The art of making tarts

Summer fruits make dessert truly special.

Summertime is ripe for the picking of all kinds of fruits, and I circle dates on my calendar each year with reminders to pick raspberries, blackberries, cherries, plums and peaches when they are in season.   

No summer season fades away without getting my fill of nature’s offering of summer sweets. And I have a plan when I show up in the berry patch or the fruit orchards nearby. One of the joys of self-picking is getting the juiciest and freshest of summer fruits. I am all business with my berry-stained hands as I fill my boxes and pails: I’m also calculating how much I will freeze for winter baking, and how much I will keep for making fresh tarts and cobblers, or for topping a bowl of ice cream or adding some to cool smoothies, or for just setting aside in a bowl to indulge in some happy eating in the cool summer breezes.

Last year, my husband announced he was going to put in a fruit orchard adjacent to our vegetable garden! He carefully selected healthy blueberry, raspberry and blackberry bushes, and I could not resist adding two white peach trees and two cherry trees. As they were planted, I realized that the fruit of our labors would be a long time in coming, as the trees and bushes needed to establish themselves. But half the fun is waiting to see what will happen. My biggest worry was the birds and deer, who, no doubt, would love to munch on the tender leaves and fruit!

Fresh fruit tarts are one of my favorite things to make: They are a refreshing change from heavier desserts, such as cakes and pies. And tarts are gorgeous to look at with their bright color combinations and the way the fruit is artfully arranged in a tart shell. I love the way they glisten under a blanket of fruit glaze that magically transforms them to look almost like stained-glass windows.

For some of the tarts I make, I take my inspiration from the many pastry windows I have peered into, especially those in Italy that are designed with so much food fashion flair that the tart itself becomes art.

Mary Ann Esposito's favorite tart recipes:

Categories: Food & Recipes