May 12, 2012

Mini fruit tarts for moms

Happy Mother's Day!  For all loving, hardworking, well-meaning moms out there, I wish you a very happy day, and I hope you'll celebrate in a way that brings you a lot of joy.
I feel very lucky to have my family and to be able to celebrate Mother's Day as a mom myself.  For me, this day is a reminder to continue to strive towards being a better mom.  Of course, it's also another lovely occasion to sit down with my family for a celebratory meal or two.  What's a holiday without a good meal - It wouldn't be right without it!  So I'm off to have brunch with my "men" in the morning and then I'm looking forward to a rousing dinner in the evening with my own mom and extended family.  It also happens to be my nephew's 9th birthday so we have lots to celebrate!
Mother's Day is a great reason to make something pretty.  I decided this was a perfect occasion to make some mini fruit tarts - these are great for moms and anyone, really!
Personally, I may prefer a mini chocolate cake over a mini fruit tart typically but there's something about these colorful tarts that seem right for the occasion.  I made my first fruit tart last summer and was really surprised by how much I enjoyed it (I'm not a big fruit dessert person).  The crisp tart shell, the cold, creamy pastry cream against slightly tart fruit is a terrific combination.  I've been wanting to make mini versions of them because, frankly, everything is cuter in miniature.  So I turned the standard recipe I've used into six tartlets and shared them with a few of my favorite moms.  And I do mean a few; I know many great moms but obviously couldn't give one to everyone I wanted to.
Happy Mother's Day!  I send you virtual mini fruit tarts and flowers.

The recipe for these mini tarts is essentially the same as the one for the 9-inch fruit tart I made previously.  I used the same simple no-roll tart crust recipe but divide the dough into six pieces and press them into six 4-inch tart tins.  Fill the baked tart shells with pastry cream and top them with any fruit of your choice.

Tart crust
Recipe for the no-roll tart crust can be found here.

There are always a few oops in the kitchen, and I'm always learning.  When I was working with this batch of dough, I had a little trouble with it being a bit crumbly and dry but I did my best to just "make it work" by wetting my hands with some water and pressing it together.  Luckily, this recipe is quite forgiving and the crust tasted great.  I think I made the mistake of adding my flour gradually while the mixer was running like I would when making cookies instead of adding it all at once before quickly incorporating everything together; I've adjusted the tart shell recipe to specify that now. 

Divide the dough into 6 little balls and press them out into six 4-inch tart tins. 
Follow the recipe instructions for freezing and baking.  On the day you assemble the tarts, bake the mini tart shells on a baking sheet until they are golden brown; I found this took a good 25 minutes.  I made the shells a few days ahead of time and stored it in the freezer until the day I was ready to put it all together.
I'm happy to report that the baked tarts popped right out of the tins without any problem (the tins I used do not have removable rings) once cooled.  No sticky bottoms!

Pastry Cream
Recipe for the pastry cream filling is here This will simply be used to fill the individual tartlets.
I found that I had quite a bit leftover pastry cream.  I might've even been able to get away with making half a recipe so that's something to consider.  And try not to overfill the tart shells with too much pastry cream (like I did) or you may find yourself with some pastry cream oozing out of the top once you plop on the fruit. 

Leftover pastry cream (which can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days) can be used to fill eclairs or cream puffs/profiteroles.

Fruit Topping
You can use any of your (or the tartlet recipient's) favorite berries or fruit, or whatever looks best at the market.  I went with strawberries and blueberries this time.

Optional glaze
The last time I made a fruit tart (and my first time at that), I omitted a glaze and dusted the tops with some powdered sugar. 

This time, I experimented with a glaze, using an apricot glaze (you could also use other kinds of fruit jams/jelly).  I happen to have apricot preserve on hand so I used that by heating about half a cup of it over medium-low heat in a saucepan.  If necessary, you could add a little (a couple of teaspoons or so) of water to thin it out but I didn't need it.  With the chunky apricot preserve, I pressed it through a strainer after heating it so that I'm left with a loose glaze.
Let the glaze cool slightly before brushing a thin layer over the top of the fruit, giving them that familiar shiny look.  I think a glaze looks particularly nice on strawberries.

Tarts are generally best eaten the day they're made.  We all know that isn't always possible so while it's clearly best to eat it fresh when the crust is nice and crisp, wrap and store leftovers in the refrigerator.  It should keep for 2-3 days.
This little guy has my name on it.  Happy Mother's Day!


  1. Thank you!!! This is an amazing recipe and easy to follow.

  2. I'm so glad you think so, too! Thanks for taking the time to write that.

  3. may i know 1 cup = .. ml/gr ? thanks :)

    1. Yes - the dry cup measure I use is 236 ml. Liquid cup=250 ml. Hope that helps.

    2. Sorry but I did not see the question below until now...for what it's worth, yes on both counts on the milk and sugar in grams.

  4. so for the pastry cream : 2 cups whole milk = 500 ml and for the sugar 1/2 cup = 118 gr ? sorry, but in my country we usually used gr so it's little bit confused me :( .. thanks :)

    1. I totally understand...we should get on that system (eventually...). And yes, 2 cups milk is 500 ML. 1/2 cup of sugar is actually 100 grams (I was talking ML before, not grams). I am going back to that post on pastry cream and putting in these measurements if you want to check there.



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