Thursday, March 1, 2012

Exceptional Fruit Tarts

Just a fore-warning about this post - its gonna be long! I had my friend and the ever talented Nicole Mehta take pictures while I was making this tart, because, let's be honest, I have so much to learn when it comes to photography. She took such phenomenal pictures, I wanted to share them all pretty much. I also don't normally make the pictures so big on the blog, but it would just be a shame not to show off these beauties in all their glory, so I made them extra large for your viewing pleasure. Promise me one thing though. If you like the pictures she took, check her out on facebook, or on her website. She specializes in weddings and other lovey dovey photo shoots, but wanted the practice for food photography, and we all know I need the help, so we made a deal to have her take the pictures, and in return, I give her a finished fruit tart. Works well for both of us I think! Contact her with any photography needs :)

Onto the tarts. I cant leave you guys hanging for too long without posting something sweet. That is the idea behind the blog, after all. I wanted to make something that had the perfect balance of sweet, tangy, and a little bit country. Wait. That's not the right word. Anyway, I was looking for something just downright good, and I stumbled across this recipe (and by stumbled, I mean my mom pointed me to the recipe) from a food blogger of whose website I frequent. The site is Annies Eats, and boy does she have some good stuff! I have made plenty of good recipes from her, including this Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel Cake, which I must say is one of the most divine cakes I have ever tasted.

This is the Fruit Tart recipe that I used.  I was so impressed with the outcome of it too. Not that I didn't expect it to be great, but it turned out even better than I expected. Perfect for a summer day (it is still summer in NZ despite all the wetness that we see and feel when we step outside).

As I mentioned before, my friend and photographer Nicole, came to take pictures while I baked, so there are a LOT to show here. Its just too fun. These here down below are some of the utensils and cookery I used. PS do you like the little kiwi birds on my towel? I sure do love New Zealand and their animals.

Now here is where you need to have a creative mind. This recipe ended up taking a pretty long time, so I did some of it pre- Nicole. I made the pie pastry before she came over to take pictures, that way there would be less waiting around.

To make the pastry, you take one egg yolk, 1 Tbsp heavy cream (or cream if in NZ), 1/2 tsp vanilla extract or essence, 1 1/4 c plain (all purpose) flour, 2/3 cup powdered (icing) sugar, 1/4 tsp salt, and 8 Tbsp butter, cut into cubes. Whisk together egg yolk, cream and vanilla in a small bowl and set aside. Combine the dry ingredients in a food processor (or in my case, a bowl with a hand mixer) and add the butter a little bit at a time, until the mixture resembled bread crumbs. Add the egg mixture to the processor or bowl and mix/pulse until a dough is formed. Wrap in cling wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour. Once refrigerated and rested up, turn it out onto a floured surface as so.

Here is the dough again on my counter top, with my ingredients ready for the filling.

Roll out the pastry dough to desired size for your tart tins. I ended up using mini foil tart tins, sizing about 6 inches wide. Here is my pink serious self in all concentrated mode.

Once the size you want, roll the dough around the rolling pin to make it easier to place into the tart tin. I promise I'm not always this serious.

Press the dough into the tin to make stick.

Poke holes in the bottom to make sure it can breathe and doesn't form bubbles when baking. PS don't pay attention to my badly painted nails and my missing wedding ring... pastry dough in wedding ring = unhappy baker.

Should look similar to this.

Place this into the freezer for 30 minutes to rest again, then into the oven it shall go. The recipe said that it needs to be blind baked- filled with baking/parchment paper and pie weights to be baked. However, I own no such weights (not sure our kettle bell would do the trick here), so I just made sure there were enough holes in the bottom to it didn't have too much bubbly fun.

Mine turned out A-ok! Yum! I really could have just dug in right at this point!

Now onto the filling. While the pastry was resting, I made the pie filling. If I would have been smart and read the recipe before starting to bake, I would have realized that it would be better to make the filling first, then the pastry. Ill tell you why later. It worked out in the end, and lesson learned.

You want 5 egg yolks (no I didn't write that wrong- five IS correct!), so I separated them using my hands (promise they were washed).

I have to admit, it is a lot of fun to separate an egg with your hands. I know, I'm seeking counseling. But you might like it too.

All five of the yolks. And also, you can freeze egg whites if you didn't know. Know anyone who could use 13 egg whites? I have too many left over! Guess Ill be making meringue soon.

