I first made these fruit tarts 8 years ago and it’s still one of my favourite recipes as it is so easy to make! It’s a recipe or rather an assembly of ingredients, which will come in handy during this festive period. Something that you can say was homemade and will look like you’ve spent ages making when in reality it took less than half an hour to knock up. I’m going to break it down into 3 parts; the pastry, the filling and the topping.
- When I first made this, I used these raw, frozen pastry tart shells that were already cut out and in paper cases so all I had to do was to pop them in the oven. They took no time at all to cook and were surprisingly good. But they’re hard to come by these days.
- I’ve managed to find some really good pre-made, already cooked tart shells in Sainsburys and M&S, which I’ve used when I want to whip up something quick. They’re not going to taste like the pastry from your favourite artisan bakery, but they do the job!
- The third option is going to take the most time. You buy some really good pre-rolled all butter pastry and cut out as many rounds as you need. Then you put it in your pastry tins and bake it according to the timings on your pastry package. You can make this the day before and fill it closer to when you’re going to serve it.
- The first time I made this, I whipped up some double cream and mixed in some store bought vanilla custard in the ratio of 2:1 (double cream:custard). Yep, you read it right, Store bought Vanilla Custard. I saw James Martin do it once and decided to try it out and I assure you, it tastes a lot better than you think. Now obviously, make sure to buy good vanilla custard, not the horrible neon yellow goop. Also, you can add a bit of icing sugar or vanilla to the whipped cream.
- You could also fill it with only whipped cream, flavoured with whatever your heart fancies, how about a bit of orange zest? Alternatively, you could fill it with only custard and again, you can add some flavour to the custard by adding a little booze if you so desire.
- You can make your own creme patissiere or pastry cream – this will take a wee bit more time and effort to make so make sure you’ve checked your recipe and planned your timings. You can check out the BBC Good Food site for a recipe or Google James Martin’s recipe for creme pastissiere. I’ve tried his recipe and a few others without encountering any problems, so you should be fine… so long as you follow the recipe!
- Check out the bakery and jam aisles of your local supermarket and you’ll be surprised at what you stumble upon. I’ve found out that the amazing people over at carnation who make that condensed milk that I adore, also make tins of caramel filling and chocolate filling. Then there’s Nutella, you could go down the purist route and fill your tart with as much unadulterated hazelnut-choc goodness as you want or you could lighten it up by folding it into some whipped cream. Tastes heavenly either way! Oh and don’t forget the lemon curd option, I love a little cheeky citrus number. Or any kind of curd for that matter, my good friends at Perthshire Preserves make a raspberry curd that will blow your mind and a passionfruit curd that is both sweet and tart, it takes all my strength to not eat the whole jar with a spoon in one sitting! Honestly, it’s something you’ll need to try at least once in your life.
- So as you can see, the filling possibilities are endless! Keep your eyes peeled when you’re at the farmer’s market or at the supermarket for unusual jams etc and don’t be afraid to experiment a little.
- You can top it with any fresh or tinned fruit you like. When I first made them, I did some with strawberries that I sliced and arranged and one with sliced tinned peaches. I also heated up about 2 tbps of apricot jam and brushed it over the fruits to give the tart a shiny glaze.
- You could also add some nuts or nut brittle. It’ll give the tarts some texture and crunch.
- If you went with a caramel filling, how about melting some chocolate and pouring it over tbe top of the caramel layer then setting it in fridge, much like a millionare’s slice. Just don’t be afraid to experiment a bit 🙂
I’m going to leave you with a picture of the curds from Perthshire Preserves. You can buy their stuff online on http://www.perthshirepreserves.co.uk/ or check them out at various farmer’s markets around Scotland. You can also find them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.