Peach? Apple? Pear? Why not try all three options for this Easy Puff Pastry Tart that comes together in no time. Perfect for holiday dinners, weekend guests, or last minute cravings.
This recipe for Easy Puff Pastry Tart is so simple to put together, it’s a beautiful presentation, and is my new favorite dessert to make. I started testing this recipe at the end of summer when peaches were plentiful but as is always the case with peaches, their season is so short that they’re here at about the same time as they’re on their way out. So to be able to share this new beauty with you, I needed to test it for all seasons.
Easy Puff Pastry Tart is as the name suggests- Easy! So testing different fruits, making the tart many times over, and getting feedback, was not a chore. In fact, it made me fall more in love with this simple, impressive, delicious treat.
Ingredients for an easy puff pastry tart-
Fresh fruit (or sometimes, frozen fruit)- Peaches work beautifully in this tart. Fresh is best, but frozen works in a pinch. Apples are delicious, and pears became our favorite because they soften to a lovely, almost creamy, texture.
Nutmeg or cinnamon- Freshly grated nutmeg is fabulous and gives just enough brightness to the tart. I’ve used cinnamon with the apple tart and loved it, but nutmeg still wins.
Store-bought puff pastry- Use whatever brand you can get your hands on. My tasters and family have loved the tarts using Pepperidge Farm. Trader Joe’s is the other option I’ve tried. It’s a little thicker than Pepperidge so I did roll it out a bit more. It’s also smaller so, again, requires more rolling so it can be cut to a 10- inch circle. I expected Trader Joe’s to be preferred over Pepperidge Farm because Trader Joe’s uses butter and Pepperidge Farm uses shortening. But we didn’t notice much difference in flavor. Both were delicious.
Cake crumbs- The cake crumbs used in this recipe do two things for the tart. First, they absorb some of the juices that the fruit and sugar produce, preventing the bottom crust from being soggy. Second, they add a delicious texture to the tart and added flavor that you’ll appreciate. (If you don’t have cake crumbs, you can substitute one slice of white or wheat bread, with 1 teaspoon sugar and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract added to the bread. Not preferred, but an acceptable substitute.)
Cake crumbs as an ingredient in a baking recipe might be new to you and, a) may seem like something you can skip, and b) is probably not something you keep on hand. But I highly recommend that you purchase a dense vanilla or lemon loaf cake at your local grocer and keep it in your freezer. The loaf cake I purchased was pre sliced, so I can take out a slice at a time, defrost on the counter for just a few minutes, and then pulse to crumbs in a mini food processor.
Egg wash- An egg is mixed with an equal amount of milk and dash of salt for the egg wash. This serves as the “glue” that holds the tart crust together when you fold it over the fruit. Also, brushing the egg wash on the outside of the crust gives it a nice shine and as well as helping the coarse sugar adhere for added flavor.
Almonds, pecans, or walnuts- Nuts are optional for this recipe but if you’re into them, any favorite can be used but sliced almonds are the best, in my tasters’ opinions. The thinly sliced almonds add a delicate crunch and added flavor.
Coarse sugar- Coarse sugar can also be known as decorating sugar, Turbinado sugar, or raw sugar. Basically, any coarse, larger grit sugar. If you don’t have any of these, regular granulated sugar will do in a pinch.
How do you make an easy puff pastry tart?
Place the sliced fruit, in this case- peaches, in a bowl with granulated sugar and freshly grated nutmeg. Stir and set aside.
Process a 1- inch thick slice of loaf cake (see above ingredient paragraph for reasons to use cake crumbs in the recipe) until uniform crumbs are created. Reserve 1 1/2 ounces, or about 1/2 cup, of the crumbs.
Roll out the puff pastry just enough so that you can cut a 10- inch circle out of the pastry. Place the pastry circle on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush a 1- inch border of the egg wash on the outside of the circle.
Add your cake crumbs to the center of the pastry and spread out to within 2- inches of the edge. Pile the peaches (or other fruit) on top of the cake crumbs. You’ll have some liquid left in the bottom of the bowl from the fruit. Save this, you’ll need it after the tart has baked. Sprinkle the nuts, if using, over the entire top of the fruit.
Fold up the edges of the puff pastry over the fruit, folding pleats along the way, as shown. Brush more of the egg wash over the outside of the crust and sprinkle coarse sugar and more nuts over the crust.
The first ten minutes of baking will be at a high temperature of 400F degrees, then the temperature is reduced to 300F degrees until the outer crust is golden brown. That’s it! Then after a few minutes of cooling, cut this baby into four generous slices and serve with either ice cream, whipped cream, or the best option of all- heavy cream drizzled on the side to scoop up with every bite.
Whether it’s peaches in late summer…
Apples in the fall…
Or pears in winter… this recipe is bound to be a go-to favorite for so many reasons. And really, any of these fruits can be used any time of year. Frozen peaches any day, any time; apples forever; pears that aren’t even ripe. Try one or all for your next get together, holiday dessert, or just during the week when you’ve had a stressful day and everyone could use a cozy treat.
