I love a fresh fruit or berry tart when the fruit is perfectly ripe and succulent. However, "fast & easy" a fruit tart is not! Summer is so busy, and I just don't have time for pastry cream or tart shells sometimes. So I called on one of my favorite staples, frozen puff pastry, and strawberry jelly and cream cheese instead of pastry cream, to create a luscious fruit tart in a fraction of the time, and it reminds me of a fancy French pastry! You can bake the crust up to a day ahead of time, then spread on the sweetened cream cheese and any combination of ripe fruit or berries a few hours before serving and refrigerate. I'll still bake traditional fruit tarts, but this is perfect for the busy, or lazy, days of summer! Serves 6
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed (about 9X9-inches)
1 egg, beaten well, for egg wash
2 teaspoons sugar
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 Tablespoons strawberry jelly
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups ripe fruit or berries, cut into bite-sized pieces (blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, peaches, apricots, plums, etc.)
!/4 cup strawberry jelly
Preheat the oven to 425-degrees.
Line a 10 X 15-inch baking sheet with parchment paper. Unfold the thawed puff pastry sheet onto the baking sheet. Brush all over with the egg wash. Fold 1/2-inch of the pastry over along each edge of the pastry to form a rim all the way around the pastry, it will look like a frame. Take a fork and pierce the pastry inside the frame in rows up and down the dough, very close together, so that the pastry won't puff up in the center. Sprinkle the sugar all over, including the edges of the crust. Bake in the preheated oven for 15-22 minutes, until the pastry is a dark golden brown all over. Remove from the oven. If the pastry has puffed up in the center, use the back of a fork to gently press it down a bit. Place on a cooling rack and cool for at least one hour.
While the pastry cools, melt the 2 Tablespoons of strawberry jelly and combine it with the cream cheese and vanilla, whisking until very smooth. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Just before assembling, place the fruit in a bowl. Melt the strawberry jelly in the microwave until liquid, about 30 seconds. Add to the fruit and stir to coat all of the fruit well.
Spread the cream cheese mixture evenly over the pastry. Spoon the fruit or berries over the cream cheese, arranging it evenly.
Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. (Berries will hold for several hours, but if you are using cut-up fruit, as pictured, you will want to wait to add the fruit until just before serving, as the cut fruit weeps.)