Okay, so I might be pushing it a bit making a summer fruit tart in mid-May, but truth is, you could make this tart pretty much any time of the year if cost isn’t a factor for you. (Out of season fruit can be a little on the pricey side depending on where you live….) But that, my friends is the only possible drawback to this oh so pretty tart, that will garner many oohs and aahs when served at your next gathering. I used strawberries, blueberries, kiwis, and raspberries, but blackberries and/or mandarin oranges are a couple of other options that would be tasty – and pretty, as well. If you are short of time, you can easily make the crust and cream filling a day or two in advance; putting the fruit topping on the day you’ll be serving the tart. I hope you’ll try this delicious and easy tart, whatever the season!
For the crust:
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup pecans, very finely chopped
1 1/4 sticks unsalted butter, softened and cubed
For the filling:
1 8-ounce package light cream cheese, softened
4 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup whipping cream, whipped to soft peaks
For the fruit topping:
Fresh strawberries, kiwi slices (cut in half), blueberries, raspberries
For the glaze:
1/2 cup of orange marmalade
Preheat oven to 350⁰F
For the crust:
In a food processor, combine the flour, butter, nuts, and maple syrup and process until the mixture forms a sticky ball.
With your fingers, press the dough into the bottom and up the sides of a 12-inch removable-bottom tart pan (You may need to dip your fingers into some flour to keep the dough from sticking to them as you press it into the pan). Bake for 12-14 minutes, until lightly browned. Set aside to cool completely.
For the cream filling:
Beat the cream cheese, maple syrup, and vanilla together until smooth. Fold in the whipped cream until completely incorporated. Spread over the cooled crust.
For the fruit topping:
Cut the strawberries into 1/4-inch slices and arrange around the edge of the crust in a double layer. For the next circle, use 1/4-inch kiwi slices (cut in half). Add a circle of blueberries, then a circle of raspberries in the middle, or just mound raspberries in the circle of blueberries. (See photos).
For the glaze:
Strain orange marmalade into a small bowl, using a fine mesh strainer. Microwave the resulting jelly on high for 15-20 seconds, just to warm it. Using a soft brush, gently brush the jelly over the fruit until completely covered. (There may be a little jelly left over)
Keep the tart in the refrigerator. Remove about 15 minutes before serving. Serve with whipped cream.
In keeping with the healthful dessert eating trend I began at the first of the year, (I’m not sure that once really creates a “trend”, but bear with me…), I thought you all might want to try these Maple Baked Pears with Toasted Pecans. They’re soooo easy! There’s all of five ingredients in this baked-until-tender, maple syrup-sweetened, toasty pecan, pear dessert. They’re perfect for a weeknight dessert craving without carrying all of that guilt baggage into the next day. Top these pears with a dollop of vanilla yogurt, lightly-sweetened whipped cream or creme fraiche, (yeah, it’s a bit of a splurge…) and you have a perfect dinner party dessert. I’ve reduced the amount of maple syrup and vanilla from the original recipe, which you can find over at the delightful blog, Sally’s Baking Addiction.
Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment or foil.
Cut pears in half, then trim a small, thin slice off the other side so the pears won’t tip over when placed on the baking sheet. Use a melon baller or teaspoon to scoop out the seeds.
Place pears, facing up, on the baking sheet. Sprinkle with cinnamon.
Mix the maple syrup and vanilla extract together in a small bowl. Drizzle all but 2 tablespoons over the pears, reserving remaining syrup for after the pears are baked.
Bake pears for 30 minutes or until soft (test with a fork). Remove from the oven and immediately drizzle with the remaining maple-vanilla syrup mixture. Sprinkle with toasted pecans and serve warm.
NOTE: *To toast pecans: Spread 1/2 cup pecans on an ungreased, rimmed baking sheet. Bake in a 350°F oven for 4-5 minutes (The nuts will have just started to brown. Watch carefully to insure that the nuts don’t burn.)
If you have any leftovers, they’ll keep in the fridge for up to 5 days.
