Fruit Tart

Fruit Tart

Fruit Tart

This classic fruit tart recipe eliminates the most time-consuming aspect by using a boxed pudding mix. Delicious and easy!

Makes

8-12 servings

Active time:

30 minutes

Total Time:

90 minutes

Good For:

Dessert

Inroduction

About this Recipe

Perfect, buttery-sweet pastry crust…creamy filling…fresh fruit bursting with flavor. What could be better on a bright summer’s day? Best of all, this fruit tart recipe is EASY! (Because, yeah, I cheated. And I’m not apologizing for it.)

As I was hunting for classic fruit tart recipes, I quickly decided that the time-consuming custard filling was the part making me not want to actually tackle the recipe. Then I thought, “Why get hung up on that? Just use a boxed pudding mix, silly!” And so I did. 😉

I chose a cheesecake flavored pudding (great choice, but vanilla would work too!), and it was sugar free, because that’s what my supermarket had in stock. As it happened, I also had sugar-free apricot jam on hand when I randomly decided to make this on a Monday evening over the summer…so I thought, why not embrace the no-sugar-added thing and use All Purpose In the Raw for the crust too? It turned out PERFECTLY, and I didn’t spill the beans on the sugar-free bit until AFTER the four adults, 1 teen, and 5 children had already devoured their initial servings and fought over the the last pieces. 😉

Making this in the summer meant I had some really delicious fresh berries on hand–I chose strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and some fruit-cup mandarins that I had stashed too. I’ve made it before with kiwi slices, which I love, and mango slices would work as well. The key to fruit selection is making sure they’re things that won’t juice too much or turn too brown, which rules out apples, bananas, pears, peaches, or sliced full-size oranges.

This recipe takes a bit of planning ahead, but most of the time is just chill time. Active time is really only about 30 minutes total. Plus, you get the joy of something truly beautiful and artistic with those berry arrangements! I promise you, this dessert LOOKS incredibly impressive and will get some oohs and ahhs from whomever you share it with, but it’s easy-peasy to put together.

Ingredients

Instructions

For the Crust

  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup sugar or substitute
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg yolk
  • Nonstick cooking spray and/with flour for the pan

 

Filling

  • 1 box vanilla or cheesecake instant pudding
  • 2 cups milk
  • ~4 cups fresh fruit (berries, kiwi, mandarin pieces, mango) assorted
  • ¼ cup apricot jam
  1. Using the paddle attachment in a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar or sweetener and salt until pale and creamy. This should take about 2 minutes on medium speed. Scrape the sides and then add the flower, mixing until it’s fully incorporated. It ought to resemble course sand. Add the egg yolk and mix again. Knead the dough into a ball with your hand. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 5 days.
    .
  2. Spray a tart pan with a removable bottom (anything from 9-11 inches in diameter will work for this recipe) with nonstick cooking spray; either use the kind that has flour in it already, or else flour the pan after you’ve sprayed.
    .
  3. Press the crust dough, bit by bit, into the pan in a thin layer, making certain it gets in all the fluted edges and covers the whole bottom. There will be enough, promise! Use a knife to trim any excess from the top edge and work it into the bottom. Freeze for another 30 minutes.
    .
  4. Adjust the oven rack to the center position and preheat the oven to 350˚. Bake the crust for 23-26 minutes, until lightly browned and golden. Let it cool completely on a wire rack.
    .
  5. While the crust is cooling, mix up your pudding with the milk according to package directions, making sure you get all lumps out. Chill while the crust cools.
    .
  6. Once the crust is COMPLETELY cool, spread the chilled pudding over the shell. Top with sliced strawberries, (unsliced) blackberries and/or raspberries, blueberries, mandarin orange slices, sliced kiwi, sliced mango, or other fruits that won’t juice too much or brown too quickly.
    .
  7. Melt the apricot jam in the microwave in 30-second intervals until it’s loose enough to spread. Use a pastry brush to brush it over the fruit, giving it a nice gloss.
    .
  8. Refrigerate until ready to eat. Slice like a pie into 8-12 servings and enjoy!

