Nick Malgieri
Nick Malgieri

Fruchttoertli - Miniature Fruit Tartlets

These delicate tartlets are the creation of Chef Fredi Nussbaum, a 20-year veteran of the kitchens at the Hotel Storchen in Zurich.  Use any combination of fruit you wish – it can vary with the seasons or your taste – these are not a solemn dish.

Makes about 24 individual tarts

24 baked cookie dough tartlet crusts arranged on a paper-covered jellyroll pan, below

Pastry Cream

3/4 cup milk

1/4 cup heavy whipping cream

1/4 cup sugar

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

3 egg yolks

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Fruit Topping

3/4 cup apricot preserves

2 tablespoons water

About 2 to 3 cups assorted sliced fruit:  kiwis, pineapple, orange segments, and/or berries

  1. For the custard cream, bring the milk, cream and half the sugar to a simmer.  In a bowl, whisk the remaining sugar with the flour, then whisk in the yolks.  Whisk a third of the boiling milk mixture into the yolk mixture.  Return the milk to a simmer and whisk in the yolk mixture, whisking constantly until the cream thickens and comes to a boil.  Allow to boil, whisking constantly, about half a minute.  Off heat, whisk in the vanilla.  Scrape the cream into a glass bowl and press plastic wrap against the surface.  Chill until cold.
  2. For the glaze combine the preserves and water in a small bowl and stir well to mix.  Strain into a small saucepan and bring to a boil over low heat, stirring occasionally.  Let the glaze reduce to about 2/3 its original volume, then pour it into a shallow bowl and let it cool for 10 minutes.
  3. Carefully spoon about a teaspoon of chilled pastry cream in each tartlet crust.  Don’t whisk or beat the pastry cream or it might liquefy.
  4. Arrange the fruit on the pastry cream and brush lightly with the glaze.

Baked Cookie Dough Tartlet Crust

This makes a fine tart crust, especially of you want one already baked to use with a filling that doesn’t need to be baked.  The dough is very soft after mixing, so just be sure to handle it gently and always with floured hands and it won’t be a problem.

Makes about twenty-four 2 1/2-inch tartlet crusts, or one 10 or 11-inch tart crust

10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

1/3 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 large egg yolk

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (spoon flour into dry-measure cup and level off)

Twenty-four 2 1/2-inch tartlet pans, sprayed with vegetable cooking spray, and placed on a jellyroll pan

  1. For the dough, combine the butter, sugar, and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer.  Beat with the paddle on medium speed for about 5 minutes, or until whitened.  Beating the butter and sugar aerates it and the air in the dough helps it to bake to a light texture.
  2. Add the egg yolk and continue beating until it is absorbed and the mixture is smooth.  Use a large rubber spatula to incorporate the flour.
  3. Scrape the dough from the bowl to a floured with surface and shape the dough into a rectangle.  Wrap and chill the dough until it is firm, about an hour.
  4. To form the crusts, cut off a third of the dough and place it on a floured surface.  Flour the dough and gently knead it until it is pliable.  Flour again under and on the dough and roll it a little ticker than 1/8-inch.  Use a floured plain or fluted cutter to cut disks of dough and arrange them in the prepared pans.  Use your fingertips to evenly pres the dough into the pans.  Continue making more tartlet crusts with the remaining dough.  After kneading the second and third piece of dough, incorporate the scraps from the previous piece into it.
  5. Cover the pan with plastic wrap.  Refrigerate the formed crusts for at least an hour or up to 2 days.
  6. About 20 minutes before you are ready to bake the tartlet crusts, set a rack in the middle level of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees.
  7. Use a fork to pierce the chilled tartlet crusts all over to prevent them from distorting during baking.
  8. Bake the tartlet crusts until they are evenly golden, about 15 to 20 minutes.  Check  occasionally after about 5 minutes.  If the bottom of the crusts are is making large bubbles, slide the pan out on the oven rack and quickly pierce the bubbles with a fork and flatten them.
  9. Cool the crusts on the larger pan on a rack.


Almond Crust

Add 1/2 cup finely ground blanched almonds to the butter and yolk mixture along with the flour.