Whenever I walk into a bakery the fruit tarts are always the first thing to catch my eye. Jewel-like berries sitting on a sweet cream cheese filling, and that flakey crust…le sigh. When we lived in New York, I’d often purchase tarts from our neighborhood grocery, Citarella, to bring to dinner parties. That is, until I discovered how deceptively easy it is to make these impressive desserts at home.
Tarts are the perfect warm-weather treat, but to my mind there’s never an off season for something so beautiful and delicious. They are a welcome guest at any occasion and feed 8-10 beautifully. Gathering friends to discuss the election? Make a tart. (My recipe is red, white and blue after all.) Having your parents over for dinner? Make a tart! Hosting a book club? You get the idea. I find that when I make one tart, I’ll make at least one or two more as the week goes on because there aren’t typically enough leftovers for breakfast the next day…
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened and cubed
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
Fresh strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries
1/2 can frozen limeade concentrate
1/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tbsp confectioner’s sugar (for dusting)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Making the crust: Combine the flour, confectioners’ sugar and butter in a food processor, and pulse until the mixture balls up. With your fingers, press the dough into your tart pan, making sure you press the crust into the scallops on the sides. You can use parchment paper to help smooth out the crust and make it even across the pan. Bake for 12-ish minutes, until very lightly browned. Keep tart in pan and place on cooling rack.
Making the glaze: Combine the limeade, cornstarch, lime juice, and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat until it starts to boil, this will make it clear and thick. Remove from heat. I put mine in a small bowl and chill it in the fridge while assembling the rest of the tart.
Making the filling and topping: Beat the cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla together until smooth. Spread over the cooled crust. Cut the strawberries into 1/4-inch slices and arrange around the edge of the crust. Arrange 6 smaller strawberry slices to create a star in the middle, trace the star in blueberries and use raspberries to cover any place you still see filling. With a pastry brush, glaze the entire tart. Discard the leftover glaze.
Keep the tart in the refrigerator until showtime. Remove about 15 minutes before serving and dust with confectioner’s sugar.
Photos by Stacie Flinner for stacieflinner.com