It does not have to be perfectly flat or straight. Place the dough crumbles in the center of the plastic wrap.

Fresh Fruit Tart

Gather the corners of the plastic and bring them together in the center. Once it’s surrounded in plastic, gently press the dough together. You’ll end up with a pretty disk of dough. Place the dough in the refrigerator and chill for at least an hour.

Fresh Fruit Tart

Make sure to spray your pan with non-stick spray. It will make the process much easier later on. Grab the dough from the fridge and place it in the center of the sprayed pan. Gently begin to press it out to towards the outer edges of the pan. It’s going to get crumbly again…don’t worry.

Fresh Fruit Tart

Using the palm of your hand and your fingers, work the dough into the flutes (if you’re using a fluted pan) or up the edges of your pan. You want to create an edge around the outside that will hold your filling and the fruit.

Fresh Fruit Tart

If you are making fruit pizza and using a cookie sheet, you do not have to form an edge on your crust. You do want to make sure that the center of the crust is slightly thinner than the outer edge so that your crust bakes evenly and the outer edge does not break once the crust is baked and cooled.

Chill the crust for another hour. It needs to be very cold when placing it in the oven so that the butter in the crust does not melt quickly. When the crust is chilled, use a fork to prick the bottom and the sides of the crust. Chilling the dough and pricking it with a fork before baking will help prevent it from shrinking in the oven.

Fresh Fruit Tart

If you are using a pan with a removable bottom, it is helpful to place it on a baking sheet to make it easier to get it in and out of the oven. Bake the crust in a pre-heated 350 degree oven until golden brown and set (usually about 10-15 minutes depending on the size of your pan and how thin you formed your crust). Remove from the oven and let cool completely.

Fresh Fruit Tart

If you’re using a pan with a removable bottom, go ahead and remove the outer ring. See all the pretty, golden brown flutes!

Fresh Fruit Tart

Wash, dry, and slice the fruit you have chosen for your tart. Once the crust is completely cool, spread with whipped cream, sweetened whipped cream cheese, lemon or lime curd, or pastry cream. Arrange fruit over the filling in whatever design you would like.

Fresh Fruit Tart