My homemade Fruit Tart recipe is served on a crisp, slightly crumbly, chocolate-brushed shortbread crust, filled with homemade pastry cream, and decorated with fresh glazed fruit. Recipe includes a how-to video to walk you through all of the steps!
There’s not a whole lot of sleep happening in the Sugar Spun Run household right now. Luke has four top teeth trying to break through and it’s made for a lot of crankiness, a lot of tears, and very, very little sleep.
I don’t do well without my sleep. I’m dropping everything, forgetting things, and Zach found the scissors in the refrigerator yesterday and I still don’t know how that happened. So I’m really, really hoping there are no typos in today’s recipe, but I can’t make any promises. Fortunately, this fruit tart recipe was perfected before I was in this foggy, sleepy state, so I can at least assure you that it’s sound. Now, please have a little grace with me if you find any typos, but let’s get into why you’re here and talk tarts.
There are three main components when making a fresh fruit tart:
- A crisp, firm pastry crust with a buttery, crumbly crumb.
- Rich, smooth, vanilla pastry cream.
- Fresh fruit.
Let’s start with the pastry crust, which is a bit different from classic pie crusts you’re used to. While I typically start this baking process with the pastry cream (it needs to chill for several hours), let’s tackle this tart from the bottom up.
Pâté Sucrée (Sweet Pastry Crust)
Classic fruit tarts are not traditionally served in graham cracker crusts or typical pie crusts, but rather a French-style shortcrust known as pâté sucrée, which translates to “sweet dough”. It uses a higher ratio of sugar, a splash of vanilla extract, and an egg and it is similar to my favorite shortbread cookie. It is more reminiscent of a cookie than the American pie doughs you might be used to.
Many recipes use an egg yolk and then add ice water, but I have found the best results using a whole egg and not adding water. This is also one of the rare instances where I recommend using a cold egg rather than a room temperature one. Keep all of your ingredients as cold as possible to keep the sides of the tart from falling as it bakes.
While you can make your crust using a pastry cutter or a box-grater (like I do with my puff pastry), I prefer to use a food processor. This cleanly and quickly distributes the butter, keeping your ingredients nice and cold and making for an easy to handle and perfectly crisp crust.
How to Keep a Fruit Tart From Becoming Soggy
Preventing a soggy crust is simple and this method adds some great extra flavor. Brush the inside of your baked, cooled crust with a bit of melted chocolate, then let this harden in the refrigerator for several minutes before filling with pastry cream.
Not only will the chocolate layer serve as a protective shell that keeps moisture off of your pastry, it adds a nice pop of chocolate flavor that beautifully accents the tart, too. Dark chocolate is my preference, but semisweet, milk, or even white chocolate could be used instead.
I’ve shared my classic pastry cream recipe before on its own and in my cream puffs and eclairs recipe. It makes an appearance again here as the quintessential fruit tart filling. While it would’ve been easy to use a full batch from my original recipe and refer you to that recipe, I found using that much pastry cream was just too much (something I never thought I’d say). Instead, I’ve scaled it down to be the perfect amount for a 9″ tart pan (though it would also work for an 8″ or 10″ pan).
Your pastry cream will need to cool completely before being used in your tart, this takes at least two hours so I recommend making this first. I have some notes below on how to make several days in advance. Oh, and you’ll need 3 egg yolks for this recipe, no egg whites. Save those egg whites to make meringues or put them towards my lemon cake recipe!
The Best Fruits For Fruit Tart
You can use essentially any fruit you would like, but if you are using a particularly juicy fruit (like ripe peach slices or mango) I recommend waiting until shortly before serving to add.
These are a few of my favorite fruit choices:
- Strawberries. These are a must for me.
- Kiwi slices
- Mandarin orange sections
Shiny Fruit Glaze
After assembling your tart, you can lightly brush the fruit with a bit of apple jelly or apricot jelly that’s been melted with a splash of water. This adds a gorgeous sheen and a nice added extra hint of slightly tart sweetness. Many bakeries add a glaze to their fruits topping this way.
Storing & Making in Advance
Store in an airtight container (I usually wrap mine in plastic wrap) in the refrigerator for up to two days (longer than this and the fruit tends to weep quite a bit).
