“In the summertime the last place most people want to be is in the kitchen. There’s so much going on and the weather’s so beautiful, you really want to be outside” says Julie Geary of Classic Cooks Catering, based in Gloucester.
This week she shows us how to make another of her quick and easy desserts so you can spend more time in the sunshine entertaining. With a few of her neat tricks, your guests will be none the wiser.
Geary takes some mini graham cracker crusts and fills them with vanilla pudding, both of which she has bought from the store. She then uses some good quality store-bought raspberry and blueberry fillings and swirls them into the vanilla pudding to cover her tracks. “It kind of zips it up, so people aren’t like ‘Oh, it’s just vanilla pudding.’” She does raspberry in some and blueberry in others for a bit of variety. To decorate the tarts she uses some mixed summer berries as a topping — strawberries, blackberries and blueberries.
“This is such a pretty dessert and it’s so great to take advantage of summer berries because summer berries are just wonderful” she says. She washes the berries just before using them, slicing the strawberries and leaving the others whole. “Now this can be served just as it is —they look great — or you can add a little whipped cream” she says. That’s it. The preparation is done in less than 10 minutes.
“What a perfect summer dessert” says Geary, “and you could actually make this probably about an hour before your guests get here. It’s very simple, very easy to do, just slide it in the refrigerator.” In the video, Julie makes two blueberry and two raspberry tarts, one with whipped cream and one without. You can go with whatever takes your fancy. “If you wanted to take it and just make a raspberry tart it would be a beautiful raspberry tart just by using the raspberry filling, the vanilla pudding and just putting raspberries on top” suggests Geary. She is “a raspberry girl” so she chooses to try a raspberry one with whipped cream.
“Oh, what a beautiful tart” she says when she tastes it. “You’re going to fool them all with this dessert; they’re never going to know that you didn’t spend hours in the kitchen making this.”
Fresh Fruit Tart
6 mini tart shells (graham cracker or pie dough)
4-pack of vanilla or other flavored pudding snack packs
1 can of high quality pie filling, blueberry, strawberry, raspberry, lemon
Fresh berry assortment (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, etc.)
Whipped cream (if desired)
1. Take the mini tart shells and fill with pudding. Add a tablespoon of pie filling and swirl around with a butter knife to blend with the pudding.
2. Slice strawberries on the longer side to make thin slices and place standing up on the edge around one half of the shell.
3. Top the pudding in the shell with the other fresh fruit like raspberries and blueberries. If desired, top with whipped cream before serving.
These should be refrigerated before serving and can be made a day ahead of use.
Recipe courtesy of Julie Geary, Classic Cooks Catering, 2012