Fresh Fruit Tart

Serves 8–10

Making a fruit tart is not difficult at all. For this fruit tart, both the dough and pastry cream can be made ahead. Be artistic in how you arrange the fruit, mixing and matching to achieve vivid color.

Pastry Dough (see recipe below)
Flour for dusting
2 tablespoons apricot jam
Pastry Cream (see recipe below)
3cups assorted fresh fruits (plums, blackberries, cherries, raspberries, nectarines and/or peaches). Cut
plums, peaches and/or nectarines into thin slices to arrange on top of the Pastry Cream
Confectioners’ sugar for sprinkling
Shaved chocolate (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Lightly butter a 10-inch tart pan with a removable bottom and
set aside.

2. Flatten the Pastry Dough with a rolling pin, and roll the dough into a 12-inch circle between two sheets of wax paper. Dust the top of the dough lightly with flour, then fold the dough in fourths. Lift the dough and position it with the point of the fold in the center of the tart shell. Unfold the dough and fit it into the pan, allowing the excess to drape over the sides. Trim the edges evenly with a scissors and press the dough to be even with the top of the pan. To allow air to escape during baking, poke holes in the tart shell with a fork. Place a sheet of foil over the top of the dough and weigh it down with pastry marbles, dried beans or rice; this will help prevent the tart shell from puffing up as it bakes.

3. Bake the tart shell for 10 minutes. Remove the marbles, dried beans or rice, and foil, and bake the tart for 2–3 minutes longer or until it is light golden brown. Let the tart shell cool to room temperature on a cooling rack.

4. Heat the jam until it melts. Cool slightly, then brush the jam over the base of the shell;
this will seal it and prevent it from becoming soggy when the Pastry Cream is added.

5. Spread the Pastry Cream in the shell. Chill uncovered for 2 hours.

6. Arrange the fruit on top of the Pastry Cream in a decorative pattern. Sprinkle the tart with confectioners’ sugar. To serve, cut the tart into wedges.

Note: Sometimes, I also add long ribbons of shaved chocolate on top of the fruit,
but this is optional.

Pastry Dough  
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons unsalted cold butter, cut into bits
1 large egg yolk
1 tablespoon white vinegar
3 tablespoons cold water

1. Pulse the flour, sugar, salt and butter together in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the dough blade, or blend the ingredients together in a large bowl with a fork or pastry blender until the butter is in small bits.

2. Beat the egg and vinegar together in a small bowl with a fork. Add this to the food processor with the motor running (or to the bowl, if you are making this by hand), and process or blend until a rough-looking dough starts to form. Slowly add enough cold water to form a ball of dough that holds together. You should be able to gather it up without it crumbling.

3. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate it for at least 1 hour or overnight to make it easier to roll.

Pastry Cream

1 2/3 cup whole milk
Grated zest of 1 large lemon
6 egg yolks, plus 1 whole egg, slightly beaten
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 inch piece of vanilla bean, or 2teaspoons vanilla or almond extract

1. Pour the milk into a 1-quart saucepan and stir in the lemon zest. Heat it over low heat just until bubbles start to appear at the edge of the pan. Remove the pan from the heat and set it aside.

2. Beat the egg yolks, egg and sugar in a bowl with a hand-held mixer until the eggs are very pale yellow. Slowly beat in the flour and salt until the mixture is well blended. Pour the heated milk into the bowl and use a wooden spoon to mix the ingredients well.

3. Return the mixture to the saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until the mixture coats the back of a spoon.

4. Remove the saucepan from the heat, stir in the butter, then add the vanilla bean (or stir in the vanilla or almond extract). Pour the Pastry Cream into a clean bowl, and cover with a piece of wax paper or plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming on top of the cream. Refrigerate until needed. The cream can be made at least three days ahead of time. Remove the vanilla bean before using.