Back When I Used To Make Fresh Fruit Tarts

When I began my marriage in graduate school, one of the healthy cookbooks given to me featured the Fresh Fruit Tart.

I loved this tart. It was light and healthy. The Fresh Fruit Tart accompanied me to every graduate school potluck, dinner party, or afternoon gathering. I think I made that tart hundreds of times. I made raspberry and kiwi tarts most of all. These were the days of sophistication and of leisurely conversations about Wordsworth and Keats and Barrett Browning. Of course we needed tarts.

Somehow in the last 15 years, I’d forgotten about the Fresh Fruit Tart until we pass by the bakery at the grocery story this morning. My daughter eyes those lovely glazed tarts and asks if we might buy one. It would be so special for Valentine’s Day!

Buy one? Oh, child. I can make one. 

So we do. But this time, my daughter wants to take over. Why not? I can pass on the tart to her. I explain to her that you make or buy any kind of crust you want. (We buy some.)

You get a saucepan and combine the following:

2 eggs, 2/3 cups sugar, 6 tablespoons cornstarch, and 2 1/2 cups milk. That’s it.

You turn on the heat to medium and whisk, whisk, whisk, then stir, stir, stir with a spoon until the liquid forms into the consistency of a really thick pudding. This takes a few minutes. Just keep stirring and you’ll get your pudding. Tarts are funny; you think nothing is happening to that liquid and then all at once you get your filling. Then, add 2 teaspoons vanilla and 1 teaspoon lemon juice (more if you want a lemony tart). Stir well.

Add the filling to your crust (make sure you’ve baked the crust), and then decorate with fruit. You can make beautiful designs with a beautiful glaze made from warmed jelly. My daughter used frozen, thawed, and drained fruit. She didn’t want the glaze.

Let everything firm up in the refrigerator, and then enjoy the Fresh Fruit Tart with your Valentines!


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