The nice thing about fruit tarts is that they seem really impressive, but they can actually be made quite simply. I’ve experimented a lot with crusts and I’m going to share the crust I like the best.
1 cup flour
1.5 cups slivered almonds
1.5 cups powdered sugar
7 TBS butter (as cold as possible)
1. Put the dry ingredients in your food processor and pulse until the nuts are ground fine.
2. Add the butter in cubes. Pulse until it’s evenly incorporated – the mixture is going to start coming together, but it will still be pretty powdery.
3. Add the egg and pulse to incorporate. You’ll wind up with a crumbly mixture, which is what you want. It should hold together if you squeeze a clump in your hand, but it shouldn’t be smooth or sticky.
4. Dump the crust mixture into your tart pan and smoosh it around to cover the bottom and the sides. Try to get it as evenly distributed as possible.
5. Use a fork to prick the crust all over, then tear a large piece of foil and press it on top of the crust (this will help keep it in place during baking).
6. Put the crust in the freezer for an hour or so to freeze it solid. (Now’s a good time to make your filling, like this pastry cream recipe.)
7. Bake the crust at 375 degrees for about 25 minutes – check it at 25 minutes, but you may have to bake longer. You know your crust is ready when it’s browned. Removing the foil for the last five minutes of baking helps.
8. As soon as you take your crust out of the oven, remove the foil if you haven’t already. Then pour chocolate chips on top while the crust is still hot. I haven’t measured the amount that I use, but I think it’s a bit over one cup (rough estimate). After a few minutes, the heat from the crust will melt the chips. Then you take a spoon and swirl the melted chocolate around to evenly coat the crust. You want enough chocolate to completely cover the crust so add more chips as needed. If your crust cools quickly, you can put it back into the still-warm oven to help melt the chocolate.
This step is key. Some tart recipes tell you to glaze the crust with some sugary concoction, which is a terrible idea. Sugar is hydrophilic, which means it’s a terrible barrier between your nice crispy crust and the wet filling. A sugary glaze is going to give you a soggy crust. Chocolate is the way to go: a) it’s chocolate b) it will prevent the moist filling from soaking your crust.
9. Put the crust in the fridge to cool & so the chocolate can firm up.
10. Once the crust is chilled, fill with your pastry cream (or, if you’re feeling lazy like me, instant vanilla pudding made with a reduced quantity of milk – the box will have instructions for a pie, go with that).
11. Add fruit to the top. To keep things roughly symmetrical, start adding the fruit from the outside and work your way in. For my tart, I used fresh blueberries and raspberries, but feel free to get creative.
The tart lasted approximately two whole days. The combination of flavors & textures is a favorite in my house and a fruit tart is my husband’s most often-requested dessert.