Spring Cleaning (and a fruit tart)


Disclosure: Melissa’s Produce provided me with a box of produce as part of the San Diego Food Blogger Challenge but was not compensated for my review. As always, all opinions are mine.

I really thought I’d have more free time this year. Then we got into a pretty major remodel (we’re adding a second story master bedroom and bath, which required half of our existing first floor to get rebuilt/reinforced), my job sucked up a lot of time, and I think I just lost all motivation and energy for anything. Then I changed jobs (or, rather, companies since I’m still doing roughly the same thing) and almost immediately felt happier. Not lying, that one change improved my attitude immensely. But we were still dragging through the remodel, crammed into the front room of our house with 3 dogs and 2 cats.

This weekend, we hit a major milestone with the remodel – the first floor of the house was finished to a point where we could start moving furniture out of the front room and into the rest of the house. In just a single day, we expanded our living space 4-fold and got settled into our new family room (pictures to come, I swear, unless you follow me on Instagram where I’ve been periodically posting photos as we go.) All of a sudden, I just wanted to get into the kitchen and bake. Instead of just going to the kitchen to eat.

The other motivator for getting into the kitchen was to put together a post for the San Diego Food Blogger Challenge that Barbara Cooks put together with Melissa’s Produce. One week I went out of town for work and when I came home there was a box full of delicious smelling peaches and nectarines, a fresh coconut, a melon, rhubarb and fava beans. My first thought was a fruit tart, but then I felt like I should do something a little different. I thought about doing a roast chicken with peaches, then found this stew thinking I could sub in fava beans. Then the week got away from me, the weekends got sucked up by house-thing shopping trips, and the posting deadline was in front of me. I guess I really do work best last-minute.

In the end, I made a fruit tart. I took the fresh coconut meat and steeped it in cream and milk to make the custard. Custard went into a pie crust, slices of the beautiful peaches and nectarines went on top, and then I had to gild the lily with a framboise lambic reduction and malted caramel sauce from a dessert I made the week before. It may not unexpected or exceptionally creative, but it’s simple and delicious and because I made it in the morning and had extra scraps and filling, it meant we got to enjoy tiny pies for breakfast dessert.


naked fruit

Even without the lambic brushing and caramel drizzle, it’s a good tart. I only used it because I had extra in the fridge and it made for a better photo.


Thank you, Barbara, for giving me a reason to get off my blogging butt and get back into the kitchen. I hope it doesn’t take me another 4 months to come back to blogging. But, if it ever looks like I’ve disappeared, I’m probably just twittering or instagram-ing, so come say hi!

Coconut Cream Fruit Tart

1 single pie crust

1/2 c. milk
1/4 c. cream
1/2 c. grated fresh coconut
3 egg yolks
3/4 c. sugar
1 Tb. cornstarch
1 Tb. butter
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

4 small peaches, nectarines, or other stone fruit, sliced

1. Preheat oven to 375.

2. Roll out your pie crust (I keep Trader Joe’s pie crust in the freezer) and press into a tart pan. Line with parchment paper and weight down with rice or beans. Bake the crust for 20 minutes, then remove the parchment paper and weights and bake another 10 minutes until golden brown. Cool.

3. In a small pot, heat the milk and cream with the grated coconut until small bubbles form on the surface, then remove from heat and let sit for about 30 minutes. As an alternative, you could just use 3/4 c. coconut milk (full-fat, please).

4. To make the custard: Mix the egg yolks, sugar, and cornstarch until pale yellow and ribbony. Mix in the coconut-milk mixture and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thick (7-10 minutes). Remove from heat and stir in the butter and vanilla.

6. Pour the custard into the prepared crust. Layer the sliced fruit over the custard. I recommend chilling the tart for a couple of hours before serving to let the custard firm up.

This linkup button will take you to a page to see all of the other San Diego Food Bloggers who took on the Melissa’s Produce Challenge! (I hope the button works…)


12 responses to “Spring Cleaning (and a fruit tart)

  1. The fruit has some gorgeous color on it – it makes the tart look so pretty! I wish I had a long rectangle pan like this one, the only tart pans I have are little individual ones (which are cute, but a pain to make multiple individual tarts). Hoping I can jump in for future challenges since I missed this one. I also really liked your little pies, I saw it on Instagram, so freaking cute.

    • Mary – I bought this rectangular pan specifically to make this tart! Hooray for 2-day Amazon.com shipping. The peaches themselves had this pink streaking in the fruit, which I thought was really pretty. It helped that the fruits were deliciously sweet, too. The hardest part was keeping T from eating all the fruit before I had a chance to use it!

      The pies turned out so well, too. Except, I put my pie on the table and took a couple of bites, then because I got distracted with writing the blog post, T ended up eating most of it! This was the first time I participated in the challenge, but it was good because it forced me to make something AND post about it!

  2. What an undertaking your remodel sounds like!! But it will all be worth it in the end. I can only imagine how wonderful it felt to move back into the finished areas!!
    and yes… I’m totally envious of your rectangular pan as well!! I think I know a certain teenaged boy who could devour this tart in one sitting!

    • Thanks, Kim!

      I think this rectangular tart pan will be getting more use than my pie tins and cake pans – it’s so easy to use and easy to slice up, In fact, I had to cut the end off to fit it into a container, so SADLY I also had to eat the end piece.

  3. This looks delightful! It’s amazing what a change of scenery can do for one’s mental health. Congrats on the new job and extra space – can’t wait to see the finished project!

    • They say engineers hate change, but most changes end up pretty well for me! I’m hoping we have just one more week until we get full run of the house. Then we get to spend more money on new furniture, ha! Hopefully I’m able to get pictures up in a timely manner.

  4. mmm, coconut cream! I love all the remodel pics you’ve been posting. can’t wait to see more!

    • Thanks, Kirbie! T has been good about taking photos before and during construction, so I’m hoping to do a good before & after kind of thing. I’ll also be open to lots of advice on things to put on the walls and floors – right now all the rooms are big echo chambers, especially with the tile floors we installed.

      On Wed, May 28, 2014 at 11:01 AM, Three Dog Kitchen wrote:


  5. So glad you made this, it looks phenomenal! The color on the nectarines and peaches is just beautiful. Keep up with the blogging; I want to see more!

    • Thanks for putting this all together for us, Barbara! I’m glad I got to participate.

      Those peaches and nectarines practically decorated themselves!

      On Wed, May 28, 2014 at 12:26 PM, Three Dog Kitchen wrote:


  6. Yea, glad the challenge got you off your lazy butt hehe! I would have liked to do it too but I’m really not that great at creating my own recipes. I’d rather try out other people’s who know what they are doing 😉

  7. Leanne, this tart is so beautiful! And the flavors sound so delicious. And I love your tart pan. I want a rectangular pan!

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