From the Books

Fruit tart plays a rather crucial role in A Beautiful Disguise when Lady Marigold’s “stunt double” makes the misstep of eating some when the lady herself never would have. For shame, Gemma! 😉

More Recipes

Slow-Cooker Chicken Ziti

Slow-Cooker Chicken Ziti

Is there anything better than noodles in a hearty red sauce with ooey-gooey cheese? How about making it in a slow-cooker with chicken?

read more
Classic Porridge

Classic Porridge

Soaked or slow-cooked oat groats create a classic porridge with a satisfying bite and familiar oat flavor, a perfect base for your fixings!

read more

Chewy Easter M&M Cookies

Chewy Easter M&M Cookies

Chewy Easter M&M Cookies

Spring colored candies make these ooey-gooey chewy cookies the perfect edition to your Easter table…or any table! Change out the colors to match the season!

Makes

24 cookies

Prep time:

15 minutes

Total Time:

40 minutes

Good For:

Dessert

Inroduction

About this Recipe

I am a cookie lover…and also a cookie SNOB. I admit it. By my definition, cookies had better be soft and chewy, and while chocolate isn’t a must, it’s definitely worthy of some bonus points.

I’ve spent much of my adult life in pursuit of the PERFECT chocolate chip cookie, and I’ve tried some very time-intensive recipes that claim they’ve found it.

Nope.

THIS is it. Oh sure, it claims it’s an M&M cookie…and it can be…but you can absolutely sub out the M&Ms for more chocolate chips. At Christmas I made this recipe with a mixture of milk and semi-sweet chips and chunks…then with white and milk chocolate chips…and at Easter, I used the M&Ms that were pretty pastels. You can absolutely use Christmas M&Ms for these in December, or any other color for any other season. Whatever your choice, these cookies are AWESOME.

Why? Because they’re melt-in-your-mouth soft and have a fantastic chewiness. This recipe calls for big, generous scoops of dough that make a big, satisfying cookie.

Looking to go sugar-free? I’ve made these with sugar-free chips from ChocZero and subbed the sugars in the recipe for Swerve Bown and All Purpose in the Raw, and they turned out great! The texture was slightly different, but if you weren’t doing a side-by-side comparison, you’d never know.

Ingredients

Instructions

  • 1 cup salted butter, softened
  • 1 cup light brown sugar or Swerve Brown
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar or All Purpose in the Raw
  • 2 large eggs at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ¾ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup M&Ms in your choice of color, or milk-chocolate chips
    1. Preheat your oven to 375°. Line two baking sheets with either parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
      .
    2. Cream together the softened butter and the sugars or sugar alternatives with an electric mixer until they’re fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix until they’re just combines.
      .
    3. In a separate bowl or 4-cup measuring cup, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Slowly mix into the butter mixture.
      .
    4. Fold in the candy and chocolate chips.
      .
    5. Using a medium cookie scoop (2-3 tablespoons), drop the dough onto your prepared baking sheets. Don’t crowd them! These are big cookies, so depending on the size of your sheets, you may have to do them in two rounds.
      .
    6. To get that perfect presentation, press a few extra M&Ms or chocolate chips into the top of the cookies.
      .
    7. Bake for 7-10 minutes, rotating the pans (switching racks and front to back) halfway through to ensure even baking. When the edges are just beginning to brown, the cookies are ready to come out of the oven. The middles will still be soft.
      .
    8. Allow the cookies to cool for 3 minutes on their pans (this will help set those middles) and then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

    From the Books

    Okay, okay…so I know chocolate chip cookies, and definitely M&M cookies, were not a thing in Biblical days. BUT…these two books both center around Easter. So why not include a modern Easter recipe in this collection, right? 😉 If Abigail and Magdalene were around today, they would absolutely be celebrating our Savior’s resurrection with celebratory foods. So curl up with one of these novels…and have a cookie or two too!

    More Recipes

    Slow-Cooker Chicken Ziti

    Slow-Cooker Chicken Ziti

    Is there anything better than noodles in a hearty red sauce with ooey-gooey cheese? How about making it in a slow-cooker with chicken?

    read more
    Classic Porridge

    Classic Porridge

    Soaked or slow-cooked oat groats create a classic porridge with a satisfying bite and familiar oat flavor, a perfect base for your fixings!

    read more
    Strawberry Scones

    Strawberry Scones

    Strawberry Scones

    Nothing beats a fruity scone, especially when it’s drizzled with a fabulous strawberries-and-cream glaze!

    Servings

    12

    Prep time:

    15 minutes

    Total Time:

    30 minutes

    Good For:

    Dessert, Breakfast

    Inroduction

    About this Recipe

    We love scones in our family. I make them every year for Mother’s Day, which means that I’ve tried a wide variety of recipes. One of my favorites, though, is this strawberry variation.

