The quick and easy way to pull together a beautiful fresh-fruit tart.
Visit People Like Pie for step-by-step photographs to make this recipe.
Makes one rectangular tart serving 9-12.
1 14-ounce frozen puff pastry sheet (such as DuFour), thawed in the refrigerator
1 Tablespoon sugar
8 ounces mascarpone cheese
1/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Assorted fruit and berries, rinsed and dried (For the American flag design, we used 3/4 pound medium strawberries, 1/2 pint blueberries and 2 bananas)
If using bananas: juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup apricot jam (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees with the oven rack in the middle position. Remove the puff pastry from its packaging and lay it flat on a lightly floured surface. Very lightly roll the pastry just to flatten the fold marks. (If using a standard American rolling pin with handles, the weight of the pin is probably enough without you needing to press down. If using a lighter-weight French-style pin, very gentle pressure may be needed. See notes for rolling pin options.) The less pressure you apply, the more light and flaky layers you'll get in the finished tart. Transfer the pastry to a parchment-lined baking sheet and use a knife or pastry scraper to trim uneven edges, creating a uniform rectangle.
2. Use a sharp (not serrated) knife to mark a 1-inch border all the way around the rectangle (see pictures here). To do this, just drag the sharp edge of the knife along the length of the pastry in each direction, allowing it to cut through just the top layer or two and no deeper. Use the tines of a fork to prick the middle section of the pastry all over.
3. Sprinkle the sugar around the edges of the pastry. Bake for 12 minutes, then turn the oven temperature down to 350 degrees and bake for another 10-15 minutes, until puffed and golden brown. When cooked through, the pastry will remain puffed when removed from the oven and will not deflate. Cool briefly, then slide onto a rack to cool completely.
4. Combine the mascarpone cheese with the honey and vanilla in a mixing bowl. Use an electric mixer to beat the mixture until thoroughly blended and light. Set aside. Warm the apricot jam with 1 Tablespoon lemon juice or water over medium heat.
5. When the tart has cooled completely, cut the berries and fruit pieces into attractive shapes and set aside. If using bananas, have a bowl of lemon juice nearby and drop the banana slices into it as you go to prevent browning. For our American flag design, we cut hulled strawberries in half from end to end and cut 1 1/2 medium bananas into rounds. We cut the other half-banana into smaller pieces for the stars.
6. When ready to assemble the tart, use a fork to press the middle portion of the puff pastry down so that the border is elevated all the way around. Use a spatula to spread the sweetened mascarpone over the middle of the pastry, avoiding the border. Arrange the cut fruit and berries on top of the mascarpone. Use a pastry brush to glaze the fruit with the warm jam.
This tart is a really simple, and you can make whatever design you want with the fruit. It's perfect for school projects and special holidays
For a round tart, just cut the rectangular puff pastry into a large circle.
You don't need anything fancy to make this, but in case you're curious, I use a French-style rolling pin. I'm including a link to one on Amazon so you can check it out. To use a French pin, you put your hands directly on the middle of the pin and push it back and forth to roll it. I like it a lot more than the traditional American-style pin with handles, because with the French pin my hands are much closer to the dough, and I feel like I have more control over what's happening.
I use DuFour frozen puff pastry dough. It's made with just the real puff pastry ingredients, and it's a really high-quality product. Whatever puff pastry dough you have will be fine, but if you're using a different brand, it might come in a different-sized rectangle, or you might have two smaller rectangles instead of one big one.
If you're up for a project and want to make a real-deal fruit tart, check out the French Fresh Fruit Tart recipe - it's the classic original alternative to this one.
Check out People Like Pie for more pictures and details about working with puff pastry.