Fruit Tart

The first attempt on making this tart (over a year ago I have to confess), it wasn’t very successful. The recipe asked to leave the crust in the oven for too long and it was too brown for my taste. I tried to freeze the crust and bake without the weights, but if you want my advice, use the weights. It guarantees that the crust won’t shrink and it won’t puff. You can use store bought shortcrust as well. I didn’t because this time I wanted to make everything from scratch. So here are the things I learned from this experience: (1) use very cold butter when making the crust, (2) roll the crust rather than pressing on the tin with your hand, (3) use the pie weights to blind bake the crust.

I’ve made this tart so many times now and I’m sure when you try, it will be one of your favorites as well. Use any seasonal fruit you have available… it’s very versatile ­čÖé

Fruit Tart

Adapted from Joy of Baking and Smitten Kitchen

Ingredients

Crust

  • 1 1/2 cups (195 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (113 g) very cold (or frozen) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1/4 cup (50 g) granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten

Apricot Glaze (optional)

  • 3 tbsp apricot jam or preserve
  • 1 tsp water (or more if needed)

Topping

  • 1 cup lemon curd (recipe here) or pastry cream
  • 3 cups fruit (raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, blueberries or any other fruit you like)

Preparation

  1. To make the crust, pulse flour, sugar and salt together in a food processor. Scatter the pieces of butter over the dry ingredients and pulse until the butter is coarsely cut in. You can also do it by hand, just mixing everything with the tip of your fingers until you have the consistency of bread crumbs. Slightly beat the egg, add it a little at a time, pulsing after each addition. When the egg is in, process in long pulses until the dough changes its consistency, trying to come together as a big lump. Shape the dough into a disc, wrap in cling film and leave to rest in the fridge for at least 30 (or until firm) before rolling.
  2. Butter a 9-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. Roll out chilled dough on floured sheet of parchment paper to 12-inch round. Turn dough into the tart pan and peel off paper. Seal any cracks in dough. Trim overhang to 1/2 inch. Fold overhang in, making double-thick sides. Pierce crust all over with fork. Freeze the crust for at least 30 minutes, preferably longer, before baking.
  3. Preheat oven to 190C/170C gas and place rack in center of oven. Line the tart with foil, shine side down greased with butter, and fill it with the pie weights or dried beans. Bake for about 20 minutes, removing foil after 15 mins, until dry and lightly golden. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool completely before filling. Can be covered and stored for a few days.
  4. Heat the apricot jam and water in the microwave until liquid (melted). Strain the jam through a fine strainer to remove any fruit lumps. Brush the bottom and sides of the baked tart shell to prevent the crust from getting soggy. Let the glaze dry (about 20 minutes).
  5. Spread the lemon curd (or pastry cream if using) onto the bottom of the tart shell. Place fruit randomly on top and try to cover all the cream at the bottom.
  6. Rewarm the glaze, if using, and gently brush the fruits to make them shiny.
  7. If not serving immediately, refrigerate but bring to room temperature before serving. This fruit tart is best eaten the same day as it is assembled. Cover and refrigerate any leftovers.

Yields: 6 to 8 servings

Pear Cake

There are  so many pears in the tree in our garden at the moment that I needed to find a recipe to use them, besides eating pears every day. And what a nice surprise this cake was! I brought the whole cake to work and we had it with a cup of tea.

The sponge is very light and the pears make the cake very moist. It is not too sweet either. Just perfect!!! It could easily be served as dessert as well. Very easy to make and it can impress your guests. I can give you some pears if you want to try ­čÖé

Pear Cake

Adapted from here.

Ingredients

  • 75g butter, melted, plus extra for the tin
  • 3 ripe large pears, peeled, cored and cut in quarters
  • juice 1/2 lemon
  • 113g plain flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 113g caster sugar
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 2 tbsp demerara sugar
  • 2 tbsp apricot jam, for the glaze (optional)

Preparation

  1. Heat oven to 180C/160C fan. Line a 24cm loose-bottomed cake tin with baking parchment and brush with butter.
  2. Put the pears cutted in quarters in a bowl with the lemon juice to prevent them discolouring. Sieve the flour and baking powder into a bowl, adding a pinch of salt and the caster sugar. Next beat in the eggs and melted butter until smooth.
  3. Pour half of the cake mixture into the tin. Arrange the pears in a circle with the bigger part closer to the side of the tin. Pour the rest of the cake mixture without covering the pears. Sprinkle the demerara sugar on top.
  4. Bake in the preheart oven for about 40 mins or until a skewer comes out clean. Place on a wire rack and allow to cool slightly before removing from the tin, gently peeling away the parchment.
  5. To make the glaze, melt the apricot jam with 1 tbsp water and pass through a sieve to remove any lumps. Brush the cake with the glaze and serve.

Yields: 8 servings.