Crostata alla frutta fresca is the pastry of spring and summer. As soon as fresh fruits are available this classic dessert starts to appear everywhere in Italy, from North to South, at home and in pastry shops.
⅓ of the recipe of pasta frolla
½ of the recipe of crema pasticcera
Seasonal fruit (berries, kiwi with a good color and flavor combination)
Optional glaze for the topping or powdered sugar
Flour for dusting the table
Butter for the tart mold (for these quantities I used a 7.5" inch square mold).
- Preheat the oven to 325℉ if convection, 350℉ if static.
- Take the pasta frolla out of the refrigerator and let it soften enough to be pliable.
- Roll the dough in between two sheets of parchment paper to about 1/6 of an inch or 4mm, dusting with very little flour if needed to prevent sticking.
- Put back in the fridge for about 10 minutes if the dough feels too soft and breaks easily.
- In the meantime slightly butter the tart mold.
- Insert the dough into the mold and press the sides down. Remove the excess dough by passing a rolling pin on top of the mold and keep the excess (we’ll use it for cookies or bite size tart shells).
- With a fork or a dough docker perforate the dough. This is going to be blind baked, which usually requires putting a piece of parchment paper on top of the dough and adding some weights to prevent the dough from puffing during cooking (common weights are beans, rice or another baking mold slightly smaller than the mold used for the shell).
- Bake for about 15 minutes, rotating the tray if necessary, or until an even golden coloration has been achieved. Remove the weights half way through cooking.
- Cool on a rack.
- Whip the pastry cream in a stand mixer and insert it into a pastry bag.
- Pipe the pastry into the pastry shell.
- Decorate with fresh fruit and glaze or dust with sugar.
An hour prior to serving the tart, I suggest to decorate with fruit. The fresh fruit, especially if cut up, will release some juice making the cream a little runny. If you read my recipe for the pastry cream, you already know that pastry cream made with flour once refrigerated has a tendency of weeping, this doesn’t happen with a cream made with starch. But when the pastry cream is cooked properly, allowing the starch to fully gelatinize, there will be no runny cream when you cut the tart. The amount of starch to make the cream can be increased a little to make the cream a little denser, but too much starch will compromise the taste and texture of the cream.
If you choose to make a glaze for the tart, all you’ll need to do is get some apricot jam and dilute it with water in a pot over medium low heat, strain, allow to cool, then brush the glaze on the fruit adding a beautiful shine to the finished product.
With any leftover dough you can make tartlets. Using a silicon muffin mold makes your job even easier by rolling out your dough, cutting it using an appropriate size round or fluted cookie cutter and place the dough on a greased upside down muffin mold, and bake. The tartlets can be kept for 1 week to 10 days in a tin.
Also, you might have noticed in my video I use a perforated tart mold, this allows to blind bake the tart without adding weights on top. There are different brands on the market that sell perforated tart molds. To achieve a beautiful homogeneous color, besides the perforated mold, I also like to use a perforated sheet pan lined with Silpain®, which is the perforated version of a Silpat® silicone mat.