Summer Fruit Tarts

by playingwithflour

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So again I need to apologize, it has been a very hectic couple of weeks. I’m finally home but not exactly settled. We’re in the middle of packing and cleaning in order to move so I can start work next year. The house is a mess, my body is killing me and today I scrubbed out the oven in 40 degree heat. While I’ve been wanting to post, it unfortunately hasn’t been a high priority. Once things calm down and we’re in our new place, I can get back to regular baking and posting!

These tarts were made for some good friends of mine and were a perfect way to use some of the amazing fruit we get here in spring and summer. One of the things I look forward to the most each year is eating that first nectarine, so sweet and juicy. It doesn’t feel quite like summer without it. We’re really lucky in Australia to have such amazing summer stone fruits – nectarines, plums, apricots, peaches… and I tend to go overboard at the farmers market, leaving me with so much there is no way we could eat it all while they’re still good. Previous years I’ve made jams (and may still do so this year) but these tarts make for a great light dessert or afternoon treat.

The shortcrust pastry I used in this recipe isn’t my favourite, it’s a bit hard to handle and so buttery it practically melts in your hands. Having said that it does taste great and is worth the messing around if you have the patience. I would recommend keeping it in the fridge or freezer when not needed and if it is too hard to roll out you can cheat and press the dough into the tart tins. Don’t make the mistake I did of not weighing down the pastry when baking as it will rise a considerable amount.

The great thing about these tarts is that all the components can be made ahead of time and keep in the fridge or freezer until you’re ready to assemble them. These can be adapted to any fruits but I love the look of layered nectarines and plums. To make the center roses cut a thin slice of fruit and roll it up then layer further slices around it. Make sure the outer layers are already in place before adding the rose or it won’t stay together.

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Summer Fruit Tarts

Shortcrust pastry

200g plain flour
120g unsalted butter, at room temperature
70g caster sugar
1 egg, beaten
Pinch salt

Preheat your oven to 200° and prepare tart tins. Beat the butter and sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Slowly add the egg and beat until combined. Add the flour and salt and beat until you get a soft dough. Gather the dough together, wrap in glad wrap and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Once cold cut the dough into even sections and work with one section at a time, keeping the rest in the fridge. Either roll the dough out between two pieces of baking paper first or press the dough into your tins directly. Prick the base of each tart with a fork and weigh down the dough with baking weights or beans before baking. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden. Allow to cool completely before removing baking tin.

Crème patisserie

300ml milk
3 egg yolks
50g caster sugar
Vanilla bean or 1 tsp vanilla extract
20g plain flour
20g cornflour
10ml butterscotch schnapps

In a heatproof bowl whisk the sugar and egg yolks together. Sift the flours into the bowl and mix to form a paste.

In a saucepan add the milk and vanilla and heat until just boiling, stirring constantly. Remove the vanilla bean and slowly add a little at a time to the egg mixture, whisking quickly. Once all incorporated pour back into the saucepan and bring to the boil, continuing to mix well. The mixture should thicken significantly. Remove from the heat and add the butterscotch schnapps and stir through. Cover with glad wrap and place in the fridge to cool.

Assembly

When the tart bases have cooled brush them with some thinned apricot jam to prevent them from going soggy. Spoon the cooled crème patisserie into each tart then arrange a selection of fruit on top. Brush more jam onto the fruit to give it a glossy look.

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