Free-Form Stone-Fruit Tartlet

by April on August 14, 2011

Some of the best desserts are the ones that keep it simple, and it doesn’t get much more simple than a celebration of summer in fruit-tart form.

And because the days are long and lazy it seems even more fitting for rustic dessert of ripe fruit sitting atop a delicate, flaky pastry crust, with little concern for perfect edges. In fact, the more imperfect, the better.

Free-Form Stone-Fruit Tartlets

Recipe from Baking Illustrated, makes six.

Tart pastry:

  •  2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons ice water
  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup fine stone-ground yellow cornmeal
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 7 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces


  •  3 cups fresh pitted stone fruit (peaches, nectarines,  plums, apricots) cut into 1/4-inch slices (about 1 pound)
  • 5 teaspoons sugar, plus more if necessary
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small slivers
  1. For the pastry: Stir together the sour cream and water in a small liquid measuring cup. Set aside in the refrigerator.
  2. In a food processor, process the flour, cornmeal, sugar, and salt until combined, four one-second pulses. Scatter half of the butter pieces over the flour mixture and process to cut the butter into flour mixture until the butter is the size of small peas, about four one-second pulses. Scatter the rest of the butter over the flour mixture and pulse to cut the butter into the flour mixture until most of the butter is incorporated and some pea-size bits remain. While processing, pour the sour cream mixture through the feed tube until the dough just comes together around the blade, about five one-second pulses. Turn the dough onto a sheet of plastic wrap, flatten into a six-inch disk, wrap tightly, and refrigerate at least two hours or up to two days before rolling.
  3. When ready to roll and bake the tart, adjust oven rack to middle position and heat the oven to 400°.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Divide dough into six equal pieces. Roll each piece between two half sheets of parchment paper into a 6-inch round. Trim the parchment under each round of dough leaving a 1/2-inch border around the edges. Chill each round until ready to assemble tarts.

  1. Remove the top sheet of parchment from each round of dough. Place the dough rounds and bottom parchment on a large baking sheet. Pile 1/2 cup fruit in the center of each round, leaving a 1 1/2 inch border of dough. Divide the 3 teaspoons sugar (more if necessary) and 2 tablespoons butter among the tartlets. Lift the borders of dough over the fruit in folds, brush the edges with water, and sprinkle the edges of the tartlets with the 2 teaspoons sugar.
  2. Bake until the crusts are golden brown, about 30 minutes. Place the baking sheet on a wire rack and allow the tarts to cool for 10 minutes. Using a large offset spatula, transfer the tart to the wire rack to cool an additional 10 minutes. Tartlets can be served warm or at room temperature.



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