Saturday late afternoon, hubby, my 9-year old and I were invited to a friend’s house to shoot the breeze–both metaphorically and literally! George, our friend, who was also our realtor when we initially met, (We met George when we were house hunting summer of last year) invited us to come over, meet the girlfriend, meet the family and do some target shooting in their property. So what does all this have to do with fruit tarts?
Well, it was the first time we came over George’s place, an approximately 12+ acre property that look like it came right out of a movie set. There were old, beat up jalopies, a non-working boat, tractors, a make-shift chicken coop made out of, you guess it!, an old trailer with originally 15 chickens running around, minus 1 (just died suddenly, poor thing), a bunny run, a horse stable and two other homes that also sit on the property –one being his younger brother’s and one own by his mom and dad. But there is one other element I was quite envious of–the garden. Nothing fancy and everything was built by hand over time. At the entrance of the garden, in both corners, there were two large, black paint buckets and in it were ‘voluntary’ cantaloupes growing nicely from the vines. Interesting to know that these ‘voluntary’ cantaloupes came from compose. Amazing. Moving forward, there were pickling pickles, loads of pepper varieties, broccoli, cauliflowers, tomatoes, squash, asparagus, potatoes, watermelons, honeydew, herbs of all sort, garlic, more ‘voluntary’ plants (this time tomatoes) and who knows what else I have forgotten! Then there stood an apricot tree, full of apricots in the dead of summer. I was elated with envy and in my head, started planning what will become of my vegetable garden someday…soon.
We spent four hours at George’s place just chatting about until it was time to go. He gave me a little of what were ripe from the garden–a yellow squash, a tomato, a mild jalapeno pepper and some apricots…I was a happy camper with my sampler bag of goodies.
For the Pastry:
You can use the Sweet Pastry Dough recipe when I made mini the pies. One batch of dough yields a large 9-inch pie or 6 pie tarts.
Adapted from ‘Cooking From Above’ Cookbook
For the Filling:
- 1/2 cup (25 cl) crème fraîche or heavy (whipping) cream
- 1 large egg lightly beaten
- 1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons full-flavored honey, such as lavender
- 1 tablespoon superfine flour ( I used a regular all-purpose flour–worked great!)
Pre-heat the oven to 350°F (175°C).
Butter the bottom and sides of the tart pans with removable bottom ( I used PAM Butter Flavor spray). Set aside.
For the Fruits:
Cut the fruits in halves, with the exception of the blueberries. In separate bowls, soak them with 1/4 cup of sugar and set aside until ready for use.
Make the filling:
1. In a medium-size bowl, combine the crème fraîche, egg, extracts and honey and whisk to blend. Whisk in the flour.
2. Pour the filling evenly over the pastry. Starting just inside the edge of the pan, neatly overlap the halved apricots, strawberries and whole blueberries. Arrange in two or three concentric circles, working toward the center. Fill in the center with the remaining apricots and strawberries. (You can also refer to my pictures above)
3. Place the tart pans on a baking sheet. Place the baking sheet in the center of the oven and bake until the filling is firm and the pastry is a deep golden brown, 55 to 60 minutes. The fruits will shrivel slightly. Remove from the oven and immediately sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar. Place the tart on a rack to cool. Sprinkle again with confectioners’ sugar just before serving. Bon Appetit!–gcc