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Okay.

That’s not a true story. For starters I don’t have a dog and secondly, there was no skate to be eaten.

And by skate I’m referring to the fish and not the footwear.

Don’t be afraid. I have not gone crazy.

I speak of the July 2009 Daring Cooks’ challenge that you may have noticed is missing from this blog.

For the first time in “Daring” history, I’ve missed a challenge. My apologies to Sketchy, our host for the month, but this just wasn’t meant to be. I was intrigued by his challenge, which would have had me dipping my kitchen utensils into the untried waters of molecular gastronomy (untried in our household).

There were, however, some brave souls who did give it a try and you can check them out here.

I feel really badly about this. So badly that I felt I had to give you something so instead, I give you this Fresh Fruit Tart that is also dedicated to my good friend Nazca.

Many of you will remember Nazca (Mr. Nazca as I like to call him) from his blog.

Funny guy.

But he stopped blogging and this has made women everywhere very disappointed.

Silly guy.

But Mr. Nazca did something very sweet about a month ago and I promised to thank him very publically.

After an offhand remark about cheesecake crusts and cookies (like who doesn’t talk about that all the time?), Mr. Nazca mentioned HobNob cookies to me and I immediately asked, “What’s that?”

Well as fast as you could say “call me British” a package arrived on my doorstep filled with crumpled bits of English newspaper and four (count ‘em four) supersized packs of HobNob cookies.

My first reaction was to fly to England and thank Mr. Nazca in person but then I thought that such precipitice action could a) result in stalking charges and b) be slightly too expensive.

My second reaction was to squeal and clap my hands and rip the packages open and start eating.

My third reaction was to take a picture. Strangely, the urge to eat the cookies beat out that third reaction and by the time I convinced myself to take the pictures, the cookies were all gone.

All gone, Mr. Nazca!

I am nothing if not selfish when it comes to cookies. Whle I did spare a few for Mamma Cream Puff, the vast majority were savoured by me.

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So last weekend I was in the kitchen, glorying in the abundance of fresh berries and looking for a dessert to bake when I remembered this beautiful tart that I used to bake all the time. For some reason I haven’t really made it the last few summers, but it popped into my mind and I had the overwhelming urge to try it again.

This is a very basic fruit tart. It has three components: a butter crust, a vanilla custard, a berry topping. You can make the tart and custard in advance and then assemble the tart quickly before serving.

I have yet to meet anyone that doesn’t like it.

Mr. Nazca, I wish I could have sent it to you, but I don’t think it would have survived the flight. I took it to a friend’s house (she’s a new mommy) where we each enjoyed a generous serving.

But rest assured, Mr. Nazca, that I was thinking of HobNobs while I was eating it!

Ciao!

My Fresh Fruit Tart is based on the Classic Fresh Fruit Tart with Pastry Cream from the Cook’s Illustrated site. It was featured in the … issue of the magazine. It is one of my most treasured recipes. Unfortunately, as I have never adapted the recipe in any way, I don’t feel comfortable reproducing it here since I don’t have permission. You can find the recipe on the Cook’s Illustrated site but you have to pay for it.

There are, however, some other recipes for fresh fruit tarts that are very similar. Here are a few that you could try:

Fresh Fruit Tart from Food & Wine.
Tarte aux Fruits from Pretty Tasty Cakes.
Fruit Tart from Joy of Baking.com.