When I have dessert for one, I just rip open the bag of Oreos, but when I’m making dessert for other people, I like making it completely from scratch. It’s partially because I want all the credit for the way it tastes, but it’s also because I want control over every aspect of the taste and texture. There’s something very satisfying about having so much power, even if it’s over something like dessert. The little additions that I can make to the crust can completely change the flavor of the entire dessert.
Since tarts are all about the “assembly”, I split this recipe into three sections; the crust (probably the post important part), filling, and berry garnish. The crust is shortbread; probably the most delicate and temperamental kind of crust-cookie batter. Aside: Many a tear has been shed over a crumbly shortbread cookie.
Getting a shortbread crust to taste good is never the issue; you can’t go wrong with good quality butter and sugar. The difficulty arises in the rolling and lifting stage, when you’re transferring your unbaked crust onto your tart pan. Although it may still break, here are some things I did to avoid a (mostly) breaking crust:
-use plenty of flour on your work surface before rolling out the dough and lift and turn the dough as you’re rolling it out to ensure the bottom isn’t sticking
– (cannot stress this one enough) flour your rolling pin!!!
-make sure your batter is the right texture after refrigerating. If it’s too cold when you start to roll it, it’ll break right away. If it’s too warm, it’ll stick to the surface and rolling pin. After refrigeration, set out your crust batter/dough for about 5 minutes before kneading it with your hands. The heat from your hands will warm it slightly, and make the consistency perfect for rolling out.
Even if your batter-dough breaks (like it did for me the first batch I made), don’t fret. You don’t have to chunk the dough altogether. Just press it in to your pan where you see rips and tears. It may look a little messy at first, but remember that the filling and fruit will cover most of the tart anyways. Focus on making the top edges look nice if you’re worried about aesthetics.
Variations of this tart are limitless; use whatever fruit and filling that you like, and these will taste great, and look super fancy no matter what you do! A great alternative is Nutella as the filling and candied banana slices with dark chocolate shavings to garnish!
- 1/2 cup butter, cut into cubes
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- a splash of pure vanilla extract
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
- 1 cup cream cheese
- 3 tablespoons sour cream
- 1/4 cup sugar
- a splash of vanilla
- a pinch of cinnamon
- handful of blueberries
- handful of raspberries
- In a large bowl, combine the cold cubes of butter and the sugar using a pastry cutter, and continue until butter and sugar have creamed.
- Add in salt, vanilla, and egg yolk and whisk until smooth. Fold in flour and mix just until combined. A crumbly mixture will form.
- Knead the dough together and wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 40 minutes.
- Prepare the filling by whipping all the filling ingredients together until smooth and spreadable. Place in the refrigerator.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees and prepare your removable bottom tart pans by spraying them with cooking spray of greasing with butter. Place each tart pan at least 2 inches away from the next on a large baking sheet.
- Remove dough from the fridge and roll out onto a floured surface. Ensuring that the rolled out dough will hang out over one tart pan, lift the dough and lower it onto one tart pan pressing gently to ensure the entire pan is covered.
- Use a paring knife to trim the overhang. Repeat for each tart pan. Docket each crust bottom with a fork. Bake in preheated oven for 15-16 minutes until edges are golden brown.
- Once the crusts have finished baking, let them cool completely.
- Spoon equal amounts of filling into each tart and smooth out. Place berries to garnish.