A super easy fresh strawberry dessert recipe uses store-bought puff pastry and can take you right through the summer with just about any kind of fruit. Perfect for when you want a sweet ending, without all the work.
This tart is possibly one of the easiest recipes I’ve ever posted, but sometimes, easy is just what we need. It’s also endlessly customizable with just about any fruit as we go through the summer. It’s just one of those ideas that’s great to have tucked away for when you need a little something sweet, without the fuss. (And also makes a great breakfast or brunch pastry!)
This tart starts with store-bought puff pastry. On to that, is a layer of a cream sauce. Top with a layer of fruit, bake and enjoy! Strawberries and Cream is a classic combination to start the summer, but I keep thinking about how fabulous it will be with peaches. Or peaches and blueberries. Or apples, in the Fall.
I made oblong tarts, that I cut in to triangles to grab and eat. These would also be nice baked up in to individual squares and plated with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, for a more formal dessert.
The “cream sauce” is a mixture of milk, one egg, sugar and flour that can be cooked up ahead and refrigerated. It cooks up in to a lovely firm layer with a creamy taste that complements the fruit perfectly and won’t drip, if eating these out of hand.
I experimented with how much of the sauce to put on. My first go around, I used a thinner layer and the consensus was that a bit more would be nice. So I spooned on a thicker layer the second time, only to discover that when you pile the fruit on top of a thick layer, it is going to spill over the sides of the tart a bit. It didn’t end up being a huge big deal, because it sets up as it cooks, but it does mean you miss the crispy puff pastry sides. A compromise might be to start with a thinner layer, pile on the fruit and then spoon a bit more sauce in between the fruit pieces.
These are best right from the oven or shortly after cooking. The moist topping will start to soften the puff pastry the longer they sit. They assemble very quickly though, so with the sauce made ahead and the puff pastry thawed and in the fridge, they come together in no time.
You can also change-up this recipe by making them in to turnovers. Simply cut puff pastry in to squares, place the cream sauce and fruit on one half of the pastry, then fold over and seal.
- Frozen, store-bought puff pastry, thawed
- Fresh strawberries (or fruit of your choice, sliced if necessary)
- For the cream sauce:
- 1 large egg
- 2 cups milk (whole milk recommended)
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 egg yolk, for brushing
- Icing sugar, for dusting
- For the cream sauce: In a medium saucepan over medium heat, add the milk and heat until it is steaming.
- Meanwhile, in a separate medium-sized bowl, whisk together the egg and sugar, then add the flour. When your milk is ready, begin adding it to the bowl with the egg/sugar mixture VERY SLOWLY (a few drops at a time, at first) and stir in well, gradually adding a bit more until it is all added.
- Return the mixture to the saucepan and return to the stove-top over medium heat and cook, stirring constantly, just until it comes to a boil. Mixture should be thick. Remove sauce to a bowl, allow to cool slightly at room temperature, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until needed. (Can be made well ahead. Keeps well in the fridge for a couple of days)
- When ready to make your tarts, preheat oven to 400° F. with rack in centre of oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
- Roll your puff pastry if not already in thin sheets, then cut your puff pastry in to desired shape. Place on parchment lined baking sheet. Beat an egg yolk in a small bowl and brush along the outer edges of the pastry, about 1-inch thick. Spoon some of the cream sauce in to the middle of the pastry (about 1/4 inch thick), spreading it out, but allowing about 1 inch uncovered around the edges (right up to the point where you brushed the egg glaze). Scatter your fruit over the cream layer. If you'd like a bit more of the cream, spoon a little bit more in between the fruit pieces.
- Bake in the pre-heated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until set and golden. Allow to cool slightly or completely, then dust with icing sugar for serving. Best eaten shortly after being baked.