Tarte Aux Fruits

A Note about Measurements and Baking. Baking is science. It is a completely different activity than cooking. In cooking you can be your own creative boss and follow your desires to change a recipe. Not so in baking. Baking is science: you are taking materials and completely transforming them; flour, butter, sugar, eggs, and water are transformed into something entirely different: a cake, a pie, etcetera. As a result, measurements need to be precise. A cup of flour is not a precise measurement. Weight is a better measurement of your ingredients (grams, ounces) than volume (cups, tablespoons, pints). It is essential that flour be weighed because flours vary. Granulated sugar, butter, water, you can get away with a volume measurement, but weight is my preference. I think the home cooking world will be weighing ingredients as I see more recipes opt for weights rather than volume. So, get ahead of the curve and invest in a kitchen scale that displays in ounces/pounds, and grams/kilograms and move away from cups and tablespoons when you bake. I am not fully there yet. As you will see below, I am inconsistent. I call for 250 grams of flour, 50 grams of sugar, but 3-4 teaspoons of cornstarch.

Makes one tarte.

Time requirement: about an hour plus 30 minutes for the dough to chill in the refrigerator.

What you will need for the pastry dough (pâté sucrée):

250 grams all-purpose flour, that is about 8.8 ounces (by weight not volume).

50 grams granulated sugar, that is about ¼ cup.

½ teaspoon pinch salt.

125 grams unsalted butter, that is 4½ ounces (by weight not volume), or 9 tablespoons

1 large egg beaten.

2-4 tablespoons ice cold water or milk.

What you will need for the filling:

A 1½ pint of blueberries or and pitted cherries combined…. If you are using larger pieces of fruit, perhaps a mix of apricot and peach slices along with blueberries, cherries, or strawberries; use about a quart of fruit (roughly 24 ounces by weight). Where I live there is a moment when all these fruits are in season: the last strawberries greet the first peaches, the blueberries are around for the cherries.

3-4 teaspoons cornstarch.

4-8 tablespoons granulated sugar. The amount of sugar depends on your palette and the natural sweetness of the fruit. For me 4 tablespoons of sugar are about right. But, if you are like most people, you will prefer a sweeter tart. So be all means, use 4-6-8 tablespoons. Most will be happier with more sugar than less.

What you will need for egg wash:

1 egg yolk beaten.

Preparation:

First make the dough. Place the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Cut the butter into small cubes (about 20 pieces). Add the butter to the food processor bowl and process for 10-12 seconds, until you have a texture of sand. Add the beaten egg, process 5 seconds. Add water/milk one tablespoon at a time to get the right consistency where the dough holds together when pinched. Try to use just 2 tablespoons of water/milk. Add more only if the dough will not hold with a pinch.

Pour the rather powdery dough into a clean bowl and gather it up into a ball. Wrap the dough ball in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Pre heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Mix the fruit in a bowl with the 3-4 teaspoons cornstarch and 4-8 tablespoons sugar (again the amount of sugar is to your taste. If you are unsure use more rather than less).

After the dough has chilled in the refrigerator 30 minutes, roll it out on a floured surface about 12-14-inch diameter. Roll the dough over your rolling pin, lift it up, and place it on the parchment paper. It does not need to be perfect: this is a free style tart. In the middle of the dough mound the fruit. Now pull up the sides of the dough to cover the fruit. If the dough breaks just pinch it back into place. You may use a little water to seal the seams where the dough comes together. Brush the dough with the beaten egg yolk.

Place in a 350-degree oven and bake 45-50 minutes, until golden on top and the fruit bubbling inside.

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