Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Spring Tart with Mixed Fruit

Spring Tart
with Mixed Fruit

This is a lovely fresh dessert for Spring; however, it takes a bit of planning ahead.  I'll give you the instructions in four steps:  Making the Frozen Bananas, Baking the Puff Pastry, Assembling the Tart base, and Serving it; read through the instructions completely before beginning.  One of the best things about this Tart is that steps One through Three can be completed up to a week before serving--it is stored in the freezer until Serving!

For the Frozen Banana "Ice Cream" you will need:
6 to 7  Bananas
1  teaspoon  Vanilla

Slice the Bananas into coins and freeze until firm; one to two hours or overnight.  When the Bananas are firm,  blend the Bananas in a food processor, working in two batches if necessary (keep Bananas frozen until you are ready to use).  Blending these Bananas is a unique experience--you will quite literally think "This is not working!!!"  Perseverance, my friend.  Here's how you'll do it:  Fit your food processor with the sharp lower blade and turn it on.  Then, drop the frozen Bananas through the feed tube in the top.  The Bananas with process to very small granules.  Add in the Vanilla.  At this point you will need to remove the lid, pack the Bananas firmly onto the bottom of the processor, and blend it again.  Repeat this several times until the Bananas finally clump together into a mass of mock "Ice Cream" or whipped Bananas.  It may take up to 10 minutes of blending, packing, and repeating--if your Bananas are not firmly frozen it could take longer.  For a photo tutorial of this, click on this link from the kitchn.

For the Puff Pastry you will need:
1  16- to 17-oz. box  Frozen Puff Pastry (I used Pepperidge Farms brand)
1  large  Egg, beaten and thinned with 1 Tablespoon Water
3  Tablespoons  Raw Sugar

Thaw Puff Pastry according to package directions.
Heat oven to 375*.  Gently unfold the Puff Pastry onto two pieces of parchment paper.  Roll each Puff Pastry into a 10-by-12-inch rectangle; transfer on parchment to baking sheets.
Using the tip of a knife, score a 1-inch border around the outer edges of each Pastry, taking care not to cut completely through the Pastry.  Brush the border with Beaten Egg and sprinkle with Raw Sugar.  Bake until golden and puffed, 18 to 22 minutes.
Cool Puff Pastry for 5 minutes, then re-score the border.  Gently flatten down the center portion of the pastry.  Cool completely.

To Assemble:
Gently spread the Banana "Ice Cream" into the center of the Puff Pastries.  Store on baking sheets in the freezer for up to one week.

To Serve:
Combine your favorite diced Mixed Fruit; I used Strawberries, Kiwi, Mango, and Blackberries.
Cut each Puff Pastry into 8 pieces.  Plate the Pastry and top with mixed fruit. Dust with Powdered Sugar and serve.
Serves 16. 

Now, if you don't have a food processor to make the Banana "Ice Cream" in, here is a recipe for a Cream Cheese base to use as a substitute.  This filling is not overly sweet; it really lets the Mixed Fruit shine.  I have not tried to freeze this filling--have only assembled and served it.  If you freeze it successfully, let me know.

Cream Cheese Filling
8  oz  Cream Cheese
1/2  Cup  Heavy Whipping Cream--NO SUBSTITUTES!!
1/4  Cup  Powdered Sugar
1  teaspoon  Lemon Zest.

Beat the Cream Cheese until smooth.  Add in remaining ingredients, beat until smooth.  Spoon into the center of the Spring Tart, top with Mixed Fruit, cut and serve.

Recipe for the Cream Cheese Filling from Real Simple.

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