Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Bakery Perfect, Home Cooking Easy: Fancy Fruit Tart

My favorite sister-in-law Rosie always insists on bringing something to my Chanukkah parties. Two years ago it was a luscious fruit tart from Wegmans. It's haunted me ever since--every week when I shop there I admire them in the bakery case. Like so many other Wegmans gourmet foods, it's the sort of thing I aspire to recreate at home.

So when I got a hold of Nigella Lawson's latest cookbook Nigella Kitchen and saw the picture of her "No Fuss Fruit Tart", I knew I had to make it.


It was simple. My family loved it. And it looked nearly as nice as the ones from Wegmans.
Didn't have time to arrange the fruit neatly, but it still tastes great!
So when I decided to throw an "April In Paris" party for the staff this week I knew that this had to be dessert.

Really, this is a riff on the cheesecakes I am known for--the ones my boss joshes me about because I refuse to top them with fruit!

It's got a graham cracker crust, cream cheese filling and tons of fruit on the top.Instead of eggs, sour cream and lemon juice, the cream cheese is combined with lemon curd, which you can easily buy jarred in the jam section of most supermarkets in my area.
 
This requires no baking, just chilling, and you could make this even more simply with a pre-made graham cracker crust. But the fluted tart pan gives it a lovely look.

I'd  found that the crust from Nigella's recipe was too crumbly--way too much graham crackers--so I adjusted proportions of graham crackers and butter here to something closer to my cheesecake crust. And as you can see it molded beautifully.

I also added a glaze. This sweetens any less than sweet fruit and gives the tart a lovely, shiny look. I'd made it at home with raspberry jam, which adds an extra hint of flavor and color. But I forgot to bring the jam for the glaze to work , so I improvised a sugar glaze. It works fine too. And you can pick any fruits you like.

Fancy Fruit Tart
(adapted from Nigella Lawson's "No Fuss Tart"

The Crust:
2 packages honey graham crackers
1 stick (8 Tbs) unsalted butter


The Filling:
2 8 oz packages of cream cheese (at room temperature)--regular or reduced fat
1 jar (about 10 oz) lemon curd

The Topping:
Fruit such as strawberries (sliced), blueberries, raspberries, etc. You will need about 2-3 cups, depending on which fruits that you use


Sugar Glaze:
1-2 oz of sugar + 8 oz water

OR:


Raspberry Jam Glaze:
1/4 cup raspberry jam
1 tsp cornstarch


The Crust:
Process graham crackers and butter in a food processor until they are very fine grained--like sand.
Pat mixture into a fluted tart pan. Press down well, getting filling into all flutes and flattening the bottom.
Place in the freezer for about 10 minutes

The Filling:
Combine lemon curd and cream cheese in a food processor until smoothly blended.
Remove the crust from the freezer and heap the filling into the pan.

It is really essential that the crust is chilled or it may flake and show in the filling, but if this happens a bit, don't worry--the fruit will cover all :D

Arrange the fruit on top of the filling. You can do this artistically or just heap it all in--either way it will taste good, but if you want it to look pretty, go ahead!

The Glaze:
Heat the sugar/water or jam/cornstarch in a small dish in a microwave at 30 second intervals until it thickens. Brush the glaze over the fruit.

Chill in the fridge for at least 2-3 hours before serving.

2 comments:

  1. For some reason last time I was at the store I felt compelled to buy graham crackers, and now I know why! I love this kind of dessert, and the last time i bought one in an emergency, it was about $35.00

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  2. OK, graham crackers are about $1.50 for what I used and the lemon curd cost me $3. Perhaps a buck for the butter and a few more work of fruit--say $5. The pan cost under $10--I just bought a rectangular one at Marshalls for $8--but that's reusable.

    So, not counting the pan, say $10.50. And I'm pretty sure the ones at Wegmans cost at least $25.

    Well worth it, and the pride of creation? Priceless!

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