A Beginner’s Polish Berry Tart (Kruche ciasto z truskawkami i malinami)

If you lack the time and energy to make up a sweet pastry dough the normal way–by cutting butter into flour, etc, etc–then try out this recipe to make a quick Polish tart.  The most time consuming part is preparing the fruit (and washing the dishes afterwards!).  The mixer does all the work to make the dough.  You then spread most of the dough across the bottom of the pan.  A top crust is made by dotting the remaining dough over the mildly sweetened fruit layer.

This is a good “first recipe” to enter into the world of Polish fruit tarts (“kruche ciasto”).  The result is a tasty yet simple late spring or summer dessert perfect for afternoon tea or to serve as the finale to a picnic or barbecue.  The size is perfect for such gatherings.  Rather than a round tart pan, you use a regular 9″ x 13″ pan, so you can easily cut the tart into squares for serving.

Below is the recipe.  After the recipe are step-by-step instructions with photos.  See you after the recipe!

Print Recipe
Quick Polish Strawberry and Raspberry Fruit Tart (Kruche ciasto z truskawkami i malinami)
Course Dessert, Pastry
Cuisine Polish
Keyword Fruit, Pastry, Summer
Servings
bars
Ingredients
Prepare the fruit
  • 3 cups berries (strawberries and raspberries) [2 cups strawberries/1 cup raspberries; or half and half; or all strawberries or all raspberries]
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • lemon zest from 1/2 a lemon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons (scant) brown sugar (or 1 1/2 tablespoons white sugar)
Make the dough
  • 2 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, cut into 1 tablespoon pieces (2 sticks or 8 ounces)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • powdered sugar for dusting
Course Dessert, Pastry
Cuisine Polish
Keyword Fruit, Pastry, Summer
Servings
bars
Ingredients
Prepare the fruit
  • 3 cups berries (strawberries and raspberries) [2 cups strawberries/1 cup raspberries; or half and half; or all strawberries or all raspberries]
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • lemon zest from 1/2 a lemon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons (scant) brown sugar (or 1 1/2 tablespoons white sugar)
Make the dough
  • 2 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, cut into 1 tablespoon pieces (2 sticks or 8 ounces)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • powdered sugar for dusting
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Grease 9 inch x 13 inch x 2 inch pan. Set aside.
  2. Wash raspberries and spread in one layer on 2 paper towels to dry. Wash and hull strawberries; pat dry with paper towels. Cut strawberries in half and again in half if too large. Toss strawberries with cinnamon, vanilla, lemon zest, and sugar. Set aside. [If using 100% raspberries, do not toss berries with sugar mixture. Instead, combine cinnamon, vanilla, lemon zest and sugar separately from berries and set aside sugar mixture until Step 4.]
  3. Make the dough: Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar in medium bowl. In the bowl of an electric mixer, add butter, egg, egg yolk, vanilla extract, and flour mixture. [You may want to add flour in two additions so that it does not fly out of the bowl.] Mix on low speed for about 30 seconds, or just until ingredients have been fully incorporated. Spread about 3/4 of dough across bottom of prepared pan. Set aside reserved dough.
  4. Arrange strawberries (without juices) across bottom crust. Discard juices. Arrange raspberries in between strawberries. [If using 100% raspberries, sprinkle sugar mixture evenly over berries.] Dollop remaining dough over top berries.
  5. Bake in preheated oven until golden brown across the top, about 30 minutes. Cool to room temperature. Dust with powdered sugar. Tart may be refrigerated until serving. When ready to serve, cut into bars, re-dust with powdered sugar if necessary, and serve.
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STEP-BY-STEP INSTRUCTIONS

First, turn on your oven and preheat it to 400°F.  Lightly grease (with butter) a regular 9  x 13  x  2” pan and keep it close by.

Prepare the berries by washing and letting them dry on paper towels.  I used 2 cups strawberries and 1 cup raspberries in the photo below.  If you are partial to raspberries, you need to use more!  I suggest using half strawberries and half raspberries (1 1/2 cups each).  [Be careful when washing and drying the raspberries since they are so delicate.]

Hull the strawberries and quarter them.

Toss the strawberries with 3/4 teaspoon (to 1 teaspoon) ground cinnamon, zest from half a lemon, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, and 2 tablespoons brown sugar (or 1 1/2 tablespoons white sugar).  I did not include the raspberries in this step because they would get crushed.

Turn to the dough.  Mix or whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, add one cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter cut into 1 tablespoon slices, 1 large egg, 1 large egg yolk, one teaspoon vanilla extract, and flour mixture.

On low speed using the paddle attachment, mix together the ingredients until fully combined, about 30 seconds.  [Be careful when turning on the mixer so that the flour doesn’t come flying out!  You may want to add the flour in two additions.]

The dough below looks rather wet and sticky, but that’s OK.

Transfer about 3/4 of the dough into the greased pan.

Leave the remaining dough in the bowl.  This will be used to make the top crust.

Using a spatula as well as your hand, spread the dough to cover the entire bottom of the pan.  [There is no side crust, so don’t press the dough up the sides of the pan.]

Arrange the strawberries over top of the bottom crust.  Do not include the juices that accumulated in the bowl.

Discard the juices or use for something else. (Perhaps use it to flavor ice water!)

Arrange the raspberries in between the strawberries.

If you want to use 100% raspberries for this recipe, then I suggest you arrange all of the fresh, unsweetened raspberries over top of the crust.  Mix the sugar, lemon zest, and vanilla extract in a separate bowl, and then sprinkle the sugar mixture over top of the raspberries.

Dollop the reserved (sticky) dough over the berries.

Bake in preheated oven for about 30 minutes, or until the top crust is golden brown.

Remove the pan from the oven and let the tart cool on a wire rack.

When cooled to room temperature, sprinkle with powdered sugar.

You can refrigerate until serving.  It’s usually easier to cut into bars that way.  When you are ready to serve, you may want to refresh the powdered sugar and dust some more on top.

Below is a serving size, though one square is rarely enough.

This is a classic Polish treat for the summer months.  Hope you give it a try!

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