    The secret to light, flaky scones is to NOT overwork the dough. It ought to be stirred until just combined and then patted into place with as few movements as possible. Do not knead, do not roll out!! Just pat into shape and cut. You can either make traditional round scones or cut the disc into triangles.

    Ingredients

    For the Scones

    • 2 ½ cups flour
    • ½ cup sugar
    • ½ teaspoon salt
    • ½ teaspoon baking soda
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • 8 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small pieces
    • 2/3 cups + 1 tablespoon cream, separated
    • 1 egg
    • 8 medium sized strawberries, minced

     

    Strawberry Glaze

    • 2 strawberries, minced
    • 2 cups powdered sugar
    • 1 tablespoon cream
    1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
      .
    2. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. Cut in butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs, with some lumps the size of peas.
      .
    3. In a separate bowl, combine the egg and 2/3 cups cream. Pour into the dry mixture and mix until just combined. Gently fold in the minced strawberries. Transfer to a floured surface and lightly form into a disc. Cut the disc into 12 wedges or circles. Brush tops with the remaining 1 tablespoon of cream. Bake for 12 minutes.
      .
    4. While the scones cool, make the glaze. In a small bowl, whisk together the strawberries, powdered sugar, and cream until you have a have a smooth glaze. Pour 1 tablespoon of glaze over the top of each scone. Let set up and serve either warm or at warm temperature.

    From the Books

    Strawberry Scones were featured in All the Inn’s a Stage, but I can also imagine Ella enjoying them while she’s at the tea house in A Lady Unrivaled.

    More Recipes

    Slow-Cooker Chicken Ziti

    Slow-Cooker Chicken Ziti

    Is there anything better than noodles in a hearty red sauce with ooey-gooey cheese? How about making it in a slow-cooker with chicken?

    read more
    Classic Porridge

    Classic Porridge

    Soaked or slow-cooked oat groats create a classic porridge with a satisfying bite and familiar oat flavor, a perfect base for your fixings!

    read more

    Victoria Cake

    Victoria Cake

    Victoria Cake

    A classic tea cake with whipped cream and berries.

    Servings

    12

    Prep time:

    20 min

    Total Time:

    1.5 hours plus chill

    Good For:

    Dessert, Tea

    Inroduction

    About this Recipe

    When you write about Edwardian England as much as I do, you come across a lot of recipes for tea treats. Interestingly, it was for one of my Guideposts mystery novels that I discovered Victoria Cake and fell in love with the simplicity and scrumptious flavors. If there’s anything better than vanilla and berries and whipped cream, I haven’t found it.

    Best of all, you can use ANY jam and fresh berries to make this cake! Strawberry is a classic, but raspberries or blackberries or blueberries would all work just as well. Get creative and try it with orange marmalade, lemon curd, or turn it into a vanilla black forest cake with cherry pie filling. The possibilities are endless! (And delicious.)

    Ingredients

    Instructions

    INGREDIENTS

    • 2 ½ sticks butter at room temperature
    • 1 ¼ cups superfine sugar
    • 6 eggs, beaten
    • 2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 2 teaspoons baking powder
    • a pinch of salt
    • raspberry or strawberry jam for filling
    • heavy whipping cream for filling
    • confectioner’s sugar for the top of the cake
    • fresh berries for garnish, if desired

     

    INSTRUCTIONS

    TO MAKE THE CAKE:

     

    1. Preheat oven to 350. Line the bottoms of two 8” round pans with parchment paper. Grease and flour the pans and set aside.
      .
    2. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
      .
    3. Add about one third of the beaten eggs, and mix well at medium speed. Then add about a third of the sifted flour. Repeat this step. Add the rest of the eggs and mix well, then turn the mixer to low and add the final flour and mix until just combined.
      .
    4. Using a scale, divide the mixture evenly between the two pans and bake for about 35 minutes.
      .
    5. Once you can smell the cake and it looks done through the oven door, open the oven and carefully check with a toothpick inserted in the middle (cake falls easily, so only test when you’re confident it’s close!). When the cake is done, remove them from the oven and allow to cool completely.
      .
    6. To remove: place a cooling rack over the top of the cake and flip it over quickly. Remove the tin and the parchment paper and allow to cool completely before filling.