After the rich, sometimes decadent, possibly indulgent (I seem to use that word a lot here…), desserts and sweet treats of the holidays, I thought maybe something fruitful and more healthful-leaning might be in order. Enter Blackberry Almond Tart! Now, this purple jewel of a tart isn’t entirely without sin – all of those blackberries sit inside a nut shortbread crust. In the crust’s defense, however, the butter was reduced by half, without losing any tenderness or flavor. Honest. Fresh blackberries are available in the stores at this time of the year, but I mostly used frozen berries to keep costs down; if you don’t mind the expense, fresh is always best. The next time you’re looking for an easy fruit tart, I hope you’ll try this Blackberry Almond Tart.
Place oven rack in lowest position. Have an 8-inch tart pan with removable bottom or a 8-inch springform pan ready. I used a 14×5-inch rectangular tart pan. You can find them here.
To make crust in food processor: Process 2/3 cup flour, 1/4 cup ground blanched almonds, 2 tablespoons maple sugar and the butter, pulsing until pea-sized crumbs form. With motor running, add lemon juice and almond extract. Process until dough leaves sides of bowl. (If you don’t have a food processor, by hand: Mix 2/3 cup flour, ground blanched almonds and 2 tablespoons maple sugar in a medium-size bowl. Cut in butter with pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle with lemon juice and almond extract until combined.) Pour dough into the tart or springform pan.
Lightly flour fingers and press dough about 1/4 inch thick over bottom and up the sides of the tart pan about 1/2 inch high in spring-form pan.
Mix remaining 2 tablespoons flour, 1/2 cup maple sugar and the cinnamon in a large bowl. Add 4 cups blueberries and stir to mix and coat. Spread evenly in crust.
Place tart on a rimmed cookie sheet lined with foil and bake 40 to 50 minutes until crust is well browned and the filling bubbles.
Remove from oven, place on wire rack. Sprinkle with the 1 cup fresh blackberries and toasted, slivered almonds. Cool completely. Remove pan sides and place tart on serving plate.
The sweet season of summer is so short that I’m doing my level best to get every last drop out of it; and that includes eating as many old and new favorite summertime treats as I can jam into these few brief months. And I just had to fit this Peach Shortcake recipe in before all of the wonderful, juicy peaches are past their peak and can no longer be found in the grocery stores. The original recipe comes from a Cook’s Illustrated cookbook, but I changed up the shortcakes quite a bit; they’re more of a “sturdy” scone than the usual shortcake – just a personal preference that I hope you like too. Here’s to enjoying all of summer’s delights!
To prepare the fruit, combine about three quarters of the peach slices in a large bowl with the maple sugar. Toss to combine and let stand 30 minutes. Combine the remaining peaches, remaining sugar, and peach schnapps in a medium microwave safe bowl. Microwave on high until the peaches are bubbly, about 90 seconds, stirring a couple of times during cooking. Crush the peaches with a potato masher. Let stand 30 minutes.
For the shortcake:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Combine dry ingredients (through salt) in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse a few times until blended. Add in cubes of butter and pulse until butter looks like small pebbles in the flour mixture, about 30 seconds.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk sour cream, egg and vanilla together until thoroughly combined; pour this mixture in a steady stream into the flour-butter mix in the processor; stop when the dough begins to come away from the sides of the processor and forms a loose ball.
Turn the dough out onto a generously floured counter or large board, turning and kneading the dough 20-25 times.
Scoop dough with a greased, ⅓ cup measuring cup and place 1 ½” apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 13-15 minutes or until lightly golden brown.
For the whipped cream:
Add the heavy cream and sugar to a chilled bowl of an electric mixer; mix on medium-high until stiff peaks form. Blend in the almond extract.
Split each biscuit and place the bottom half on a serving plate. Spoon a few tablespoons of the crushed peach mixture over the biscuit, then top with some of the peach slices and a dollop or two of whipped cream. Place remaining half of biscuit on top.
Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated, August 2008