Happy March, everyone! If your calendar looks like mine, you have at least one bridal or baby shower per month during the late spring and early summer months. And as much as I like mini cupcakes, sometimes you just have to get a little more fancy pants. And for a birthday or dinner party, this can be easily transformed into a large 7” tart if that is more your style!
These mini fruit tarts are so pretty and so delicious and of course, easy! Because the secret is buy pre-made crusts. I mean, you could make your own dough and painstakingly mold them into mini tart pans and bake them all off...but why??? This recipe is about 15 minutes of hands on time only. You do need a few hours of refrigeration though so plan accordingly!
This recipe for pastry cream is also super versatile. You can use it for cake fillings, eclair fillings or try mixing it with a little whipped cream and use that to top fresh fruit or strawberry shortcake.
I hope you give it a try…
Fresh Fruit Mini Tarts Prep time: 3 hours (15 mins hands on time) 48 mini tarts
Ingredients: 3 boxes of shortbread mini tart shells (I found them in the baking aisle at QFC. Could also use frozen mini phyllo shells in the freezer section but I prefer the shortbread.) Fresh berries 2 cups whole milk 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste or 1 vanilla bean 7 large egg yolks ½ cup sugar 2 tablespoons cornstarch 2 tablespoons unsalted butter - softened
Add the milk and the vanilla bean paste or vanilla bean to a medium saucepan. (If you use a vanilla bean, split it in half lengthwise with a sharp knife and scrape the seeds out of the middle of each side with the blunt edge of the knife. Put the seeds and the pod into the milk.) Heat the milk and vanilla to almost boiling. Stir occasionally to keep milk from scalding on the bottom of the pan. Remove from heat when you start seeing small bubbles forming. Cover and let steep during step 2.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar and cornstarch. While whisking the egg mixture, add ½ cup of the milk mixture to the egg mixture (you might want to put the bowl on a towel to keep from sliding on the counter!) Do not add more than ½ cup at a time because it will scramble the eggs. Keep adding ½ cup at a time and whisking until all the milk mixture is combined with the egg mixture.
Pour the pastry cream back into the saucepan and heat over medium heat until the pastry cream comes to a slow boil while whisking constantly. It will also thicken considerably. Immediately remove and pour into a clean bowl. If you used a vanilla bean, discard the pod now. Let the pastry cream cool to room temperature (about 10-20 minutes.) Once cooled, whisk in the softened butter.
Cover the pastry cream with plastic wrap (press it directly on the top of the cream to keep a skin from forming.) Refrigerate until well chilled (at least 1 hour and up to 3 days.)
When the cream is chilled, fill a pastry bag (or a ziplock bag can work in a pinch) with the pastry cream and cut off a small piece of the end so there is a slow flow of pastry cream. Fill each tart shell with pastry cream. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 but up to 8 hours. Just before serving, top with fresh berries.