Rustic Fruit Tart On The Gas Grill (from brioche dough!)

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Zoe and I taught a class at Cooks of Crocus Hill last week, and we did summertime flatbreads, mostly done outside on the gas grill.  One that came out quite nicely was Zoe’s fruit pizza , which is described in the previous post.  The fruit sat on top of our basic non-enriched white dough (Master Recipe in the book, page 25), but I’ve been wondering whether we could get away with using brioche dough on a stone placed in the gas grill.  I wasn’t so sure, because brioche dough is a bit finicky and prone to scorching or drying if the temperature isn’t quite right or the heat isn’t quite even.  So today’s recipe is very similar to the fruit pizza, but it’s made with rich brioche dough (page 189 in the book) and it’s folded into a rustic tart.

For me, it’s the Holy Grail:  the entire meal done outside in the summer, including a rich and delicious dessert.  It works beautifully, so long as you have a gas grill with a reasonably controllable heat source.  If you do, you can bake brioche dough outside, at least when it’s rolled out for tarts and other thin creations. 

Rustic fruit tarts are an easy and fast alternative to fruit pies in the summertime.  Traditionally, they call for unleavened pastry dough with lots of shortening.  Rolled-out brioche dough makes a delicious and faster alternative, assuming you’ve got some stored in your freezer.  Summer fruit are in prime form right now, so I couldn’t resist.  It took just minutes to assemble the tart, and about 30 minutes to bake it on the grill. 

First, place a baking stone on your gas grill (I use a Weber Genesis A; here’s a slightly more recent model on Amazon), close the lid, and manipulate the heating controls until you achieve a constant temperature of about 350 degrees F (do the best you can, erring on the cool side if you need to, and preheat for at least 20 minutes).  On my grill, setting the knobs between low and medium gave me the temperature I needed (all burners must be “on” in order to create even heat).  While the grill’s pre-heating, cut off a peach-size portion of brioche dough (my dough was frozen so I defrosted it overnight in the fridge), and quickly shape it into a rough ball without kneading or “gluten-cloaking;” handle it as little as possible and it will be easier to roll out thin:

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First flatten the ball with your fingers…

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Using enough flour to prevent sticking, roll it out into a round, to about 1/8-inch thickness…

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Use a dough scraper to loosen the dough round if it sticks…

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Thinly slice up some juicy summer fruit that’s very ripe; here I’ve used peaches and plums…

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Gently heat 2 tablespoons of cream cheese in the microwave on low power, until it’s easily spreadable.  Or, use a mixture of rich Italian marscapone and cream cheese if you have it.  I used plain cream cheese here and if truth be told, it was LOW-FAT cream cheese.  Whatever you do, please do not tell Zoe that I’ve used LOW-FAT cream cheese. 

Place the dough round on a Silpat, or a cookie sheet prepared with butter or parchment paper.  Brioche is not baked directly on a baking stone, in part because it might scorch, and in part because the stone will absorb butter, which will smoke the next time the stone is heated for high-temperature baking.  Spread the softened cheese over the center of the dough round, leaving a 2-inch border of bare dough…

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Then cover the cheese with the fruit and sprinkle with about a tablespoon of granulated sugar (vary depending on how sweet your fruit tasted, but don’t omit it)…

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Fold the dough over the tart as shown below, leaving a nice window of fruit showing in the center…

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Second and third folds…

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After folding up the fourth side, pinch the corners together if they’re gapping, then sprinkle more sugar over the tart to help carmelize it as it bakes.  If you’re feeling ambitious you can brush on egg wash before the sugar but it wasn’t absolutely neccesary to get the carmelization and color that you see in the pictures.  You see, I forgot the egg wash today.  Forgetting an ingredient here and there has become something of a specialty of mine, especially when teaching in front of large groups :-)

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Place the cookie sheet or Silpat on the pre-heated baking stone.  I covered the tart with a roomy aluminum foil baking pan to trap steam and hopefully help caramelize the crust.  I know, we say that steam isn’t neccesary for brioche in the book, but I’ve had trouble getting top crusts to brown when done on the grill, and I wanted to see if this helped.  Observant readers will notice that I snuck in a non-enriched loaf pan bread for good measure…

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So just drop that cover over whatever you’re baking…

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… and 30 minutes later, voila, I got what I was looking for.  The top crust was nicely caramelized, and the fruit had maintained its shape and texture.  Juices from the fruit had blended with the cream cheese to create a delicious pastel-colored cream that surrounded the fruit.  Despite the fruit’s ripeness, there was no excess liquid hanging around to make the bottom crust soggy, as sometimes happens with summer pies (at least when I make them!)…

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I’m going to try a more substantial traditional brioche on the grill next time (not rolled out like this).  Just as soon as I can get my hands on some sour Door County cherries…

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If you enjoyed this post, please consider sharing it with others using one of the social sharing buttons above. Thanks, Jeff and Zoë

13 thoughts on “Rustic Fruit Tart On The Gas Grill (from brioche dough!)

  1. Your book is the most I have ever used a cookbook… ever in my 40 years.

    I am enjoying it so much… I am looking into opening up my own bread shop in town and baking bread and teaching classes for a living.

    My family feels so spoiled that they eat freshly home baked crusty bread every night at dinner.

    Thank you for sharing with us!

  2. You’re welcome! We should spoil our families (and ourselves) this way. Thank you so much for writing, it’s so fun to get these notes. Jeff

  3. Hi Saundra,

    I have hundreds of cookbooks and I only use a small portion of them. The fact that you are using ours over and over is truly the highest compliment we can get.

    Thank you for letting us know, it really means a lot!

    Zoë

  4. This looks wonderful and I love the idea of doing it on the grill!!! Here in the Texas Hill Country it has been so hot – 100’s – and I just can’t stand the though of turning on the oven but doing this tart outside, on the grill, (in the shade!) is perfect.

    Thanks so much,

    Mary

  5. Mary: Thanks so much!

    And this is just the beginning. If you use the stone on the grill and keep it covered, you can use it like an oven for just about anything. I haven’t found anything that just doesn’t work. Just remember that it doesn’t have a thermostat, so you have to be careful about fiddling with the temperature. Even here in Minnesota, summer is not the time to be turning on your oven, and this summer, we haven’t. Jeff

  6. Absolutely, 350 degrees for about 30 minutes (though the time depends on the thickness you rolled the dough, how much fruit, etc).

  7. LadyDi: I’ve done pan breads outside on the grill, they work well provided you can control the oven temp. More on that as the summer progresses. Jeff

  8. I made these tonight with great success. I made a fresh cherry tart and a fresh red and gold raspberry tart using the brioche dough. I ‘baked’ these on my big charcoal grill, peaking at 325 degrees and tapering off to 225 for about 1 hour total. They came out great… I don’t have a rectangular stone, so no SILPAT mat. Instead I used parchment paper on a round stone and managed to fit two tarts on the stone. These tarts go well with some homemade coffee ice cream. Mmm… summer!

    • Hi Sue,

      I’ve never had an issue with rolling out the Brioche dough, so I’ve never given it a try. Are you having a difficult time rolling it out? If you do try the relaxer in the dough, please let me know what you think.

      Thanks, Zoë

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