July affords bakers an embarrassment of fresh fruit riches. Consider capturing the over abundance of jewel-like berries available from the weekly farmers’ market in a classic tart.
I plead guilty to amassing more tart pans than my kitchen drawer can comfortably accommodate. Plenty of options await the cookie-like French tart dough, pâte sucrée. Rounds, rectangles, squares, 4-inch and 2¼-inch options, some with removable bottoms, others without. Having personally experienced the fruit tart mania of the 1980s and ‘90s from the vantage point of a restaurant kitchen, memories of turning out massive quantities of the classic pastry never really fades. High stress/high volume tart creation is far less pleasurable than crafting them on a smaller scale, simply for the joy it brings. However, for anyone keen on playing with their food, there is no better summer kitchen craft project. And thankfully, we are no longer tethered to kiwi fruit as an integral part of the mix.
Summer berries are fragile and require minimal fuss; little more than stem/insect removal and a light misting with cool water. Allow the fruit a chance to (paper) towel dry before placing them atop your favorite tart filling. There are many choices in the offing, but my leaning is towards a classic pastry cream, "crème patisserie" found in any number of cookbooks. Turn to Julia or Jacques or Pierre for guidance and use the very best vanilla. And though a slick of apricot glaze is traditional, when the berries are positively gorgeous, they need little more than careful placement atop the tart before you simply step away and grab a cake fork.
Professional Pie-isms & Seasonal Sarcasm