Fresh Fruit Tartlettes

The abundance of fresh summer fruits, particularly berries, found at the the farmers’ market has been so wonderful to taste and explore. Besides the usual suspects (blueberries, gooseberries, mulberries, and a variety of raspberries, etc.), last week I also found wild wineberries. They look and taste very much like flavorful red raspberries, but they’re smaller, a bit juicier, and a little more sour. And, as my toddler pointed out, they’re a little sticky—he sometimes calls them sticky raspberries. Fragile once picked, they last only a few days in the refrigerator, but they freeze well. They can be eaten fresh, or used in desserts, fruit salads, and sauces. They also make wonderful jam and  wine. So, if you come across wineberries, be sure to pick some up!

With my load of fresh berries I made a deliciously delightful Mixed Berry and Elderflower Crisp and these fresh fruit tartlettes. They were so much fun to make and decorate.

Fresh Fruit Tartlettes

Fresh fruit tarts help celebrate the summer season’s abundance of fresh berries. As fresh fruit pairs decadently well with pastry cream and pâte sucrée, I thought it fitting that I make these pretty little tartlettes. I used a variety of tart shells that varied in sizes (3 1/2-inch, 4-inch, 7-inch and a 13-inch rectangular tart pan). Feel free to use whatever size you prefer.

Fresh Fruit Tartlettes

Fresh Fruit Tartlettes
Slightly adapted from Miette
Makes ten 3 1/2-inch tartlettes  

About 2 cups Pastry Cream (recipe below), chilled
Tart shells made with Pâte Sucrée (recipe below)
About 2 pints mixed fresh fruits, in any combination (blueberries, blackberries, red and black and golden raspberries, gooseberries, wineberries, mulberries, red and black currants, thinly sliced apricots, nectarines, figs, etc.)

Edible flowers, for garnish (optional)

If making the Pastry Cream now, let cool to room temperature and the refrigerate until well chilled, 2 to 3 hours.

Make the Pâte Sucrée and line ten 3 1/2-inch tartlet pans or a 7-inch tart pan. Fully prebake the shell, transfer to a wire rack, and let cool completely.

Spoon the cold pastry cream evenly into each of the cooled shells. Chill for at least 1 hour and up to 8 hours. Just before serving, top attractively with the fruit.

Fresh Fruit Tart

Pastry Cream
2 cups whole milk
1/2 vanilla bean
7 large egg yolks
1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces sugar)
4 tablespoons tapioca starch/flour (or 2 tablespoons cornstarch)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

Pâte Sucrée:
3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup cold unsalted butter, cubed
2 large egg yolks
4 to 8 tablespoons heavy cream

First make the Pastry Cream. Pour the milk into a medium pot. Use a sharp knife to slit the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape the seeds into the milk. Put the bean in the milk as well. Heat the milk until almost boiling (bubbles will begin to form at the edges). Cover and let steep for 1 hour if time permits, otherwise proceed as directed.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the yolks, sugar, and tapioca starch until smooth. Continue to whisk the eggs while pouring about 1/2 cup of the hot milk into them to temper. Gradually pour in the rest of the milk, whisking constantly. Pour the contents of the bowl into the pan and set over medium-low heat.

Cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens and comes to a slow boil. Immediately strain the pastry cream through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean container. Discard the vanilla bean. Let the pastry cream cool to room temperature, about 10 minutes, and then whisk in the butter. You want the butter to be incorporated without being melted.

Cover the pastry cream with plastic wrap, pressing it directly on the surface of the cream to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until well chilled, at least 1 hour and up to 3 days.

Make the Pâte Sucrée: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, sugar, and salt. Mix on low speed for 30 seconds. Add the butter and beat until mixture is the consistency of cornmeal, about 5 minutes.

In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolk and 2 tablespoons of the cream. Add to the flour mixture and stir with a fork until just combined. If the dough does not come together into large chunks, slowly add the remaining cream, a little bit at a time, until it does. Gather the dough into a ball, pat it into a disk, and wrap it tightly in plastic. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and unwrap. Divide the dough to make the portions you need and again pat gently into disks. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out each dough disk into a round about 1/4 inch thick and about 1 inch greater in diameter than the pan you are using (8 inches for a 7-inch pan; 4 inches for 3 1/2-inch tartlet pans). Drape the rolled-out dough into the tart pan(s), gently pushing it into the bottom edges and against the pan sides to make a strong and straight shell. Trim the edges flush with the rim of the pan(s) using a sharp knife, or roll the rolling pin over the edges to cut off the excess dough. Prick all over the bottom with the tines of a fork and place in the freezer to firm up for 30 minutes. (To store unbaked, wrap the dough ball tightly in plastic wrap and freeze for up to 2 months, or line the tart shell(s) with the dough as desired, cover with plastic wrapp, and freeze for up to 3 days. Thaw the frozen dough ball in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 hours before rolling and shaping. Bake lined and frozen shells straight out of the freezer.)

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

To partially pre-bake the tart shell(s), place in the oven directly from the freezer and bake just until no longer translucent, 5 to 8 minutes.

To fully pre-bake the tart shell(s), bake until golden brown, about 10 minutes.

Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely before filling and proceeding the recipe. Store fully baked shells, wrapped tightly in plastic, at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Fresh Fruit Tartlettes

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