Fresh fruit tart (fruit flan)

A taste of summer, with fresh fruit on a bed of sweet vanilla custard cream and lemon-flavoured crust.

You’ve just endured a two-hour meal, stress eating over the over the white noise of your aunties asking, “so when are you getting married?” “What’s with the weight gain?

Your stomach has slowly absorbed the button on your jeans, and the food coma is very much taking over.

But just as the Lazy Susans are being cleared and the battle ground reset, you see one server walking toward your table with a plate of cut fruit.

Somehow you find the strength to pick yourself back up and eat more, because it’s fruit. And fruit is the only proper way to end a Chinese-food feast.

It’s because of this that, when it comes to after-dinner desserts, cake just won’t cut it.

To a creature of habit like me, it’s the orange wedges that signify the finish line to a very long meal marathon. It’s the melon balls and whipped cream that make me feel like I’ve turned a year older. It’s this fresh fruit tart that represents a happy medium between me and the more traditional dessert eaters. (!!!)

In the making

✔ Work like lightning when rolling out the dough. The warmer it gets, the more malleable – and prone to breakage – it becomes. You’ll think you’ve done something wrong when you see a hole forming right in the middle, but keep at it!  Take as few rolls as possible to get it to a ¼-inch thickness. If all else fails, knead the dough back into a smooth ball and throw in back in the fridge to chill for 15 minutes.

✘ Don’t overwork the dough. The sides of my tart collapsed in the oven because it shrunk, partly due to my hard-learned lesson in the point above. According to Chatelaine.com, over-kneading the dough develops too much gluten. Guten = elasticity = it recoils quickly in the heat, pulling away from the sides of the pan and flopping over. *womp womp*

✔ Chef’s tip: coat the inside of your tart crust with white chocolate, before pouring in your pasty cream. Not only is it extra delicious, but it’ll also keep your crust crunchy, should your tart miraculously remain uneaten after a couple days. (No soggy bottoms. Ever.)

✘ Cook the pastry cream on medium heat, and don’t turn that dial no matter how impatient you get. The cornstarch reacts quickly over the stove, so it will clump if it’s not gradually heated. Keep whisking to keep the cream smooth.

✔ Be sure to cover the pastry cream with cling film, especially if you plan on assembling the tart in different stages. A film will form on top of the pastry cream if it’s not covered, which will also result in clumps when you try and stir it again.  

✔ If you wash your strawberries like the germ-a-phobe I am, make sure you dry them thoroughly. If they’ve wet when you’re placing them in the pastry cream, they’ll slip and slide out of place.

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Fresh fruit tart

  • Servings: one 9-inch tart, plus extra dough to make mini tarts
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

A taste of summer, with fresh fruit on a bed of sweet vanilla custard cream and lemon-flavoured crust.

Credit: ricardocuisine.com

Ingredients

Crust

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (150 grams)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened (125 grams)
  • 1/2 cup icing sugar (65 grams) 
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 tsp lemon juice (5 grams)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (5 grams) 
  • 1/4 cup milk chocolate (optional)

Pastry cream

  • 1 vanilla bean or 1 ½ tsp vanilla extract (7 grams)
  • 3/4 cup sugar (170 grams)
  • 2 tbs cornstarch (16.25 grams)
  • 4 tsp all-purpose flour (10.4 grams)
  • 1 egg
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 cup 2% milk (245 grams)
  • 1 cup 35% cream (230 grams) 
  • 1/4 cup cold butter, diced (62 grams)

Topping (I used the fruit below, but this part’s up to you!)

  • Half pineapple ring, cut into thin half-slices
  • 2 – 3 kiwis, peeled and sliced
  • 1 can of mandarins 
  • 1 can of peaches, sliced
  • 1/2 cup fresh strawberries, halved 
  • 1/3 cup apricot jam (75 ml) 
  • 2 tablespoons water (30 ml) 

Directions

Crust

  1. In a bowl, combine the flour and salt. Set aside.
  2. In another bowl, cream the butter and sugar with an electric mixer. Add the egg yolks, lemon juice, and vanilla and beat until smooth. At low speeds or with a wooden spoon, add the dry ingredients. Shape into a disc with your hands and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for about 1 hour or until the dough is firm.
  3. On a floured work surface, knead the dough to slightly soften it. Roll out the dough to a 1/4-inch thick sheet. Line a 23-cm (9-inch) tart pan with a removable bottom and 2.5-cm (1-inch) high with the dough. The dough brakes easily, just pick it up and press firmly to fix it. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or freeze for 15 minutes. Prick the entire surface of the dough with a fork.
  4. With the rack in the middle position, preheat the oven to 200 °C (400 °F).
  5. Bake for about 16 minutes or until the crust begins to brown. Let cool while making the pastry cream.
  6. (Optional) In a double-boiler – or carefully in the microwave without burning – melt the white chocolate. Use a pastry brush to coat the inside of the crust with the melted chocolate. Let dry. 

Pastry Cream

  1. Split the vanilla bean in half lengthwise. With the tip of a knife, remove the seeds from the vanilla bean. Set aside.
  2. In a saucepan, off the heat, combine the sugar, cornstarch, and flour. Add the eggs and 60 ml (¼ cup) of milk and combine well with a whisk. Stir in the remaining milk and the cream. Add the vanilla seeds and bean and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring, for about 8 minutes. Simmer gently for about 1 minute.
  3. Remove from the heat and add the butter. Stir until melted. Remove the vanilla pod and pour into the crust. Cover with plastic wrap directly on the custard and let cool in the fridge.

Topping

  1. Let your creativity (or Pinterest inspiration) lead the way on this one.
  2. What I did: starting on the outer edges of the pie, line up the strawberries.
  3. Moving inward, overlap the peach slices, ensuring they’re all facing the same way. Continue with the same step using your mandarins, kiwis and pineapple until you reach the centre. 
  4. In a microwave-safe bowl, lightly heat the apricot jam with the water and strain.
  5. Use a pastry brush to cover the fruit in this syrup. 

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2 thoughts on “Fresh fruit tart (fruit flan)

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