Puff Pastry Tart:
1 sheet (about 9 ounces) of puff pastry, thawed according to manufacturer's instructions
1 large egg lightly beaten with 1 tablespoon water
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese or cream cheese
1/2 cup (120 ml) heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoon (14 grams) granulated white sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Any combination of berries (blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries) or other fruit such as slices of peaches, plums, bananas, cantaloupe, melon, or kiwi.
Puff Pastry Tart: Roll out the puff pastry to fit an 14 x 4 inch (35 x 10 cm) tart pan. Gently place the pastry into the bottom and up the sides of the tart pan. Prick the bottom of the pastry with the tines of a fork. (If making individual tarts roll the pastry into a 10 x 10 inch square (25 x 25 cm) and cut out four - 5 inch (12.5 cm) squares. Press each square into a 4 inch tart pan and prick the bottoms of the puff pastry with the tines of a fork.) Cover and refrigerate until well chilled (30 minutes to an hour.)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C) and place the rack in the center of the oven. Place the tart pan on a large baking sheet and with a pastry brush, brush the puff pastry with the glaze. Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and continue to bake the tart shell for a further 5 minutes, or until the shell is golden brown. Remove and place on a wire rack.
Set the oven to broil. Dust the edges of the puff pastry with a thin layer of confectioners' (powdered or icing) sugar. Place the tart shell under the broiler until the edges have caramelized. (Do not burn.)
Cream Filling: In a large bowl, beat the mascarpone or cream cheese until fluffy and smooth. Add the heavy whipping cream, sugar, and vanilla and beat until soft peaks forms. Just before serving, spread or pipe the cream on the tart shell and top with fresh berries or cut up fruit. Serve immediately.
Note: You can make the puff pastry shell several hours in advance but do not fill with the cream and fruit until shortly before serving.
Makes one - 14 x 4 inch (35 x 10 cm) tart, one 8-9 inch (20 - 23 cm) tart, or four - 4 inch (10 cm) tarts.
This beautiful looking fruit tart starts with a crisp and buttery puff pastry and fills it with cream and fresh fruit. Puff pastry is a what we call a 'flaked' pastry and is made by placing pats of butter between layers of pastry dough. The dough (with the butter) is then rolled, folded, and chilled several times which produces a pastry consisting of many layers of dough and butter. When baked, the pastry 'puffs' up and all the layers of pastry become wonderfully crisp and buttery tasting.
Of course, homemade puff pastry is always preferred, but for convenience I have used a commercial brand. If possible, try to find a commercial brand that uses 'real' butter to make their puff pastry. Personally, I use the Dufour Pastry Kitchens' Classic Puff Pastry that can be found at some gourmet and specialty food stores (or check on the web). Once the pastry shell has been baked and cooled it is filled with a delicious cream made with mascarpone cheese and whipping cream. (Mascarpone pronounced mas-kahr-POH-nay is a soft unripened cheese that belongs to the cream cheese family. It comes from Switzerland and Italy and is a thick, buttery-rich, sweet and velvety, ivory-colored cheese produced from cow's milk that has the texture of clotted or sour cream. It delicate and mild flavor is great with fresh fruit and is probably best known for its use in Tiramisu. Produced mainly in the fall and winter it is sold in plastic 8 ounce tubs and can be found in specialty food stores and in the deli section of some grocery stores.) Then fresh fruit, whatever is in season, is piled on top. If you like, go ahead and make the tart shell several hours before you are going to serve it. You can also make the cream and store it separately in the fridge. But to keep the tart shell wonderfully crust, only fill it with the cream and fruit just before serving.
Note: This recipe makes either one - 14 x 4 inch (35 x 10 cm) tart, one - 8 or 9 inch (20 or 23 cm) tart, or four individual 4 inch (10 cm) tarts.