A Cat Cora recipe that I got on the Princess 4-Day West Coast Culinary Cruise. Tropical fruit tart with a crisp tart shell filled with ginger vanilla pastry cream and topped with tropical fruit.
You know how certain memories are etched in your brain forever? I remember being little, maybe 4-5, and being at my Nonnie’s house and watching her make tart after tart for my mom. My mom owned a catering business and one of the most popular desserts she served at parties was a fruit tart.
My Nonnie made them for her and she must have made hundreds of them. While I was taking photos of this tart, the memory came to me, I could see myself sitting on the counter with her while she would brush warm preserves over fruit.
And then she called. It was like she could sense my memory. I told her what I was making and doing and she laughed. I didn’t know this, but my mom’s catering version was made with puff pastry and my Nonnie used to make her own. I am not motivated enough to make my own puff pastry. It is on my to-do list of things to try, but I’m content to buy mine for now.
A few weeks ago I went on a culinary cruise and watched Cat Cora make this tart during a cooking demo. I love the stories behind recipes and it felt like she and Suzanne were cooking like they would at home. Chatting as they went, telling us stories about the chef world, cooking on TV, and I got some great ideas watching them cook. Cat made this tart and after the demo, the crew was passing mini versions of them as we left. Delicious. This crust has a little kick from ginger and the cream is amazing with vanilla bean and fresh ginger. You could easily change out the fruit and just use berries or stone fruit in the summer. I think that figs would be beautiful too.
I kept the recipe and knew that I needed to make it when I got home. This tart crust recipe is my new go-to tart shell recipe. It is easy to roll out, and baked into a perfectly crisp shell. I have quite a few tart pans, and normally pick my rectangle shaped one first (I love how it looks), but I had just bought this pie weight and wanted to try it out. It’s great. I am always losing my pie weights in my pantry and opening a new bag of beans every time I bake a pie. This one is one piece and goes into the dishwasher (and bright red, harder to lose in the cabinet). I baked this in a small 9-inch round pan, but the recipe is for an 11-inch.
Roll out the pastry an inch or two larger than your tart pan. Make sure that your pan has a removable bottom. Press into the sides, then use your rolling pin to cut off the excess dough. Pierce with a fork.
Line the crust with foil and weigh down with a pie weight. Bake for 15 minutes, then remove the foil and bake until golden brown.
After you make your filling and it has set, and the crust has cooled, slice your fruit. Warm the preserves and add the Cognac.
Spread the ginger vanilla pastry cream evenly into the tart shell.
Arrange the fruit however you like. I wanted to make stripes, the only downside is that you don’t get all of the varieties of fruit in each slice, but I love how it looks.
Brush the fruit liberally with the preserves. It will make the fruit glisten and look gorgeous.
Keep chilled until ready to serve.
Tropical Fruit Tart
- 1 3/4 cups flour
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 10 Tablespoons butter cold and cut into pieces
- 1 egg yolk
- 3 Tablespoons water
Pastry Cream Filling:
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1- inch piece fresh ginger peeled and thinly sliced
- 1 vanilla bean split and seeded
- 3 egg yolks
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
- 2/3 cup apricot preserves
- 2 Tablespoons Cognac
- 2 kiwis peeled and sliced
- 1 mango peeled and sliced
- 1/4 fresh pineapple peeled and thinly sliced
- 1/2 pint raspberries
- To make the crust: Add flour, sugar, ginger, and salt to the food processor. Pulse to combine. Add butter and cut by pulsing until it resembles coarse meal. Whisk the egg yolk and water in a small bowl. Add to the processor by tablespoonful and process until moist clumps form. Turn out into a bowl and gather into a ball. Wrap into a ball and cover with plastic wrap. Chill for one hour.
- To make the pastry cream: Add milk, ginger, and vanilla bean to a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and cover with a plate. Let steep for 30 minutes. Strain and add back to the same pan. Bring to a simmer again.
- In a medium bowl whisk egg yolks, sugar, and cornstarch until well blended.
- Gradually whisk in hot milk. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan. Whisk over medium heat until the mixture thickens and comes to a bubble. Pour through a strainer into a clean bowl. Press plastic wrap onto the surface of the cream. Refrigerate for 4 hours, or up to two days.
- To assemble: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface to a 14-inch round. Transfer to an 11-inch round tart pan with a removable bottom. Line crust with foil or parchment. Fill with dried beans or pie weights. Bake until the sides are set, about 15 minutes. Remove foil and bake until the crust is golden brown, about 5 minutes more. (If bubbles form, pierce with a fork.) Transfer to a rack and let cool completely.
- Warm the preserves in the microwave until melted. Whisk until smooth, add Cognac. Spread the pastry cream evenly into the cooled crust. Level with an offset spatula. Arrange fruit over the cream. Brush preserve mixture over the fruit.
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Disclosure: I was delighted to be a guest of Princess Cruise Lines on a 4-day West Coast Culinary Cruise Adventure. All opinions expressed are my own.