If you wish to prepare the fruit tart further in advance than a day or two, I recommend making the components in advance and assembling shortly before serving. The tart crust can be made up to 5 days in advance of serving and stored in an airtight container (or wrapped in plastic wrap) at room temperature. The pastry cream can be made up to 3 days in advance of serving, store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Several hours or even a day before serving, assemble by brushing the inside of the tart crust with chocolate, spreading the pastry cream, and decorating with fruit. Brush with apple jelly if desired and then store in the refrigerator, covered.
More Recipes to Try:
Enjoy! And please pay no mind to the dark circles under my eyes in the video!
Let’s bake together! Be sure to check out my video in the recipe where I’ll show you exactly how I make these in my own kitchen!
- ½ cup whole milk (118ml)
- ⅔ cup heavy cream (158ml)
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 3 large egg yolks room temperature
- 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter softened and cut into 4 pieces
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ cup semisweet chocolate chips melted (may substitute milk chocolate, dark chocolate, or white chocolate) (45g)
- 3 cups Fruit of your choice I usually need approximately 3-4 cups of fruit. I recommend a mix of strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries. Kiwis, blackberries, and mandarin slices are other good options.
- 2 Tablespoons apple jelly optional
- 1 teaspoon water optional
- Rolling Pin
- Combine milk, cream, ¼ cup (50g) sugar, and salt in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat. Stir constantly until sugar is dissolved and mixture comes to a simmer. Remove from heat and allow to cool in the saucepan for 10 minutes.
- In a separate medium-sized bowl vigorously whisk together egg yolks and remaining 2 Tablespoons of sugar for about 15 seconds. Sprinkle cornstarch over the mixture and whisk again until slightly thickened (about 30 seconds).
- Measure about ⅓ cup of (slightly cooled) cream mixture and slowly drizzle it into the egg mixture while constantly whisking. This is to temper your eggs and keep them from cooking! While still whisking, gradually drizzle in the remainder of your cream mixture until completely combined.
- Pour mixture back into saucepan and return to the stovetop over medium heat. Whisk frequently until thickened almost to a pudding-like consistency (mixture may simmer, this will take several minutes) and immediately remove from heat.
- Pour through a fine mesh strainer into a heatproof bowl. Add butter, one piece at a time, whisking after each addition until completely combined. Whisk in vanilla extract.
- Allow to cool for about 20 minutes at room temperature, then cover by placing a piece of parchment paper or plastic wrap directly against the surface of the pastry cream and refrigerate for at least 2-4 hours. While this is chilling, prepare the tart crust, as it will need to chill for a total of 90 minutes.
- Combine flour, sugar, and salt in the basin of a food processor².
- Scatter butter pieces over the flour mixture and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs (about 10 pulses).
- In a small dish, whisk together egg and vanilla extract and drizzle over flour mixture. Pulse again until dough just begins to cling together and holds together when pressed with your thumb and forefinger (see image in post or video), about 15 one-second pulses.
- Form dough into a disc and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Chill for one hour.
- Roll chilled dough into a 10-11” disc and form into a 9” tart pan. Prick multiple times with a fork and then take a large piece of parchment paper and carefully form it into your tart crust (if your crust is being damaged as you try to do this, just chill your dough and then fit with the parchment paper). Fill parchment paper with pie weights or dry beans, and make sure you are using enough parchment that you can easily lift it and the weights from the tart. See video for visual if needed. Transfer to freezer for 30 minutes to prevent shrinking. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375F (190C).
- Once dough has chilled and oven is preheated, transfer to 375F/190C oven (I’ve found it can be tricky moving a tart pan with a removable bottom and sometimes like to bake mine on a cookie sheet to easily remove it from the oven) and bake for 20 minutes or edges are just beginning to turn light golden brown. Carefully remove parchment paper and pie weights and bake another 5 minutes until light golden brown all over. Allow to cool before assembling.
- Once tart crust has cooled, spread or brush (with a pastry brush) a thin layer of chocolate over the bottom and up the sides of the tart crust. Place this in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes for the chocolate to harden.
- Once chocolate is hardened, remove from fridge and evenly spread chilled pastry cream in the shell. Arrange fruit over the cream as desired.
- If desired, melt together apple jelly and water for 10-20 seconds and stir well. Use a pastry brush to brush or dab jelly over the surface of the fruit for a glaze. Serve. Store leftovers in the refrigerator, covered, for up to 2 days.