While I love vacation, there are a few allowances I have to make cooking-wise when away from my own kitchen for two weeks. All I need is my chef's knife and a pair of tongs to jumpstart savory meals —dessert is another story. There are no handheld mixers, let alone the 1000 watt stand mixer I normally use. Same goes for the food processor.
So a few weeks ago I decided to experiment with free form tarts. Besides, who wants to worry about the perfect piecrust on vacation? An old-fashioned pastry blender did the job of cutting in the butter, but truth be told, even using your fingertips to work it in was fine. Yes, I was worried too about the butter getting to soft, but a quick chill in the fridge and all was fine. There's also just enough sugar to compliment, not hide, the fruits' natural sweetness. —Jennifer Perillo
Place a rimmed baking sheet onto the center rack of the oven. Preheat oven to 400º.
To make the pastry dough, add the flour, salt and sugar to a deep bowl; whisk to combine. Scatter the butter pieces over flour mixture and use a pastry blender, two butter knives or your fingers to cut in the butter (this can alternately be done in a food processor). Sprinkle the cold water over the butter-flour mixture and stir with a fork until the dough forms a rough ball. Wrap in plastic and let rest in the refrigerator for 20 to 30 minutes.
On a lightly floured piece of parchment paper, roll the dough out into a 16-inch circle. Scatter the fruit over the dough, leaving a 4-inch border. Sprinkle the sugar over the fruit and dot with the pieces of remaining butter. Fold the dough border up and over to cover the fruit, forming a crust. Leaving the tart on the parchment paper, place it on the heated baking sheet. Bake 40 to 45 minutes, or until pastry is a deep golden and the fruit is bubbling in the center. Let cool for 10 to 15 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Jennifer Perillo is the Consulting Food Editor at Working Mother magazine, and a regular a contributor to Relish Magazine and FoodNetwork.com. She shares stories about food, family and life at her blog In Jennie's Kitchen and in her debut cookbook, Homemade with Love: Simple Scratch Cooking from In Jennie's Kitchen (Running Press 2013).