Other fruit or pastry recipes I think you’ll like are; Kuchen– this German cake with peaches feeds a larger crowd; Berry Galette– similar to the puff pastry tart in looks and how it’s assembled except you make an easy and flavorful pie dough; Ginger Pear Upside Down Cake– a light and fresh flavored, one-layer cake with a hint of lime and ginger that is a sure hit with everyone.
Easy Puff Pastry tart
- 1 sheet Puff pastry sheet defrosted on counter for 40 minutes or overnight in refrigerator
- 1 lb peaches *see notes for making using pears or apples fresh or frozen, peeled, pitted, and cut into 1/4-inch slices
- ¼ tsp nutmeg freshly ground, if available
- ¼ cup granulated sugar (2 oz)
- 1 large egg for the egg wash
- 2 tbsp milk or water for the egg wash
- 1 dash salt for the egg wash
- ½ cup Cake crumbs, 1 ½ oz. by weight, fresh or frozen and thawed (see notes for substitution and explanation)
- ¼ cup Almonds, sliced (optional)
- 2 tbsp Coarse sugar for dusting the crust
Prep the fruit for the tart
- Toss the 1 lb. of sliced peaches in a bowl with the ¼ teaspoon of nutmeg and ¼ cup granulated sugar. Set aside. Preheat oven to 400F° and place the oven rack at one place below center.
Prep the puff pastry for the tart
- Carefully unfold and place the puff pastry sheet on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Using a rolling pin (if you have a mini one, or pasta roller, those both work great), lightly roll the pastry sheet just a little larger (about 1-inch either way) so that you can cut out a 10-inch circle from the dough. You can also roll out the dough before placing on the parchment lined baking sheet and then carefully place the dough on the sheet. This works better if you don't have a mini rolling pin.
- Cut out the 10-inch circle from the dough, using a template or find a 10-inch plate if you have one and trace it.
Assemble the tart
- In a small bowl, mix the one egg with 2 tablespoons milk or water and add a dash of salt. Mix together with a fork until mixed well.
- Using a pastry brush, brush the outside 1-inch perimeter of the puff pastry circle lightly with egg wash. Sprinkle the 1.5- ounce cake crumbs on top of the pastry, leaving a 2-inch border. Mound the peach mixture on top of the cake crumbs, leaving behind excess juice. Save this for after the tart is baked. Sprinkle all but about 1 tablespoon of the almonds on top of the fruit, if using.
- Fold the edges of the puff pastry over the fruit, pleating the dough as necessary, about every 2" or so. Brush the pleated edge of the pastry lightly with egg wash and sprinkle with the coarse sugar all around. Sprinkle or place the remaining almond slices on the outside of the pastry for a nice look.
Bake the tart (Two temperatures used - Take note to avoid burning)
- Bake the rack at the preheated 400F° oven for only 10 minutes. Then reduce the heat to 350F° (do not open the oven door) and bake for an additional 20-25 minutes or until the outer crust turns a nice golden brown. If the crust seems to be browning too quickly, place a square of aluminum foil over the tart for the remaining baking time.
- Place the baking sheet with the tart on a cooling rack. Now drizzle the leftover juice from the fruit/sugar mixture over the fruit. The puff pastry edge will stand up a little now, leaving a bit of a gap between the fruit and the crust now. If you like, after drizzling the remaining juice over the fruit, gently push the center of the fruit out to fill that gap. Not necessary, but looks a little better.
- Serve warm or cold. The tart is delicious with a dollop of whipped cream, or a scoop of vanilla ice cream. The favorite way for us to serve is to place a warm piece of tart on plate and then pour about 2 tablespoons, or how much you desire, of heavy cream NEXT to the tart, not on it. Then as you eat the tart, scoop your bite into a bit of the cream. This is heaven.
- If you have any leftover tart or want to bake ahead of time and reheat for later, I would only make about 4 hours ahead of time, then reheat in the microwave 20 seconds at a time, or a 400F° oven for 5 minutes. The tart can stay at room temperature before reheating for this amount of time. Any longer than this, and you risk the bottom crust becoming a little saturated with the juices from the fruit.
- Cake crumbs are used to absorb some of the liquid created by the fruit and sugar but also gives a nice texture to the tart. I buy a loaf cake from my local grocery store's bakery department, pre-sliced (vanilla or lemon), and keep it in my freezer to use as needed. If you don't have cake crumbs, use a slice of white or wheat bread, with the crust trimmed off; process in chopper or food processor until crumbled well and then add 1 teaspoon granulated sugar and 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract or lemon zest and pulse a couple more times to combine. I would then measure 1/2 cup of it and use that for the cake crumbs.
- Using different types of fruit:
Pears- If using pears for the tart, peel and slice slightly unripe pears for the recipe. They'll soften as the tart bakes. Use nutmeg and sliced almonds as in the peach option.
Apples- Use a nice baking apple depending on the tartness you like. Fuji and Gala are both delicious in the recipe. If your apples are super crisp, after you toss with the sugar, etc., place in the microwave and heat for 15 seconds. This helps to get the apples soft enough when baking. Use nutmeg or cinnamon or a combination. Almonds or chopped pecans work well for the apple option.