     

    ASSEMBLY:

     

    1. Beat the cream until it’s thick enough to fill the cake and support the next layer.
      .
    2. Using a cake slicer, place the cake layers, flat side down on the counter and slice off the top to make them even. (Save or freeze the leftover cake to trifles or cake pops!)
      .
    3. Place one layer, cut side up, on a serving plate and spread a generous amount of the jam on top.
      .
    4. Next, spread the cream over the jam. Leave about an inch between the cream and the edge, as it will squish out.  Top with the second layer, cut side down.
      .
    5. Dust with confectioner’s sugar and chill for an hour or two. Top with fresh berries, if desired.

    From the Books

    Victoria Cake is served in A Royal Tea, and this same recipe is included in the back of the book. Gemma is also enjoying a slice in A Noble Scheme, book 2 in the Imposters series. And you can bet that Mrs. Dawe served it aplenty at tea time in the Secrets of the Isles books!

    More Recipes

    Slow-Cooker Chicken Ziti

    Slow-Cooker Chicken Ziti

    Is there anything better than noodles in a hearty red sauce with ooey-gooey cheese? How about making it in a slow-cooker with chicken?

    read more
    Classic Porridge

    Classic Porridge

    Soaked or slow-cooked oat groats create a classic porridge with a satisfying bite and familiar oat flavor, a perfect base for your fixings!

    read more

    Ocracoke Fig Cake

    Ocracoke Fig Cake

    Ocracoke Fig Cake

    An island classic, traditionally using fig preserves made from locally grown fruit.

    Servings

    16

    Prep time:

    30 min

    Total Time:

    1.5 hours

    Good For:

    Dessert

    Inroduction

    About this Recipe

    Each year on Ocracoke, the village hosts a Fig Festival. During this celebration, locals and visitors alike enjoy all manner of treats made from the locally grown figs. Fig cake always features prominently, made with fig preserves, which can be found in shops all over the island. (If you can’t make it to Ocracoke to get their locally jarred preserves, try Braswell’s!)

    Eating lower sugar or sugar free? Substitute the granulated sugar with All Purpose In the Raw or another sugar alternative and enjoy the taste without the calories or the blood sugar spikes! Don’t have buttermilk? Start with a tablespoon of lemon juice and then fill the rest of the 1/2 cup with regular milk and let it sit for a minute to sour.

    Ingredients

    Instructions

    • 3 eggs
    • 1 ½ cups sugar or sugar alternative
    • 1 cup vegetable oil
    • ½ cup buttermilk
    • 2 cups flour
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 ¼ teaspoons cinnamon
    • ½ teaspoon cloves
    • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
    • 1 ½ teaspoon baking soda
    • 1 tablespoon warm water
    • 2 teaspoons vanilla
    • 2 cups fig preserves
    • 1 ½ cups chopped walnuts (optional)
    1. Prepare. Pre-heat your oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a Bundt pan, either smooth-sided or fluted.
      .
    2. Mix wet ingredients. In a medium bowl, combine eggs, sugar, and vegetable oil and mix well. Pour in buttermilk and continue to mix.
      .
    3. Mix dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, mix flour, salt, and spices. Set aside.
      .
    4. Dissolve baking soda in warm water.
      .
    5. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and stir until combined. Add in baking soda and vanilla. Finally, stir in the fig preserves and nuts.
      .
    6. Bake for approximately 1 hour, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool completely before taking out of pan.

    From the Books

    Fig cake is mentioned several times in Yesterday’s Tides. As one of the island’s most distinctive recipes, each family has their own favorite version, and Serena at the Ocracoke Inn is no exception!

    More Recipes

    Slow-Cooker Chicken Ziti

    Slow-Cooker Chicken Ziti

    Is there anything better than noodles in a hearty red sauce with ooey-gooey cheese? How about making it in a slow-cooker with chicken?

    read more
    Classic Porridge

    Classic Porridge

    Soaked or slow-cooked oat groats create a classic porridge with a satisfying bite and familiar oat flavor, a perfect base for your fixings!

    read more

    Classic Cinnamon Rolls

    Classic Cinnamon Rolls

    Classic Cinnamon Rolls

    Fill them with jam or cinnamon…smother them with icing…and dive in and enjoy!

    Servings

    12

    Prep time:

    45 min

    Total Time:

    12 hours (overnight)

    Good For:

    Breakfast, Dessert

    Inroduction

    About this Recipe

     

    Is there anything better than an ooey-gooey cinnamon roll? These sweet rolls are fully customizable. Fill them with apple, strawberry, peanut butter, or anything else your little heart desires.

