When Spring starts to turn into Summer, and British berries come into season, there is one elegant little sweet treat I can’t wait to make. Fruit tarts. Tender pastry cases filled with creme patissiere and topped with bright and bouncy seasonal fruit – simple components which add up to a delectable warm weather treat. The thing is, creme pat can be a little too runny for my liking if you make it in the traditional manner. My taste testers may have hinted at that being a slight downfall last summer so this year, I’ve been tweaking and come up these Lemon & White Chocolate Fruit Tarts.
White chocolate folded into a standard creme pat gives a sweet, milky vanilla flavour and to keep the flavours bright and fresh, a little lemon extract brings zing. I also use double cream instead of milk and altogether, you get a beautifully silky but set filling to pile your favourite fruits onto.
It has a luscious, luxurious mouthfeel which isn’t to be missed. A tbsp of limoncello folded into the lemon and white chocolate creme pat at the end makes for a grown-up twist to these summery little tarts, that will whisk you away to Mediterranean shores where it is served chilled at many a seaside bar. I use my Nordic Ware tartlette pan (pricey but that shallow but widely splayed and corrugated finish was so worth the splurge to me; they are just so elegant to look at).
If you do lose control of your senses (and purse strings) like me, then know you can make my Cinnamon Apple Cheesecake Tarts, Bing Cherry Bakewells and Mini Lemon Meringue Pies to assuage your guilt ;) If not, use a shallow bun/fairy cake tray or make 10 slightly larger tarts using a muffin pan.
- 140 g plain flour
- 70 g soft butter
- 1 rounded tbsp caster sugar
- 1-2 tbsp cold water
- 125 ml double cream plus 100ml more for later
- 2 tsp lemon extract
- 30 g caster sugar
- 1 large egg yolk
- 30 g plain flour tipo 00 is good here too
- 100 g white chocolate chips or a bar chopped
- 12 small strawberries*
- 24 raspberries*
- 36 berries*
Make the pastry by pulsing the flour, butter and sugar in a food processor until crumbs form then dribble in just enough cold water to bind most of it together - carry on pulsing until there are only a few chunks left. Tip onto some clingfilm and wrap it up well, squeezing and patting to form a shallow disk. Chill for 30-60 minutes.
Make the creme pat. Bring the cream and lemon extract to a boil in a small saucepan.
Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolk with the caster sugar and then whisk in the flour. When the cream is scalded (just below the boil), pour very slowly in a thin stream onto the egg yolk mixture, whisking all the time.
When fully incorporated, return to the saucepan over medium high heat and continue to whisk until it thickens. It will start to feel heavy on the whisk within a couple of minutes which is when you want to take it off the heat.
Put the white chocolate in a bowl then pour the creme pat over and a low to sit for a short while to start melting (upto a minute) then whisk to combine and once smooth, cover the surface with clingfilm and set aside at room temp until needed.
Back to the pastry - roll out the pastry to about 2mm thick and cut rounds just larger than your tartlette or muffin pan wells. Press into the wells and re-roll the pastry as needed. Chill for 30 minutes and preheat the oven to 180˚C.
Cut out squares of baking parchment and screw them up to make them easier to mould to the shape of the tartlettes and press gently onto the pastry surface, filling them with baking beans or dried beans. Blind bake for 15 minutes, remove the parchment and beans then return for the oven for up to 1 further 5 mins to ensure the surface is dry to the touch and fully cooked.
Cool on a rack until completely cold as they are too delicate to remove when still warm.
Back to the creme pat. Whisk the extra 100ml of cream until medium peaks are achieved. Take the cling film off the surface of the creme pat and beat it well to loosen it up then beat in a third of the whipped cream. Fold the rest in then spoon into the pastry cases.
Top each with one strawberry, two raspberries and three blueberries to get the exact look of mine or just use your favourite summer berries. Best eaten on the same day and keep in the fridge if very hot, bringing to room temp before serving.
*= use whichever summer berries you like.
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