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Fun-Filled Fruit Tarts

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If these tarts are for picnic purposes, keep fruit in a separate container and fill them on site as a simple fruit cup. Kids will love the idea of filling their own. Makes 10 to 12.

If these tarts are for picnic purposes, keep fruit in a separate container and fill them on site as a simple fruit cup. Kids will love the idea of filling their own.

1 1/2 cups (375 ml) whole wheat or spelt flour
3/4 cup (185 ml) natural sugar
1/2 tsp (2 ml) alum-free baking powder
5 Tbsp (75 ml) butter
1 free-range egg
1 tsp (5 ml) pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp (2 ml) lemon zest
dash of sea salt

Custard:
4 egg yolks
1/2 cup (125 ml) natural sugar
1 cup (250 ml) cream
1 Tbsp (15 ml) vanilla extract
1 tsp (5 ml) agar agar

Topping:
1 cup (250 ml) each of raspberries, blackberries, blueberries
1 Tbsp (15 ml) apricot jam or marmalade
2 Tbsp (30 ml) water

Mix flour and baking powder and place on a baking board. Make an indention in middle of flour and add sugar, vanilla extract, lemon zest, salt and egg. Cut butter in pieces and place around the edge of flour. Quickly knead everything into a firm dough.

Refrigerate dough for half an hour. Roll out the dough to an eighth-inch (three millimeter) thickness. Cut out three-inch (eight centimeter) circles.

Grease a muffin tin and line the molds with dough circles. Blind bake* tarts in a preheated oven at 400 F (200 C) for about 10 minutes. Remove from molds and place on cooling rack. After the tarts are cooled completely you may freeze them until serving time. If packaged well these tarts can be frozen for up to one month.

Just before serving, fill tarts with custard and berries in season, like strawberries, raspberries or blueberries.

Custard:
Place egg yolks in small pot, add sugar and beat until pale. Heat cream in a small saucepan until hot but not boiling, then slowly add to the egg a little at a time. Add vanilla and mix thoroughly. Add agar agar and stir over low heat until thick. Remove from heat and let sit, stirring occasionally, until lukewarm. Spoon about two tablespoons (30 ml) of custard into each tart. Refrigerate 20 minutes or until custard is firm.

Topping:
Use a home-made freezer jam or look for a natural jam in your health food store.

In a small pot, mix apricot jam and water and heat slightly to dissolve jam. Remove tarts from the refrigerator, place berries over top and glaze with apricot mixture. Makes 10 to 12.
* Blind Baking
Blind baking allows you to bake a tart that won't collapse in on itself. Place circles of baking paper over tarts and pack the mold with dry peas or small beans to keep the shape of the tart. Bake as recipe requires then remove dried peas and baking paper. Place tarts back in oven for two more minutes to brown on the inside.

Source: alive #226, August 2001

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