European bakeries are famous for their colorful, not to mention, mouthwatering displays of fresh fruit tarts. In France, fruit tarts are one the biggest selling desserts after the eclair and the vanilla custard slice. Many households keep their recipes top secret and the fillings vary according to the region where one lives.
Although there are both savory and sweet variations, over time culinary trends took tarts primarily in the sweet direction. The sheer beauty of the fruit draws one in like no other.
In a blog at the end of June 2016, I featured a FRESH FRUIT PIZZA with loads of variations you may enjoy to re-visit.
Today’s FRENCH FRUIT TART has the simplicity of a shortbread crust combined with the sweetness of vanilla custard and a wonderful blend of banana, kiwi and strawberry flavors. It should make a stunning addition to your summer barbecue.
French Fruit Tart
In a small bowl, combine flour, sugar, cinnamon & salt. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse meal. Sprinkle with ice water, tossing with a fork just until evenly moistened. Shape into a disk; wrap; refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Using a double boiler, heat milk over simmering water just until bubbles form around the edge of pot. Beat egg whites, sugar & salt in small bowl. Beat a spoonful of hot milk into egg mixture. Whisk egg mixture into milk in pot. Cook, stirring, over simmering water until mixture thickens slightly & coats a spoon, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla. Cool to room temperature.
Preheat oven to 375 F. Lightly grease an 8-inch flan pan with a removable bottom. On a lightly floured surface, roll out pastry into a 10-inch circle. Fit pastry into pan; pierce in several places with a fork. Bake just until golden brown. Remove to wire rack & cool completely.
Spoon custard over cooled pastry. Bake for another 18-20 minutes. Remove to wire rack & cool to room temperature. Refrigerate up to 8 hours. Just before serving, arrange banana, kiwi & strawberry slices over custard. Serves 6.
CELEBRATING MOTHER’S DAY!
Mother’s Day is our time to reflect and show gratitude to the women and mother’s who have been mentors and caregivers; ultimately those who have helped to shape us into who we are.
When my mother passed away in 1978, a friend said to me, ‘she will always be with you’. At that time I hadn’t really understood that comment fully. As the years go by I realized that is so true but of course it is never the same. Never a day goes by without something triggering a special memory of her.
Beauty lives deep in the heart of a mother and all she does for her family. This blog is especially to celebrate: the special memories of my mother for her endless giving of selfless love — my mother-in-law, Dolores, for her loving and kind ways and raising that ‘special’ man I love sharing my life with — to my sisters, who have given so much of themselves to be such great moms.
My choice of recipe for today’s blog is one that I have always enjoyed to make for special occasions — No-Bake Strawberry Cheesecake.
A showy, light cheesecake tasting almost like you were eating a strawberry mousse dessert.
Preheat oven to 325 F. Combine crumbs, coconut & butter; press into bottom of a 9-inch spring form pan. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Remove from oven & cool. Line sides of pan with a strip of parchment paper wide enough to reach the top of pan.
Reserve several strawberries for garnish. Cut two 1/4" slices from center part of enough strawberries to press in a single row of slices around base edge of pan. Cut up remaining strawberries to make 2 cups.
Process strawberries in food processor slightly; add softened cream cheese, sugar, orange & lemon juice. Continue to process until very smooth.
Soften gelatin in cold water; stir over low heat until dissolved. Beat into cheese mixture. Refrigerate until mixture just begins to mound. Fold in 1 cup whipped cream; pour into prepared crust &
refrigerate for several hours or overnight. Remove cheesecake from pan; carefully remove parchment paper.
Garnish with whipped cream, strawberry slices & fresh mint leaves.
- In the picture for the blog I chose to dip some strawberries to use in the garnish. Other times, I have made a floret of whipped cream on top of each serving piece topped it with a slice of strawberry & a piece of fresh mint.
- On occasion, I haven't baked the crust if time was of the essence & the cheesecake would be used right away.
- If you prefer a stronger strawberry flavor the 1 cup of whipping cream can be omitted. The cheesecake seems to have no problem 'setting up' without it.