French tarts not only make a beautiful and impressive presentation, but they are also super simple to make!
The crust is a simple four ingredient mix. And nothing beats the homemade custard to top it. Add fresh fruit, glaze and you have an award winning dessert to present.
I make the crust with whole wheat flour when serving it as an everyday dessert to my family. I just substitute whole wheat flour or whole wheat pastry flour (whatever I have on hand) for white flour and add an extra egg yolk so that the mixture stays together. It tastes just as good as the standard all purpose flour.
Prepare the crust
The dough for the crust can be made a day ahead. Just wrap it in plastic wrap and keep it in the refrigerator until you are ready to use it.
After combining the crust ingredients (see recipe) the dough can be either rolled out and lifted into the tart pan or you can simply pour the mixed ingredients into the tart pan and press it flat.
Homemade custard, made with fresh heavy cream, is the secret to great tarts. It’s a cinch to make and you can cook and store it in the refrigerator the day before you make the tart (or make it and use it right away).
Top with Fruit and Glaze
This is the fun part! You can top the tart with just about any fruit that doesn’t require cooking to be soft (ex. apples need to be cooked first). Strawberries, blueberries, bananas, kiwi, mango, apricots…every tart will be an original!
- 1/3 cup butter
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour (6 ounces)
- pinch salt
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 3 Tablespoons sugar
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
- Selection of fresh fruit
- Apricot jam
- 1. Cream the butter and sugar until smooth
- 2. Beat in the egg yolks
- 3. Add the flour and salt. Mix until smooth
- 4. Mold into a ball and roll out with a rolling pin or pour crust ingredients into either a 9" tart pan or 6 individual tart pans, and press dough into the pan(s)
- 4. Use a fork to poke holes in the pastry shell (to avoid bubbles)
- 5. Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes
- 1. Warm 3/4 of the cream over low heat until simmering
- 2. Stir the sugar into the egg yolks and add the cornstarch
- 3. While whisking the cream, slowly add the yolk mixture to the warm (not hot) cream*
- 4. Cook, stirring constantly until mixture thickens and the whisk marks keep their shape (160 degrees).
- 5. Remove from heat and add the vanilla and remaining 1/4 cup cream.
- 6. Pour the custard into the cooled pastry shell.
- Slice the fruit and arrange in a colorful pattern. Brush with warm apricot jam to add a beautiful glaze to the fruit
- * If the cream gets hot (not warm), you must temper the liquid or the eggs will cook. Very easy. Just pour the hot cream slowly into the egg mixture, while whisking the eggs. Then pour it all back into the pan. (I do this every time to avoid lumps in the custard).
- I mix the pastry shell ingredients in a food processor, stopping the machine to add the ingredients in the same order as the hand mixer method. Use the steel blade and don't over-mix.