Once you have your egg yolks in a bowl, set aside for one second. Then add cream to a saucepan. The recipe calls for half and half, but I have yet to find something like this, so I used pure cream (NZ has different things than the States) for both half and half and also when it called for heavy cream. It worked out just fine for me.

Add some sugar and a pinch of salt.

Bring this mixture to a simmer over medium-high heat, whisking occasionally.

In the bowl with your egg yolks, add a touch more sugar and whisk until it is combined.

Then you are to add 3 Tbsp cornstarch/cornflour and whisk until light and fluffy.

Once the cream mixture comes to a simmer, pull it off the heat and add it SLOWLY to the egg yolk mixture to temper them (another way of saying so the eggs don't scramble. Scrambled eggs are mighty yummy, but not in this recipe).

After fully combined, return to the pot over the heat. Whisk constantly while the mixture reheats to a JUST boiling point. Once you see a few bubbles pop, pull off immediately. Again, don't scramble your mixture.

Pull off the heat, and add butter,

And vanilla.

It will be beautifully golden yellow and thickened. Pour into a bowl and cover with cling wrap. Place the cling wrap directly to the custard, so it doesn't form a skin on the top. Then guess what? Let it sit in the fridge for three hours! Three hours! Remember when I said I would have done this first and the pastry second? Yeah this is why. This recipe requires a lot of waiting around, and had I been smart and read the recipe prior to baking (silly me), I would have fixed this problem. Poor Nicole. She had a lot of waiting around. But she was really great about it. Thanks Nicole!

This is what the custard should look like when it finally comes out of the fridge.

Cut up some fresh fruit to be assembled on top.

Take the custard.

And pour into pastry tins.

Yum, but not done yet.

Take the cut up fruit and decorate the top. I used kiwi (side note: very disappointed that New Zealand kiwis are not more green! This is the land of the kiwis, and they cant get them the right color! Come on haha!), flatto peaches, nectarines and blueberries, but I am sure any fruit would be divine on it!

Finito! This one had peaches on top.

This one had nectarines.


Time to cut...

Good so far...

Oops... turns out, it should have sat in the fridge for a while prior to cutting... let's see if I learned my lesson for the second one.


So I learned that you need to refrigerate it before you try to cut into it. I also may have needed to keep the custard mixture in the saucepan just a touch longer to make it thicken slightly more. Not exactly sure what my mistake was, but the second worked much better after sitting in the fridge for a little while. I also made three more after these two (I know, LOTS of tarts) and they cooked a little longer and it was much thicker. Try it out and let me know what your outcome is. UPDATE: I just checked out the website that I got the recipe from and it turns out I did need to cook it just slightly longer. Make sure when you make this, the custard is really thick before it goes into the refrigerator.

I also learned that you should most definitely make the filling first and then while it is cooling in the fridge for three hours, you will find that you have the time to make the pastry without having to sit around and wait for hours upon hours. Thanks again to Nicole Mehta for your amazing patience! Please check her out! She really does an amazing job.

Source of recipe: Annie's Eats

Enjoy :) Also added a contact me page on the blog. Please feel free to email me or follow me on twitter, instagram, pinterest, facebook or all of the above! Thanks guys!!!

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  1. This looks divine Carla! I love fruit and that custard filling looks so thick and yummy! Wonderful photos too!

  2. Incredible honey! That was a fantastic post and the tart was exquisite! Haha look at me using fancy words :). But I mean it! It was so delicious and a nice light treat. It was so refreshing I felt like I could go on a run after eating it!

  3. Really great post!! This looks AMAZING and I did see pieces of it in person that were devoured in seconds!
    Oh and absolutely adorable apron :D

  4. 13 egg whites will make you an angelfood cake. I was looking for custard and this looks like the one.

    1. Thanks Madonna for stopping by! I am glad my tart is the one you chose! I hope it worked out for you. I cant believe I didnt think of an angelfood cake. What a great idea. Next time :)

  5. Ok, so seriously....

    THIS was...

    HANDS DOWN....



    The textures, the chill, the flavours and the CUSTARD! I don't even KNOW why exactly but it was EXACTLY what Ratatouille's rat describes it as -
    'Tiny explosions of JOY in your mouth all happening at the same time!'

    Try it - I'm ACTUALLY not exaggerating!
    In the words of that oldtime favourite, Maggie Smith - 'It's deLISH!!!'

    Highly recommend. Sorry Mum but it's true. xx

    1. Thanks Myke for the lovely compliment. I am glad you enjoyed it so much! :D I guess Im going to have to keep outdoing myself!


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