Mastering my Rough Puff Pastry will allow you to make a slew of desserts with show-stopping potential while actually being surprisingly easy - like this freeform tart. An ultra flaky puff pastry crust is the ideal base for fresh fruit. Sturdy enough to form a freeform tart and handle some natural juiciness, all while baking up tender and perfectly crisp. The arrangement of fruit may feel fussy at first, but yields an incredibly impressive end result. Adapted from my forthcoming book, The Book on Pie (Rux Martin/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2020). —Erin McDowell
1 (12x12-inch) tart
recipe Rough Puff Pastry (see Author Notes for link)
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the puff pastry into a rough rectangle shape about 1/4-inch (3-mm) thick. You want it to be about 14x14 inches. Dock the rectangle all over with a fork. Trim the ends to straighten the edges, discarding the excess dough.
Use a pastry wheel to cut 1-inch (2 1/2 cm) strips from all four sides, starting with the two longer sides. Use a rolling pin to transfer the rectangle to a parchment lined baking sheet.
Egg wash the edges of the rectangle and gently lay the strips on top to form a sort of retaining wall all around the edges Use a pastry wheel to trim away the excess on the ends—dock the edges of the dough again.
Transfer to the refrigerator to chill while you prepare the filling. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
In a medium bowl, toss the fruit, honey, lemon juice, and vanilla to combine. In a small bowl, whisk the sugar, cornstarch, and salt together to combine. Add the sugar mixture to the fruit and toss to combine.
Arrange the fruit in an even layer on the dough—I like to alternate raspberries and blackberries to make a checkerboard effect. Egg wash the edges of the dough and sprinkle generously with turbinado sugar.
Transfer to the oven and bake until the pastry is deeply golden brown and the fruit is tender and juicy, 40 to 45 minutes. Cool at least 15 minutes before slicing and serving.
I always carry three kinds of hot sauce in my purse. I have a soft spot for making people their favorite dessert, especially if it's pie. My first cookbook, The Fearless Baker, is out on October 24, 2017.