Ain't no party like a tart party. You can make this recipe very easy on yourself and let all of your friends & family have fun making tarts, or you can impress everyone with your tart-acular skills. I see three basic levels of effort here:
1) Little effort: Shape and bake store-bought, refrigerated sugar cookie dough for the tart shells, prep caramel cream filling, wash and cut fruit, sit back and watch everyone else make tarts.
2) Moderate effort: Make tart crust from scratch, prep caramel cream filling and optional fruit glaze, wash and cut fruit, sit back and watch everyone else make tarts.
3) Full effort: Make tart crust from scratch, prep caramel cream filling and fruit glaze, wash and cut fruit, artfully assemble tarts, sit back and watch everyone else eat tarts and praise all of your hard work.
Up to you. But if it were me, I'd host a party like this: "Hey you, please assemble your own pizza for the grill, assemble your own tart for dessert, grab a glass of wine or a beer and let's all put our feet up and enjoy one another's company, shall we then?"
These are delicious, beautiful and a great way to use all of the juicy fruits at their glorious peaks right now. Blackberries, blueberries, peaches, plums, melons, raspberries, all of it. Hop to it, maybe even this weekend! Click here to order caramel and have fun, friend. See, if you want to take the easy route, no one has to know that you used refrigerated, store-bought sugar cookie dough. It's a smart move. More time for summer lazin'. Making the caramel cream layer isn't difficult. It's so easy; one word: Microwave. You can make your tarts without the glaze, which is optional but does keep the fruit looking fresh, particularly if you use fruits that darken quickly such as bananas. Here, a progression. Or make glaze. Just a couple more, these tarts are too pretty not to show off. But they are NOT too pretty to eat. Eat 'em. One more glazed for your viewing pleasure.
Summer Fruit & Caramel Cream Tarts
Makes 12-14 individual 4 ½” tarts or one large.
For the crust:
1 roll refrigerated sugar cookie dough OR
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract or 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
For the caramel cream layer:
1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, room temperature
4 ounces Annie B’s baking caramel (1/4 block)
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the fruit glaze:
1 tablespoon orange juice concentrate
1 cup water
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
Assorted fresh fruit, cut into pieces 2 1/2 cups
- If making cookie dough from scratch, mix flour, soda, salt and cream of tartar.
- Cream butter until fluffy. Add sugar and mix well.
- Add eggs. Beat just until fluffy and mixed well.
- Add flour mixture and beat on low speed until combined.
- For individual tarts: Press scant 1/4 cup of dough on bottom and up sides of 4 1/2" tart pans with removable bottoms. Another option is to press cookie dough on large tart or pizza pan into a circle.
- Put shaped dough into refrigerator for 15-20 minutes. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Bake dough for 8-10 minutes until just starting to turn golden brown. Cool completely.
Caramel Cream Layer:
- Microwave the caramel in 10 second increments just until it is soft enough to whip with beaters.
- In medium bowl, whip the cream cheese. Add caramel and beat until combined. Tip: It is extremely important that the cream cheese is at room temperature – if it is cool at all, it will harden the caramel.
- Slowly add cream while mixing. Add vanilla extract. Beat at high speed until mixed and fluffy. Set aside.
For the Fruit Glaze:
- Combine orange juice concentrate, water, sugar, and cornstarch in a small saucepan.
- Cook over low heat until thickened and clear.
- Remove from heat and cool completely.
Assemble the tarts:
- Gently remove crust from the tart pans.
- Drop a generous spoonful of the caramel cream layer and spread evenly over the crust.
- Arrange cut fruit on the caramel cream layer.
- Drizzle the fruit glaze over the top. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve.
Tips: The fruit glaze is optional, but does serve the purpose of keeping the fruit looking fresh, particularly if using fruits that darken quickly such as bananas.