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!
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!