Elderflower Eton Mess Fruit Tart

I made this mostly for Pi Day, but also because I wanted to try making a rectangular fruit tart that does not look like an ass sandwich; the first time I purchased a rectangular fluted tart pan, it was back when I was still an accounting intern in DC. As my going away gift to my coworkers, I made a plethora of desserts, using basically every single baking vessel I could just to show them my baking skills that had been hyped up for those three months, but hardly ever delivered upon. It was not that I prepared them bad desserts, it was more like I never baked for anyone until my second to last day, just so that I can leave going all out and surprising them with every single skill in my arsenal. That included cakes, cookies, and a fruit tart. However, I struggled a ton with trying to make the fruit tart look good. I refused to take a picture of it because it was that ugly. There was something about the rectangular shape that threw me, mostly because I’m so used to circular shapes when it comes to my cakes and tarts.

For this dessert, I was finally able to figure out, at least somewhat, what you can do to make a fruit tart with works with a rectangular shape. The biggest difference is that you need to consider the angles, specifically, the corners, when it comes to the arrangement of your fruit. You’ll notice that I tried to do that with my strawberries, just so that they look more organically placed along the contours of the crust. But less about that. The concept came about because I first wanted to do a basic fruit tart, using elderflower custard to make it interesting. However, I had a ton of egg whites, and didn’t want to just chuck them out, so I decided to make mini meringue kisses to garnish the dessert with. Therefore the inspiration wound up being eton mess, a British-French dessert that uses strawberries, meringue, and cream. I took those three elements, plus blueberries, and twisted it into my own fruit tart.

For the pate sucre:
3/4 cups all-purpose flour + more for rolling
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
a pinch of salt
1/4 cup cold water

Combine flour, butter, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Form a well and add in the cold water. Mix thoroughly to combine into a dough. Roll out on a floured surface to about 1/8th an inch thickness. Lightly butter and flour a tart tin, add in the dough, and cover with parchment. Weigh with beans or stones or whatever you have (fun fact, rice does NOT make a good weight for baking. I prefer dried beans. However, I didn’t have a lot of dried black beans or azuki beans left, so I had to get creative with my parchment folding so that I could use both and not have to later sort out the beans like some sort of bean organizing peasant). Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes.

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For pastry cream:
2 egg yolks
2/3 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
a pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons elderflower liquor

Combine flour, sugar, salt, and egg yolks. Heat up cream. Temper. Whip eggs and cream over medium-high heat until it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Add in the vanilla and elderflower off heat. Pour onto a sheet tray, cover in cling wrap, and put into the freezer to cool down.

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For meringues:
1 egg white
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Whip together ingredients until the meringue reaches stiff peaks. Pipe onto a parchment sheet and bake at 200 degrees F for 2 hours. Or honestly, overnight. The drier the meringue, the longer can it hold up to being placed on top of the tart for.

For the glaze:
3 tablespoons mizuame
3 tablespoons agave nectar
a pinch of salt
1 tablespoon elderflower liquor

Combine ingredients.

To assemble:
Strawberries; hulled and cut in half
Blueberries

Take the cooled down tart shell and fill about 1/3rd the way up with cream. Coat the berries in glaze and decorate the tart with, starting with the strawberries along the border, and the filling in the remaining blank spaces with blueberries. Garnish with the meringues right before serving.

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