Fresh Fruit Tarts with Sugar-Crusted Pastry!

Making pie crust from scratch is super simple when you use your food processor. I also find it more flaky and flavorful than the store-bought variety. That said, I often use store-bought crust for my pot pies, empanadas and other dishes when I want to save a little prep time. So, if you want to make these beautiful fruit tarts, either make the crust from scratch or use a refrigerated pie crust from the grocery store.

Fresh Fruit Tarts with Sugar-Crusted Pastry  
If desired, braid three thin strips of dough to add to the top of each tart before baking.

3 cups all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine (butter makes a
flakier crust), chilled and cut up
6-8 tablespoons cold water
1 egg, lightly beaten
Dried beans for blind-baking the tart shells
4 cups fresh berries, such as blueberries, raspberries and sliced strawberries
1 tablespoon confectioners' sugar 

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
In a large bowl or food processor fitted with the metal blade, combine the flour, 3 tablespoons of the sugar, salt, and butter. Process or mix together with your fingers until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
Add cold water, one tablespoon at a time, and process or mix just until you can form the dough into a ball. Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface and roll into a round disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 15 minutes (and up to 3 days).
Remove the plastic wrap and transfer dough to a lightly floured surface. Divide about 3/4 of the dough into 8 equal portions and roll each portion into a 1/4-inch thick circle (reserve the remaining dough for the leaves).
Press the 8 circles into the bottom and up the sides of 8 ramekins. Brush the edges with the beaten egg and sprinkle with the remaining tablespoon of sugar. Prick the bottom with a fork and fill the ramekins almost to the top with the dried beans. Bake 10 minutes. Remove the beans and bake for 10 to 15 more minutes, until the crusts are golden brown.
To make the decorative leaves, cut the reserved dough into leaf-shaped ovals. Use a sharp knife to make leaf-lines on top (without slicing all the way through). Place the leaves on a baking sheet, brush with egg and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until golden brown.
When the tart shells have cooled, fill with fresh berries and top with pastry leaves.
Sift confectioners’ sugar over top before serving.

Serves 8

Photo: Serge Bertasius