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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Easier Than Pie: Make a Rustic Tart



I should probably keep more cooking secrets to myself, especially when I find something like this that is so easy yet so impressive, but this is too good not to share with my busy Mommy friends. Sturdy enough for pot lucks, pretty enough for tea, the rustic tart is en vogue and it couldn't be more simple to make!

Be warned, I am not giving you a recipe--I'm giving you a method with some shortcuts and helpful hints that I have learned along the way. If you need a recipe, google "rustic tart" and you will find many.

I used strawberries for this tart, but it's fun to make this with fresh fruit that is in season. I'm looking forward to doing this with nectarines and cherries later in the summer, and then apples and pears in the fall. This would make a great savory tart, too, with tomatoes and cheese. It's so simple to do, why not experiment with different flavors?

Step 1: Prepare the filling.



You will need about 1/2 pound of fresh or frozen fruit for a 9" round pie crust (this will make about 6 nice servings). Cut the fruit into small pieces (slices, quarters...whatever is appropriate), and toss it with sugar (approximately 1/4 cup) and cornstarch (about 1 tablespoon). Add any flavorings you want--lemon peel is great with strawberries, cinnamon with apples, etc. Allow the fruit to mingle with the seasonings while you...

Step 2: Prepare the crust:

For this tart you will need a pie crust. This step is the proverbial fork in the road for this dessert. If you enjoy making crusts, please feel free to make one. It needs to be about 9" round. When I made this tart for our meeting, I ran out of time and could not make my own, so I grabbed the next best thing--a rolled, ready-to-use pie crust. You can find these in boxes of two in the refrigerated-canned-biscuit section of your grocery store.

Whatever crust you use, roll it onto a parchment paper or easy-release foil lined cookie sheet. Now for...

The Most Important Step:
Fruit juices make pie crusts soggy, and this tart will fall apart unless the crust is sealed. Take an egg white or some liquefied jam or jelly (microwave it for a few seconds) and brush it all over the top of the crust. In my research I also found that sprinkling cookie crumbs on the crust can absorb some of the liquid from the fruit, so I crushed some amaretti cookies (pictured below) and scattered a thin layer in the middle of the circle where the fruit would be. Now you are ready to...



Step 3: Fill the crust:

Using a slotted spoon (to drain the syrup from the fruit), mound the fruit into the middle of the crust, and place some cold, cubed butter on top (one or two tablespoons). Leave a two-inch margin on the outside of the crust. Fold the margin of the crust over the fruit as shown in the picture and brush it with egg white. Sprinkle one or two tablespoons of sugar onto the egg white brushed dough, and bake the tart at 350 degrees for about 35 minutes. The pastry will be browned and glossy on top when it is ready. Don't worry if the crust splits or fruit syrup drizzles down the sides--that is normal and part of the charm of this rustic treat.



Step 4: Dress it up a little:
Take a jam that is roughly the same color as the fruit (raspberry jam for strawberries, apricot jam for apples, etc.) and microwave it for a few seconds to liquefy it. Brush it over the fruit to add a little extra flavor and some gloss.



Enjoy this tart on its own, or top it with whipped cream or ice cream.

I have to laugh when I think of how this tart was probably created--you know the original baker either misplaced or simply didn't have a pie pan, so she decided to fold up the sides of the dough in hopes that the filling would stay put. Now this fun and tasty tart is on the cover of magazines and graces even the fanciest of cookbooks. I wonder if its creator ever got a royalty?

If you like this kitchen tip you can find more at Kitchen Tip Tuesday on Tammy's blog!

Looking for more great recipes? Check out Tempt My Tummy Tuesday at Blessed With Grace!

10 comments:

Pam said...

Mmmm - I love the idea of tomatoes and cheese. Thanks for sharing. There were some details that I wouldn't have thought of - like the egg wash and cookie crumbs.

Liz said...

Yum!

Samantha said...

Looks and sounds delicious, thanks for sharing !

Just A Mom (Call me JAM for short) said...

Delish! And thanks for all the little secrets!

Lisa@BlessedwithGrace said...

I my goodness. That looks so awesome.

Sherry said...

YUM! thats all I can think to say it looks so good!

Brenda said...

I've never made one of these but they look so fun!

Tara said...

This looks soooo delicious!!!! Wow. I need to visit you. :)

Rachel said...

These are fun to make, and I'm not kidding when I say how simple it is to do! If you come up with some fun filling combinations, let me know! Thanks for reading today!

Peggy in Alaska said...

Thanks! I had forgotten all about tarts! Did you know they are the precursor to our "modern" day pies? There are also types of tarts: rustic tarts, hand tarts to be placed in lunch "pails" or saddle bags for a meal on the go, and pretty formed tarts to be served to guests, just to name a few!

Once again thanks I had forgot all about tarts until you mentioned them. Frozen puff pastry works great as well!! I think I'll make some for this weekend.