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Almost a work of art, it's an Italian fruit tart.

In the windows of pastry shops and bakeries all over Italy, you see colorful fruit tarts in many sizes, shapes, and designs. Attractive and seasonal, these Italian fruit tarts are easy to make. You can feature one or two fruits or use a colorful combination.

You lay the fruits in simple to elaborate patterns on a thin sponge cake base, then glaze them with a shiny apple jelly. While fresh fruits reflect the season's bounty, consider canned fruits or a combination of fresh and canned ones to achieve the colors or pattern you desire.

Suitable fresh fruits include blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, or strawberries; pitted cherries; sliced or halved figs or plums; halved or whole seedless or seeded grapes; and peeled and sliced kiwi fruit.

If you use fresh fruits that darken when sliced--such as apricots, peaches, and pears--dip in lemon juice or poach them before placing on the tart. For that reason, you might opt to use the canned fruit (well drained) instead. Canned mandarin orange segments and sliced pineapple also work well.

Teh sponge cake base has a chewy nut layer that you press into the pan before pouring in the batter. The special tart pan, pictured above, forms a cupped well in the center of the cake when turned out. It's available in cookware shops. If you don't have a similar pan, bake the cake in a rectangular pan. Italian Fruit Tart

3 tablespoon each finely ground hazelnuts or almonds and finely ground vanilla cooky crumbs

1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar

3 tablespoons butter or margarine

2 eggs

1 cup each granulated sugar and all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon brandy flavoring or rum flavoring

1/2 cup milk

2 tablespoon brandy or rum

3 to 4 cups prepared fruit (see suggestions preceding)

3/4 cup (10 oz.) apple jelly

Sweeetened whipped cream, optional

In a small bowl, rub together with your fingers the ground nuts, cooky crumbs, brown sugar, and 2 tablespoons of the butter.

Generously butter and dust with flour an 11- to 11-1/2-inch tart pan (with base that forms a well when pan is inverted) or a 7- by 11-inch baking pan. Sprinkle the nut mixture evenly over flat center of the tart pan (not down into rim recess) or over bottom of the rectangular pan, then press very lightly.

With an electric mixer, beat eggs until foamy. Mixing at high speed, gradually add the sugar and beat until thick. Stick in the flour and brandy flavoring. In a 1-quart or smaller pan, quickly bring milk and remaining 1 tablespoon butter just to simmering; immediately blend hot milk mixture into batter.

Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake on the lowest rack of a 350[deg.] oven until cake is golden and springs back when lightly touched in center, about 25 minutes. Let cool on rack 5 minutes. Ease edges free and invert cake onto rack to cool completely. (If nut mixture sticks to pan, scrape out and spread onto flat center of cake.) Drizzle cake with brandy or rum. Let cool. If made ahead, package airtight; store at room temperature up to 1 day.

To assemble, arrange prepared fruit, slightly overlapping, in rows or concentric circles to fill well in rimmed cake or the entire surface oaf the flat cake.

Force the apple jelly through a wire strainer. Place over medium heat, stirring, in a 1-quart or smaller pan until bubbling. Spoon jelly over fruit, completely filling in the small spaces between. Chill tart, uncovered, to set jelly, at least 30 minutes or up to 4 hours. Cut in wedges to serve, topping individual portions with whipped cream, if desired. Serves 8 to 10.
COPYRIGHT 1984 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1984 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:includes recipe
Date:Jul 1, 1984
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