Saturday, July 7, 2012

Avid Baker's Challenge: Classic Fruit Tart

This month's Avid Baker's Challenge recipe is the Classic Fruit Tart on page 366 of The Weekend Baker by Abby Dodge. With buying our house and moving, I've missed the past two months (scones and braided brioche) so was really looking forward to getting back in the club this month but, sadly, I was not very impressed with the recipe. I guess I picked the wrong month to jump back in!

My main issue is that the pâte sucrée crust was really difficult to work with, impossible to roll out and crumbled into pieces when I tried to move it from the cooling rack to the serving platter. I was extremely disappointed - especially since I was making it for our 4th of July party! The pastry cream was okay - nothing very different from when I've made it before - but with the difficulties with the crust I'd have to give this month's recipe two thumbs down. If this was the first tart crust I'd ever made, I definitely would have thought it was me and would be soured on ever trying it again. It was that bad. Luckily I have a lot of experience - and love of - making pie/tart crusts so I know it was just a flukey recipe.

I had doubled the recipe so I could make two 7-inch tarts and two 3-inch tarts...but that didn't work out so well. The only ones that were salvageable were the small tarts, so I guess all was not lost. Here are my small tarts and step-by-step is below.

my two surviving tartlets

mise en place for the pâte sucrée

cutting the butter into the dry ingredients

the butter is incorporated then the egg gets added

at this point the dough was still very dry and not coming together in the bowl.
I dumped it onto the counter to knead it together.

done! At this point I had no idea of the difficulties that lay ahead...

into the fridge to chill out and rest the gluten

it was a nightmare getting the dough into my tart rings, but I finally did it...
the ugliest crust I've ever made. Boo.

trying to move the first large crust to the serving plate...ruined!

and here's what happened with the second large crust, a bigger disaster.
I ended up serving the pieces as a sort of a 'make your own' trifle bar at our July 4th party.

mise en place for the custard for the pastry cream

I like to make custard by beating the eggs, sugar and flour in the standing mixer...

until it gets to ribbon stage...

and then pouring in the hot milk.

then it goes back into the saucepan and onto the stove and whisk, whisk, whisk like crazy as it is heated to a boil

then simmer for 1-2 minutes and press through a sieve to get out any lumps

the strained custard is covered with plastic wrap and goes into the refrigerator to chill

my berries - delicious! Sadly, I didn't end up being able to use them all after my large crusts shattered...

whipped cream to lighten up the custard

voila, the finished pastry cream

building the tartlet

with fruit on top


Bye for now...


  1. Most of us find that the dough is rather difficult to handle. Sorry to see that your bigger crust broke to pieces. But all in all, your mini ones work out great! Everyone at the party must have enjoyed your lovely tarts! Have a great week!

  2. First, congratulations on buying a new house!!! Are you all settled in by now?
    I'm afraid you were not the only one with pastry crust issues. It was very fragile for me too. It tasted great though. Your mini tarts look really cute. I've made pastry cream before but never with flour as a thickening agent (always with corn starch). I liked it and decided to add more whipping cream (yum!). Glad that you're back. If you have a chance, definitely try the scones and the braided loaf!!

  3. Oh sorry to see that the big tart crumbled but those small tarts look really cute! I really like them round with no ridges.

  4. So glad to see I wasn't alone, lol. I guess how it tastes is what's really important! On to the next recipe :)