Who doesn't love both the look and
taste of a Fruit Tart? Unfortunately the classic recipe can be a little time
consuming, so I decided to make what I call an "Easy" Fruit Tart. A simpler
version, perfect for weekdays when time is at a minimum. This Easy Fruit Tart is made with a very
simple shortbread crust and the filling is just a beaten mixture of heavy cream and
mascarpone cheese. It is so simple yet so good. Of course, the crowning touch to
any fruit tart is the fruit, and while you can arrange the fruit in concentric
circles, to make things "easy" I have just piled the fruit randomly on top of
This Easy Fruit Tart begins with a pre-baked
shortbread crust which does, in fact, taste like a
shortbread cookie. It is so easy to prepare. Just give the
ingredients a quick whirl in your food processor until you see a dough
beginning to form. Then press the dough into your tart pan, prick the
bottom of the pastry, and place the pan in the freezer for about 15
minutes. Bake the crust until golden brown and let it cool completely. You can even make the crust a day or two before filling.
While the classic filling for fruit tarts may be
a pastry cream, I decided to use an uncooked filling made
simply by whipping together mascarpone cheese and cold heavy cream (double
cream) (cream with a 35-40% butterfat content). It is lovely, so velvety
smooth and creamy with just a hint of sweetness and vanilla flavor. For those who are
unfamiliar with Mascarpone cheese it is
a soft unripened cheese that belongs to the cream
cheese family. It comes from Switzerland and Italy and is a thick, buttery-rich,
sweet and velvety, ivory-colored cheese produced from cow's milk that has the
texture of sour cream. It is sold in plastic eight ounce tubs and can be found
in specialty food stores and in the deli section of some grocery stores. However,
if you cannot find it, just substitute regular cream cheese for the
mascarpone. Now, once the filling is spread onto the baked pastry shell,
we then garnish the tart with fresh fruit. While I have used fresh
berries, you could use slices of kiwi, pineapple, banana, melon, plums,
mango, nectarines, or peaches.
If you serve this tart the day it is
assembled, the tart shell will be crisp. However, if you store it overnight the
crust does soften. Excellent either way.
In your food processor, place the flour, sugar, and salt and process to combine. Add the butter and pulse until the pastry starts to come together and form clumps. Place the pastry in the prepared tart pan and, using your fingertips, evenly press
the pastry onto the bottom and up the sides of the pan. (Can use the back
of a spoon to smooth the surface of the pastry.) Pierce the bottom of the crust with
the tines of a fork. (This will prevent the pastry crust from puffing up
while it bakes.) Cover and place
the pastry crust in the freezer for 15 minutes to chill. (This will
help prevent the
crust from shrinking while it bakes.)
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220
degrees C) and place rack in center of oven.
Place the tart pan on a
larger baking sheet and bake until the crust is golden brown, about 13 - 15 minutes. Remove
from oven and place on a wire rack to cool. Can be covered and stored for a few
Cream Filling: In
the bowl of
your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer or wire whisk) beat the mascarpone
cheese, heavy whipping
cream, sugar and vanilla extract just until soft peaks form. If too thick
to spread, beat in a little more heavy cream.
To Assemble Tart:
Evenly spread the
cream onto the baked and cooled tart shell. Scatter the berries on top of the cream.
If not serving immediately, refrigerate. Remove from fridge about 30 minutes before
serving to give the fruit and cream a chance to warm to room temperature.
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