Fresh fruit tarts in January

There's something so attractive about fresh fruits arranged on a layer of vanilla pastry cream, nestled in a lovely tart crust.  A feast for the eyes as well as the mouth.

Recently I received an order for a fresh fruit tart with a request for kiwi and berries.  Typically I use a 1-2-3  cookie-type dough (similar to shortbread dough in the ratio of sugar, butter and flour with some egg and vanilla added in).

But . . . . I had some pâte brisée dough in my freezer and decided to do a comparison between that and the usual 1-2-3.

I don't normally blind bake pâte brisée, but this time I lined 9" tart rings and smaller rings with each of the two doughs, primarily so I'd have something I could sample and compare.

Notice in the photo below how the pâte brisée edge is not as sharp and pristine.  It's an ongoing battle with that dough - trying to keep its shape, avoid shrinkage and have a nice looking end result.

Two things that help when working with pâte brisée are making sure the dough is nice and relaxed before lining the tart form and then freezing the dough in the form before baking.

Keep trying, right?

blind baked pâte brisée

small version of blind baked 1-2-3 dough

larger 1-2-3 version for the ordered tart

I filled the above shell with vanilla bean pastry cream lightened with a bit of whipped cream and topped with fruit.  As seen below on the left, I typically do a little fruit "practice" before placing it on the finished tart.

I added in some mango slivers to give a bit of contrasting color to the kiwi and berries.

getting ready for final assembly

et voila!

As for the smaller versions with the two different doughs, I just randomly topped the pastry cream with some of the fruit leftover from the order, not being concerned about the artistry.  I wanted to know how the two crusts compared taste wise.

the taste tester tarts

The left side is the 1-2-3 and the right the pâte brisée.

Somehow they were switched around for the "cut" pictures.

pâte brisée on left and 1-2-3 on right

While you can't really see a difference in the two doughs photographically, the taste experience was definitely one for comparison.  And to top it off, I stored these babies in the fridge for a day before we ate them.

Both were delicious, although Steve and I agreed that the pâte brisée taste and texture (crispy yet tender and oh so good) outshone the 1-2-3.  They both held up well after their refrigerator day - good to know when planning dessert.

Pâte brisée is now on my hit list of doughs to use for blind baked shells.  The 9 inch-er that I baked for this test went into the freezer for a couple of days after which I used it for a delicious lemon tart.

More on that later.

All in all an enjoyable comparison!