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Rekindle a love for fruit tarts

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When I make a dessert to bring to a dinner party, my intention is two-fold:

1) Make something that’s a challenge, so I find it interesting.
2) Wow the pants off everyone.

The basic fruit tart always fell short on No. 1 for me (even though it never seemed to fail on No. 2). This stems from my days working at a professional bakery, when we’d turn out hundreds of fruit tarts a week, even more for special occasions like graduations or weddings. But when I saw (and tasted) the stupendous looking berries at the market, I felt like my hands were tied. Short of serving these jewels topped with a simple cloud of whipped cream (which would be delicious, but fall short on No. 1 and No. 2), a fruit tart was the only way to do the strawberries and blueberries I bought justice.

Thanks to this recipe from Francois Payard, my fruit tart fulfilled both of my requirements. As with the best desserts, the key to success with this recipe is focusing on the basics: a perfect pate sucree (a sweet, short pastry), pure pastry cream, a light frangipane, and the best fruit. That’s it. And the tart shell can be made days in advance and frozen (unbaked).

As I nestled blueberries in the cream, I found myself remembering why fruit tarts are so popular: uncomplicated, yet so much more than the sum of their parts. It’s a dessert that’s back in my repertoire, for as long as there are fabulous fruits that need to be showcased.


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  • User avater
    LisaWaddle | 07/14/2009

    It would not be half as amazing if it was in a boring round fruit tin. The oblong tart pan makes all the difference! (And is easier to decorate.)

  • User avater
    JuliRoberts | 07/14/2009

    That looks amazing...I think I'll be pulling one together for this weekend!

  • User avater
    SharonAnderson | 07/13/2009

    WOW! Lisa!! This looks incredible. I bet it tasted even better. Well done, you.

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