This recipe makes the best shortbread-crusted mini fruit tarts filled with vanilla pastry cream and topped with fresh fruit. Probably, if you have ever visited an Italian pastry shop you can recall seeing these in their window, presented with other popular pastries like cannoncini, meringues, bigne’, baba’, cannoli and so on…
I won’t lie to you, preparing these tarts it’s not impossible, it only takes some patience to line all those tiny molds with the pastry, process that can become tedious and sometimes nerve-racking… anyway, remember that you can make the crusts ahead of time. The raw dough pressed into the molds will keep in the freezer for over a month. Planning ahead will give you plenty of time to practice and build your confidence. Besides, with Thanksgiving behind the corner you may also consider to use this recipe for a large 9” round tart. It will turn out very scenic, much simpler and equally scrumptious.
INGREDIENTS for about 20-22 mini tarts
2 cups (300 gr.) all purpose flour
3/4 cup (or 6 oz. or 150 gr.) granulated sugar
11 tbs. (150 gr.) cold butter
1 tsp. lemon extract
1 pinch sea salt
FOR THE PASTRY CREAM
follow this recipe
FOR THE DECORATION
fresh fruit of your choice
2 tbs. apricot jelly
2 tsp. water
YOU WILL NEED #20-22 3″ MINI TART MOLDS
Prepare the short crust pastry either by hand or using your stand mixer by following these simple steps: place flour and cold cubes of butter and mix for a minute until you obtain a sandy dough. Then add the sugar, pinch of salt and lemon extract and mix until sandy again.
Add the eggs and mix until well incorporated. Move the dought to a floured surface, give it a ball shape, wrap in plastic foil and let rest in the refrigeratore for at least an hour, or half an hour in the freezer.
In the mean time, PREARE THE PASTRY CREAM.
Once you dough is chilled enough, roll it out in a floured sourface until 1/2″ thick. Using a glass, cut 3.3″ circle and line your mini tart molds, pressing very well around the edges and cutting away the extra dough. If needed use some flour to make your dough more malleable. Apply some holes with the tip of a fork so the dought will not rise while baking. Bake at 360 F (180 C.) for about 18-20 minutes, your tarts need to be colored but not too brown. Extract from the molds when still warm but be careful to not get burn!! Do it quickly, but gently. These are a bit fragile. On the other hand, they taste like a cookie so the broken ones make great eating all by themselves ( 😉 ).
When the pastry cream is chilled, with the help of a SAP fill your mini tart with cream and decorate with fresh fruit of your choice. I picked strawberries, blackberries, raspberries and kiwi … and to make the fruit extra shiny, I brushed the fruit with some apricot jelly diluted in water.
Don’t they look super cute? and Super yummy?
LEARTN IT, MADE IT, LOVED IT!
– These mini-tarts are an impressive choice to serve a crowd: unlike the hazardous business of slicing a pie with a crumbly or tough crust, a runny or frozen filling, or customizing the serving size for different appetites, mini-tarts are pre-portioned. No fuss!
– You don’t have to bother with forks since they are small enough to eat out of hand.
– Change up the fruit according to what’s in season or least expensive.
– The ratio of crust to cream is just right–not too much crust, not too much filling.
– You can make the crusts days ahead of time if you like.
– Remember to URN THE CRUSTS OUT OF THE PAN WITHIN 3-4 MINUTES AFTER COMING OUT OF THE OVEN, this way the fragile crust pastry won’t fall apart. Some bakers prefer to use silicon molds because apparenlty the crusts NEVER stick to the silicone molds. I’ve never tried it, but I guess It’s worth a thought.
Would yo like to find out more tarts’ recipes? Check out also:
a) Ricotta and chocolate chips tart;
b) Ricotta, almonds and amaretti tart;
c) Banana cream “pie” in an Italian shortcrust.
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my ITALIAN desserts, these tarts included, are available upon orders.
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