    Eating lower sugar or sugar free? Substitute the granulated sugar with All Purpose In the Raw or another sugar alternative and the confectioner’s sugar with Swerve Confection and enjoy the taste without the calories or the blood sugar spikes!

    Ingredients

    For the Dough

    • 1 cup milk (whole is best; if you don’t have whole, add a tablespoon of cream to your measuring cup and then fill the rest of the way with other milk)
    • 2/3 cup granulated sugar or sugar alternative (I love All Purpose In the Raw!)
    • 2 packets or 1.5 tablespoons active dry yeast
    • 1/2 cup butter, softened and in 4 pieces
    • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 4.5 cups (558 g) all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling

    For Classic Cinnamon Filling

    • 6 tablespoons butter, softened
    • 1/2 cup granulated sugar or sugar alternative
    • 1.5 tablespoons cinnamon

    For Apple Filling

    • 6 tablespoons butter, softened
    • 1/2 cup brown sugar or sugar alternative (I like Swerve Brown)
    • 1.5 tablespoons cinnamon
    • 2 cups chopped and peeled apples (about 2 medium apples)

    For Jam Filling

    • 6 tablespoons butter, softened
    • 1/2 cup jam of choice
    • 1 cup chopped fruit of choice (optional)

    For Icing

    • 1 cup confectioner’s sugar or sugar alternative
    • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 2 tablespoons milk
    1.  Making the dough. First, warm your milk either in the microwave or on the stove until it’s warm but not hot, about 95°F or 35°C. Add to the bowl of an electric stand mixer with a dough hook. Sprinkle sugar and yeast over the milk and whisk by hand for a few seconds (if you’re using a sugar alternative, be sure to add at least a tablespoon of regular sugar to feed the yeast–don’t worry, it’ll eat it all up!). Let the yeast sit for 5-15 minutes, until it’s creamy and foamy. Beat in the softened butter on low; it will break up but not totally incorporate. Add the eggs and salt. Gradually add the flour. Once all ingredients are added, increase speed to medium and mix until it turns into a soft dough. Increase speed again to medium high and knead for 6 minutes.
      .
    2. Proof the dough. Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and knead it by hand for a minute, then form into a ball. Put into a grased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let sit for 1-2 hours, or until it has doubled in size. (If your kitchen is cool, turn the oven onto the lowest setting, then turn off as soon as it reaches temp. Slide the bowl into the oven.
      .
    3. Roll the dough. Grease a 9×12 baking dish. Turn the risen dough out onto a floured work surface and roll to a 12×18″ rectangle. Dough should be smooth and of even thickness.
      .
    4. Filling. Spread softened butter over the entire rectangle. If you’re using the classic cinnamon filling, mix your sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and then sprinkle evenly over it. If you’re using fruit, spread the fruit (and brown sugar, for the apple) over the butter.
      .
    5. Make the rolls. Working from the LONG side, roll the dough into a tight log. You want it to be 18″ long when you’re done. Cut into 12 rolls. Arrange them in your baking dish with the cut sides up. Cover and store overnight or for about 12 hours in the fridge.
      .
    6. Second Rise. In the morning, remove the rolls from the fridge and let rise in a warm spot for 1-2 hours, until they’re puffy.
      .
    7. Bake. Bake the rolls at 375°F / 190°C for 25 minutes or until the tops are golden brown. (Check them halfway through; if they’re starting to brown too much, cover them with foil.) Remove from oven and let cool for about 10 minutes.
      .
    8. Icing. While the rolls cool, mix the icing ingredients in a medium bowl with a wire whisk. Spread evenly over rolls.
      .
    9. Enjoy!

    From the Books

    Cinnamon Rolls are featured in several of my books! Mrs. Dawe was renowned for her sweet rolls in the Secrets of the Isles series (as was Polmer’s Bakery!), and the ladies of the Ocracoke Inn in Yesterday’s Tides treat their guests to them as well!

    More Recipes

    Slow-Cooker Chicken Ziti

    Slow-Cooker Chicken Ziti

    Is there anything better than noodles in a hearty red sauce with ooey-gooey cheese? How about making it in a slow-cooker with chicken?

    read more
    Classic Porridge

    Classic Porridge

    Soaked or slow-cooked oat groats create a classic porridge with a satisfying bite and familiar oat flavor, a perfect base for your fixings!

    read more