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Dorothy Dean presents: Colorful tart brings Easter fun to the table

By Audrey Alfaro For The Spokesman-Review

I’ve been one busy bunny gathering delightful treats and goodies to load in my daughter’s basket. (Now that I’ve said that, I’m realizing I better keep this intro hidden from her, as she still believes a giant white rabbit sporting a vest and bow tie – and crow bar – quietly breaks into our house to deliver her Easter morning surprise.)

Ah, the holidays bring such whimsical – and sometimes disturbing – visions to life. It’s quite enchanting, really. And no reason for it to stop at the dining room table.

This festive showstopper of a dessert will continue the cheer and make your Easter spread one to remember.

Shaped like an egg, this colorful tart starts with a cookie-like crust that’s slathered with a luscious pudding mixture and decorated with fresh fruit.

Since two of the three components can be made ahead, it’s perfect for entertaining.

Using the classic French pastry dough, pâte sablée, the crust is sweet, rich and buttery. The dough can be kept refrigerated for up to three days, or can be baked a day or two before serving.

The tender-crisp crust complements the creamy topping that can also be made up to three days in advance. It’s a blend of vanilla pudding, cream cheese and whipped topping. Light and silky, you’ll want to eat it by the spoonful.

When it comes to picking your fruit, anything goes. Though a variety of colors and textures will make for a more visually stunning tart.

Now Sunday’s coming quick, so better hop to it!

Easter Tart

Crust adapted from thekitchn.com

Crust:

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

2/3 cup powdered sugar

2 large egg yolks

1 teaspoon salt

2 1/2 cups flour

1 tablespoon milk, if needed

Topping:

1 (3.4 ounce) box instant vanilla pudding mix

1 cup milk

4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

1 cup whipped topping

Fresh strawberries, blueberries, kiwis, raspberries, oranges and grapes, or any assortment of fruit of your choice.

To make the crust, add the butter and sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer and beat until smooth and creamy. Beat in the egg yolks and salt until fully combined. Turn mixer to low, add the flour, and while scraping down sides of bowl, beat until just combined. Mixture should be crumbly. If it appears too dry or isn’t holding together at all, lightly mix in up to 1 tablespoon of milk.

Turn the dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap and using your hands, press into a flat oval disk. Wrap and chill dough for 1 hour.

Remove from refrigerator and let sit until pliable, about 15 minutes.

Roll the dough out into a oval between two sheets of parchment paper. Remove top sheet (setting aside to use again) and use a small knife to trim dough into an egg shape. Slide dough and parchment paper onto a baking sheet, replace parchment paper back on top and place in refrigerator to chill for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 F.

Lay another large baking sheet on top of the parchment covered egg shaped crust and bake for 25 minutes. Remove top baking sheet and parchment paper and continue to bake for 5-10 minutes more, until center of the crust is light golden and set.

Let cool for 15 minutes on baking sheet before carefully transferring to rack to fully cool. (If it cracks it’s OK, as the topping will cover it and hold it together.) While crust is cooling, make the topping. Add the pudding mix and milk into a large bowl and beat until smooth and thickened. Beat in cream cheese until combined and then fold in whipped topping.

To assemble, place cooled crust on serving platter and spread an even, thick layer of pudding mixture onto the crust (not all the pudding is needed and extra can be used for fruit dip). Slice and arrange the fresh fruit in a decorative pattern over the pudding. Chill until serving.

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