Tarts – Fruity and Petit!

Tarts – savory or sweet are always winners on any tea table or for any meal, but I think sweet tarts are by far more popular than their savory “cousins”! It is just because the possibilities for fillings and crusts are endless and by just using one or two different ingredients every time you will soon have quite a repertoire of tasty tart recipes!
A tart is essential a pastry case with some sort of filling, be it custard, fruit or the combination of the two. A tart does not have a pastry lid, I think then it becomes a “pie”. I like to serve these dainty little fruit tarts at functions, simply because they are easy to prepare in advance, they are so beautiful and colorful and they are popular with young and old.

For me, the secret to a fantastic tart is the pastry. It has to be light, crumbly and almost “shortbread-like”! I found this easy recipe on Cook Almost Anything and because you can make this in a food processor, it was the recipe of choice for me! I do believe though, if you rub the butter and flour by hand, your result will be slightly lighter. The other important element to my fruit tarts is the custard or Crème Pâtissière . It has to be homemade and it has to be creamy and thick. The recipe I followed was the following:

Confectioner’s Custard or Crème Pâtissière

500ml thick cream
125ml whole milk
4 egg yolks
125ml caster sugar
80ml flour
a pinch of salt
vanilla extract or vanilla pod – cut open and inside scraped out.

Beat the egg yolks, vanilla and sugar until light and pale in color, add the flour and keep beating until it is combined well. Heat the milk, salt and cream in a pot with the empty vanilla pod until it starts to boil. Remove the pod from the cream and mix the hot cream into the sugar mixture bit by bit. Pour the whole mixture back into the pot and stir until it thickens. Keep the heat low and watch the pot, otherwise you will be left with scrambled eggs…. Let the custard cool down, covered with cling film to prevent a skin from forming on the top. Pipe the custard into the pastry cases and decorate with fresh fruit.
I “glazed” my tarts with some passion fruit coulis that I had available.