Tarts and pies are quite similar. Though unlike a pie, tarts are served outside of the containers they were baked in. Tarts are usually baked in straight-sided rather than slope-sided pans, often with fluted edges . Before serving, tarts are separated from their baking pans, which are formed with removable bottoms so that the tarts hold together when they are removed (AS EASY AS PIE). Tarts usually hold the same fillings as pies such as fruit fillings but can also hold custards and are traditionally open faced.
Last night was my first time time baking tarts and I must admit, it was not an easy task. When making tarts, especially tarts of 3-4 inches, you must be very delicate with the dough. It is important not to overwork the dough in tarts, otherwise you will be left with a hard, non-flaky crust. Another key step to know in the preparation process is to cool the dough before molding it into the tart pans AND to freeze the dough for several minutes (until hardened) before baking. The dough needs to be chilled so that it holds together while baking and after it is removed from it’s pan. Pie and tart crust making certainly is an art but can be achieved through practice… a lot of practice!
Below are a few pictures of different tarts I made last night. Hopefully the recipients of these tarts will appreciate all my hard work! I made them as a birthday treat for two of my friends. The tarts consist of a fruit base (made by boiling down berries and turbinado sugar) and topped with additional marinated fruit. Hopefully they are as delicious as they sound. I’ll keep you posted!
MINI MIXED FRUIT TARTS
1 Hartley Confections Pie Crust (refrigerated for 30-45 minutes)
3 cups of your favorite seasonal fruit, diced
1/2 cup of diced strawberries and/or blueberries (or your fruit preserve of choice)
1 pt rasberries and or blackberries
1/3 cup of turbinado sugar
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
2. Dice your fruit of choice and marinate with turbinado sugar to taste. The fruit may need to be separated depended on its natural sweetness (i.e. marinate strawberries and blueberries separately). Let the fruit sit for about 10 minutes so that some of the sugar can be absorbed.
3. Roll out refrigerated crust and cut out circles with a 3-4 inch biscuit cutter, depending on what size tart pan you are using. If you are using a 2.5 inch pan use a 3 inch biscuit cutter, and so on. Mold cut circles to tart pans and freeze until hardened.
4. While dough is in the freezer, mash your marinated raspberries and blackberries and place in a small pot over low heat. Boil the fruit (together or separately depending on taste) until most of the liquid has dissolved. The fruit mixture should look similar to preserves.
5. Let the fruit mixture cool until room temperature or cold. You may put your fruit mixture in the refrigerator or freezer to speed up the cooling process.
6. Once the mixture has cooled and the dough has hardened you may place enough fruit mixture (or preserves) to cover the bottom of your mini tart. Then you can place the diced fruit pieces on the fruit mixture. Feel free to mix and match the fruits as the flavors will meld together when baked.
7. Bake the tarts for approximately 10-20 minutes, depending on the size of your tart. When the crust is browned and hardened and the fruit has released its juices, the tart will be ready.