I think a tart is easier to make than a pie. There is no rolling of dough or crimping of a pie shell needed. The dough for a tart is simply pressed onto the bottom and up the sides of a tart pan with a removable bottom. After a pie is made, it is served directly from the pie dish in which it was baked, giving it an amiable countrified look. Tarts, on the other hand, are removed from their baking pans and placed on a serving dish before serving. This action alone could make them more elegant than their country cousins, with their fluted sides often holding up better than the crust of a pie that was cut and lifted out of a pie dish. Tarts that are topped with seasonal glazed fruits are particularly sophisticated looking, some of which we’ve only purchased from a bakery or a fancy French pastry shop. Unfortunately, some of those pricey tarts are better looking than they are tasting, especially if they’ve been allowed to sit out in a bakery case well beyond their “best by” date. If followed carefully, the recipes here for Glazed Strawberry-Topped Pastry Cream Tart and Cream Cheese Fiori di Sicilia Tart (from our friends at King Arthur Flour), produce nothing less than spectacular results with a finished product that appears to have been fashioned by a master baker trained in Paris. So much so, in fact, that friends may resist believing you made them yourself. Should such friends be compelled to sift through your trash looking for that telltale bakery box, be kind and accept it for what it is – a compliment.
Sue Ade is a syndicated food writer with broad experience and interest in the culinary arts. She has worked and resided in the Lowcountry of South Carolina since 1985 and may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.