It’s the first day of spring and perfectly clear outside, the sun making its appearance after a much needed rainy weekend. I’m feeling the urge to get out on my patio to start clearing away the damp leaves in my planters, trim the new growth from the vines we cut back last year, and get ready to plant the tomato seedlings I bought Sunday, but the air is more chilly than I’d like right now. Too chilly to be outside digging in wet soil on the shady side of the house this morning. Not too chilly to be out in the glorious sunshine enjoying a long walk, yet here I sit sifting through old photos and thinking I should get some writing done. The words in my head aren’t ready to be put down yet, so much wanting to be said all at once crowding my thoughts and making it impossible to begin in any kind of a sensible way. It’s annoying.
I try to get things going by dawdling around in the kitchen shining counters and finishing dishes that won’t quite fit in the dishwasher. Making sure I have what I need to make dinner tonight so a last minute trip to the market can be avoided. Deciding once again to put off the pantry overhaul I’ve been promising myself I’ll do. But this morning, nothing has worked so now here I am instead, thinking about fresh fruit tarts I made several times last spring when I was trying to decide what I might make for the first ever San Diego Food Blogger Bake Sale.
The event was so successful, that this year we will be holding it again with Marie of Meandering Eats at the helm and are fortunate enough to be hosted by my favorite cookware store, Great News! in Pacific Beach on April 28th from 10-2. If you’re not familiar with the event, you can read all about it at What’s Gaby Cooking. Last year, $25,000 was raised nationally and this year, the goal is to reach $50,ooo to help feed hungry kids in America. We’re hoping to double the amount we raised locally last year as well.
There are lots of ways to get involved even if you’re not a food blogger. We have nearly 40 San Diego bakers signed up to participate this year, so the easiest thing to do is mark your calendar and plan on a visit to our sale making sure to save some time to shop at Great News! like I do whenever I have the opportunity. Or you could make a donation which will be credited to San Diego Food Bloggers’ efforts by visiting our bake sale blog and clicking that DONATE button. We’d like that. Every little bit counts! Or you can make a donation on my behalf which will also be credited to the San Diego Food Bloggers’ team efforts.
Now, what to make this year? I made three different types of tarts last year and although I sold them all, it was a bit of a mad production the day before. Perhaps if I cut it down to one type of tart but filled them differently. I’ll have to think about it. In the meantime, here is one type I baked for last year’s sale. I’d made them for Mother’s Day and they were a big hit so I knew I could count on them again.
Fresh fruit, an unstructured crust.
So simple and satisfying!
Easy Mixed Fruit Tarts
raw sugar or brown sugar
lemon juice, freshly squeezed
small amount of milk for brushing on the crust
1 batch of my favorite pie dough recipe
- Roll your pie dough out to 1/8″ thickness and cut into 5″ rounds. Place in the fridge until ready to fill.
- To prepare the fruit, slice or dice into small pieces and add to a large bowl.
- Squeeze the juice from half a lemon over the fruit, then sprinkle with 1-2 tablespoons of the sugar.
- Very carefully toss the fruit.
- Remove the pie dough rounds from the fridge and place on parchment or silicone-lined baking sheets.
- Spoon a bit of fruit onto each round leaving enough space to turn up and crimp an edge over the fruit.
- Brush the crimped edge of the dough lightly with milk.
- Sprinkle a bit of sugar over the fruit.
- Place the sheets in the fridge for at least 10 minutes before baking.
- Bake in a 400 degree F oven for 30-35 minutes until bubbling and golden brown.
- Cook on baking racks until cool.
- Enjoy with a bit of whipped cream or honey sweetened plain yogurt. Sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired.
- I’ve used a different combination of fruit each time I’ve made these tarts. Mix and match berries, use stone fruit — use whatever you have. They do put out quite a bit of liquid as they bake and can get messy, so if you’re one who loves a perfect little tart, these may not be your thing. I like a nice rustic looking tart like this.
- I know I didn’t include exact quantities because for me, it depends on how many tarts I’m making. Use the quantities listed in the original recipe linked below if you need them — I believe they’re for 4 tarts and clearly, I made many more. I’d say less is more when you’re estimating for these — they’re small.
- You can serve them on a plate, but they’re sturdy little things, so we enjoyed them by hand and they held up well for the bake sale last year as well.
- The original recipe caught my eye in the 2011 May issue of Food & Wine because I’d never thought of using fresh pineapple, mango, or strawberries in a baked tart. I usually include them fresh in a pre-baked shell over pastry cream or on cheesecake. To make it even more interesting, the original recipe includes bananas which I think I left out of this version. Again — I’d never thought about baking bananas, but I did include them the second time I made them and was pleased with the flavor they added.
- These tarts are far from being overly sweet — which I like. Each bite has the simple flavors of the fruit in the mix you choose. The pineapple does caramelize nicely, which adds to the sweetness.
- These are so easy to make and can be even easier if you cut the dough rounds, freeze them on a baking sheet, then remove them to a plastic freezer bag until ready to use. When you want to use them, allow them to thaw on a lined baking sheet enough to fold and crimp the edges once you’ve loaded them. If everything is ready to go, you won’t have to put them back in the fridge for that last 10 minute chill before baking.
- If you just can’t get past the idea of nothing beyond the fruit, then mix a bit of mascarpone, cream cheese, kefir cheese, or goat’s cheese with a bit of milk to thin if necessary and a drizzle of honey. Smear that on the dough circles before you spoon on the fruit. Don’t put too much on as they do get bubbly!