One of my favourite things to do in the warmer months (aka. farmers market months) is to make tarts with whatever produce is in season. Usually it will be a nice light fruit tart with a buttery sablé crust, filled with a custard or cream, and topped with the sweetest berries and fruit the market has to offer. I never want to make the tart too fussy because I want the fruits to be the star of the tart, but this doesn’t mean that we have to sacrifice the look of the tart. Depending on how much time and patience you have, the fruit topping can be as simple or complex as you like. Keeping it simple still looks impressive, but with just a little more work, you can create a fruit tart that is sure to impress at a summer soirée.
Here are some ways you can decorate your seasonal fruit tart:
Layering on the fruits
This is one of the simplest ways to create an impressive tart. You will need quite a bit of fruit for this tart because you want almost a mountain of fruit on top of your filling. Berries work best for this look. For a monochrome look, use all of one variety, or mix it up for a more freestyle approach. Blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries all work well here. I like to add currants for an extra pop of colour and gloss. You can leave this tart glazed or unglazed.
Arranging a fruit crescent
Much like layering on the fruits, but done so with a bit more precision. This is great when you want the filling of the tart as the focus of the dessert, and the fruit acts more like an accent. I would use this decorating technique for tarts filled with a chocolate ganache.
Arranging thinly sliced fruits
You can do this with a variety of fruit like apples and pears. I love to make this tart not just in the summer months but in the fall as well. This type of tart works best with a baked frangipane tart and then finishing the tart with a glaze. This will prevent the fruits from turning brown over time.
Making a large mango rose
The mango rose might look difficult to create, but it’s really not too complicated to make. You just want to make sure your mangoes are not too firm (mango slices won’t bend nicely to create rounded “rose petals”) or too ripe (overly soft mango slices will be too juicy to handle).
A 9-inch tart only requires 2 – 3 large mangoes. To make a large mango rose, you can follow these steps:
1. With a sharp knife, cut from the top of the mango, down one side of the pit. Then repeat with the other side. You will have two large pieces of mango.
2. Take a mango half and cut thin 1cm slices width-wise, so you get half circle slices. Save the smaller slices for the centre of the ‘rose’ and use larger slices for the outside petals.
3. After you have filled the cooled tart shell with cream, start arranging mango slices flat side down from the edges of the tart shell. Have the end of each mango slices overlap a bit. Continue building the flower until you have reached the centre of the ‘rose.’
Note: If tart is not being served right away, a simple glaze or melted apricot/apple jelly glaze should be brushed on with a pastry brush to prevent mangoes from browning.
Making many small fruit rosettes
This is my favourite look for a fruit tart but it does require a bit of time to create. This works best with apples but I am sure other fruits that you can slice thinly will work as well.
To make your own apple rosette custard tart:
1. Slice apples with mandolin.
2. Place the slices apples in a sugar, butter, and orange juice mixture over low heat. Leave apples to soak for 10 minutes until they are pliable.
3. Start with the smaller apple slices first, roll apple slice so that both ends of the slice overlaps a little. Taking a slightly larger slice, build a second petal on the exterior of the first rolled slice. Continue until you have a fully “bloomed” apple rose.
4. Arrange apple roses into the custard-filled tart.
What are your favourite ways to dress up a seasonal fruit tart? Let us know in the comments below, or tag us with your creations at #bakedtheblog and @baked_theblog.