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Recipe: Fresh Fruit Tart

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Ingredients for tart shell:

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup brown rice syrup or honey

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1/4 cup apple juice

1/4 cup canola oil

Dash of salt

Ingredients for pastry cream filling:

4 large eggs

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup cornstarch

2 cups nonfat milk

1 vanilla bean

4 cups fresh seasonal fruit, such as sliced peaches or nectarines, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, sliced kiwi and bananas

Preparation:

Step 1. To make the tart shell, preheat the oven to 375°F.

Step 2.In a food processor, combine the flour and salt. Pulse the machine on and off once or twice to blend.

Step 3.Add the syrup, apple juice, and oil and process, pulsing the machine on and off, just until the dough forms a cohesive mass.

Step 4.Press the dough evenly into a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. (Alternatively, the dough can be divided equally between four 4-inch tart pans.) Weight the crust with pie weights or prick it to prevent puffing.

Step 5.Bake until the crust is lightly browned and cooked through, 25 to 30 minutes (or 15 to 20 minutes for individual tarts). Cool the crust in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes; then carefully remove the edge of the tart pan and let the crust cool completely.

Step 6.To make the filling: In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, and cornstarch until well blended.

Step 7.Pour the milk into a medium saucepan. Use a small sharp knife to cut the vanilla bean in half lengthwise. Use the tip of the knife to scrape the vanilla bean seeds into the milk; then add the halved vanilla bean for extra flavor.

Step 8.Cook over medium heat just until bubbles appear around the edge of the pan. Remove the vanilla bean pods. Whisk about . cup of the hot milk into the egg mixture, then whisk in the remaining milk to blend well.

Step 9.Return the mixture to the saucepan and cook over medium heat, whisking frequently, until thick—similar to the consistency of cold pudding. Pour the custard into a shallow pan or dish, let cool completely, then spread it evenly in the cooled tart shell(s).

Step 10.Arrange fruit decoratively on top. Serve at once, or cover and refrigerate for up to 6 hours. (If making in advance, avoid using fruit that discolors quickly, such as bananas and apples.)

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