This Easy Fruit Tart Will Make You Feel Like an Artist
By Katherine Sacks. Photos by: Chelsea Kyle, Food Styling by Katherine Sacks.
A classic French fruit tart is one of those understatedly beautiful desserts that just about everyone loves. It's the perfect make-ahead dinner party desert, the perfect wow 'em dessert, the perfect looks-harder-than-it-is dessert.
Because really, a fruit tart comes down to two things: the tart shell and the filling. And while you can certainly go crazy with either element, it's also so easy to make those things super simple.
Start with the tart shell. Instead of the classic (but notoriously finicky) pâte sucrée dough, I like to use a press-in crust. For a spin with the flavor of pecan sandies cookies, I blitzed the classic press-in crust cookie, Nilla wafers, in the food processor with pecans, butter, and a bit of sugar. And I made the crust a little bit thicker (read: more delicious) so it emerges from the pan without cracking. Pro tip: Use a 1/4-cup measure (ones without a raised lip work especially well) to help pack the crust mixture flat and into all those fluted grooves.
As for the filling, stick with the keep-it-simple mantra. Whipped cream makes an easy and delicious filling when fortified with just a few spoonfuls of bright and tangy lemon curd (and that lemon flavor is a great complement to the fresh fruit I top my tart with). Pick up a jar of lemon curd at the store, or make your own if you feel like a bit more of a project. Don't love lemons? You can use any flavor of curd, custard, or thick jam instead.
Once you've got your tart assembled, it comes down to fun part: Festooning it with fruit. Depending on how much time and energy you have, the fruit topping can be as simple or complex as you like. Keeping it simple still looks impressive, but with just a little more work, you can create a fruit tart that brings dessert to wow levels. Here are three pretty ways to finish it. Maybe start with level one and work your way to three? I challenge you, commis pâtissier.
Level 1: Sprinkle It With Berries
The easiest way to finish a fruit tart is to simply cover it with fresh berries. For a monochrome look, use all of one variety, or mix it up for a more freestyle approach. Blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries all work well here.
Level 2: Do a Strawberry Burst
For a slightly more impressive presentation, try a strawberry "burst." Trim the strawberries, then cut them into 1/4-inch slices. Place two small pieces opposite one another in the center of the tart, then stagger the remaining strawberry slices, stem-side down, working outward from the center.
Level 3: Make Mango Swirls
For a real wow 'em presentation, pull out the mango rosettes. These pretty swirls might look difficult, but they're really not too complicated to make. One note: Just make sure you've got ripe mangos! Firm, not-so-ripe mango slices won't bend into those pretty swirls and circles.
Peel the mango with a vegetable peeler, then slice off the two large slabs on either side of the pit. Cut those slabs lengthwise into thin slices. Tightly roll a small slice to become the center of a rosette, and wrap a second piece around the center, covering the seam to become a "petal." Continue wrapping pieces around the center, arranging the pieces in petal-like formation. Make a few rosettes in varying sizes, then use an offset spatula to delicately place them on top of the filling in whatever way your heart desires.
Get this recipe: Easy Fruit Tart with Pecan Cookie Crust
This story originally appeared on Epicurious.
More from Epicurious: