french bakers prepare a dozen different fruit tarts based around a simple combination of crisp crust, creamy filling, and a mix of fresh fruit. this recipe was a runner-up in our strawberry desserts contest for its unique spin on a strawberry tart. when we made patricia''s recipe, here''s what we discovered
test kitchen discoveries
commercial frozen puff pastry couldn''tsp be any easier to work with, though we recommend thoroughly defrosting it in the refrigerator overnight before unfolding it. the dough can crack and fall to pieces if worked with while still frozen.
trim strips of the pastry and ' glue' them to the base to form sides for the tart. dust the dough with cinnamon and sugar before baking to enhance the flavor and crispness of the crust.
To prevent the puff pastry from cracking when opened, defrost the pastry in the refrigerator overnight. To avoid a soggy crust, top with the cream cheese and fruit just before serving.
1 box frozen puff pastry (1-pound), thawed in refrigerator overnight
Flour for dusting work surface
1 large egg , beaten
5 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 quart fresh strawberries , hulled and thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
8 ounces cream cheese , cut into 1-inch pieces and softened at room temperature for 30 to 45 minutes
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 1/2 cups 1-inch-chunks fresh pineapple
Mint leaves for garnish (optional)
1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment.
2. Unfold both pieces of puff pastry onto floured work surface. Brush egg along one edge of one sheet of pastry. Overlap with second sheet by 1 inch and press to seal together. (Two sheets should form large rectangle.) Cut two 1-inch-wide strips from long side of dough rectangle and two 1-inch-wide strips from short side. Brush dough rectangle with egg. Place strips on top of edges of dough rectangle, creating raised border, and brush with egg. Transfer tart shell to parchment-lined baking sheet.
3. Mix 2 tablespoons sugar and cinnamon in small bowl and sprinkle over tart shell, leaving outer border plain. Using fork, poke entire bottom of shell. Bake 12 to 14 minutes, reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees, and continue to bake until golden brown and crisp, 13 to 15 minutes. (If shell rises in middle, pierce with fork to deflate.) Transfer shell to wire rack to cool. (Cooled shell can be wrapped in plastic and stored at room temperature for up to 2 days.)
4. Stir strawberries, 2 tablespoons sugar, and lemon zest together in medium bowl. Set aside. Beat cream cheese, remaining 1 tablespoon sugar, and almond extract with electric mixer at high speed until light and fluffy, about 1 minute.
5. Spread cream cheese mixture onto cooled pastry shell. Scatter strawberries and pineapple on top. If desired, garnish with mint leaves. Serve immediately.