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Fruit Tart

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This homemade fruit tart is made from a crispy, buttery tart shell filled with silky vanilla pastry cream, topped with vibrant fresh fruit, and brushed with a shiny apricot glaze.

Homemade Fresh Fruit Tart

This fruit tart is a real stunner! It’s a classic French dessert made from a sweet crust, vanilla pastry cream filling, and glazed fruit.

If you’re one to swoon over the gorgeous, glistening fruit tarts at your local bakery, you can make a homemade version that’s even better! This fruit tart recipe takes a bit of time, but the steps are easy. I’ll walk you through how to prepare the tart shell and pastry cream from scratch, along with a beautiful fruit topping.

Why You’ll Love This Fruit Tart Recipe

  • Fresh. This fruit tart is filled with light, creamy custard and bright bursts of fresh fruit. Making a fruit tart at home ensures that the fruit you’re using is at its freshest.
  • Show stopping. This fruit tart is as delicious as it is impressive. It looks just like the kind you’ll see in French bakery windows. And it’s easier than you think!
  • Versatile. Customize your fruit tart with seasonal fruit, so that you can enjoy it year-round.
Overhead close up view of a fruit tart.

Ingredient Notes

Here is a short overview of what you’ll need to make this fruit tart. I’ve included the full ingredients list and recipe details in the recipe card below the post.

  • Pastry Cream – You’ll need a batch of pastry cream, a.k.a. crème pâtissière. 
  • Tart Shell – I include my easy homemade tart shell recipe, or you can use a storebought pâte sucrée (sweet tart crust).
  • Fresh Fruit – Your choice of fresh fruits such as raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, kiwi, etc. See below for more ideas.
  • Apricot Jam – To combine with water for a glaze. If you don’t have apricot jam, use another semi-clear preserve, like peach or apple. Avoid raspberry or blackberry jam, as they’ll change the color of the fruit. 

What’s the Best Fruit for a Fruit Tart?

A fruit tart is easy to customize depending on which fruits are in season. Here are some ideas:

  • Citrus – Mandarin oranges, clementines.
  • Berries – Raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries.
  • Tropical – Kiwi, pineapple, sliced mango, passion fruit, starfruit.
  • Stone Fruit – Peaches, apricots, cherries, plums.

Avoid fruits that tend to brown quickly, like apples and bananas. Also avoid watery fruits, like sliced melons or oranges, that can leak juices into the tart.

Slices of fruit tart next to a bowl of fresh fruit.

How to Make a Fruit Tart

A fresh fruit tart isn’t difficult to make, but there are a few simple steps involved. Sure, you can always take a shortcut with a store-bought tart shell or store-bought pastry cream. But I encourage you to give this from-scratch recipe a try! You’ll taste the difference, and both the cream and tart shell are basic baking recipes that you can use again for future desserts.

Make the Pastry Cream

You can prepare the pastry cream for your fruit tart up to 3-4 days in advance and keep it tightly covered in the fridge. You’ll Find the full details on how to make pastry cream in the recipe card, but here’s a quick step-by-step. If you need more in-depth photo references, they’re included in this post.

  • Simmer milk and vanilla. Begin by simmering milk with vanilla bean pods on the stovetop, then take the pot off the heat and allow the mixture to steep. Afterward, place the pot back onto the heat and bring it back to a low simmer. 
  • Temper the egg yolks. Vigorously whisk egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch, and salt until thickened. Slowly stream half of the simmering milk into the egg, whisking as you go. Then, whisk the tempered egg yolks into the pot with the remaining milk.
  • Heat. Heat the mixture on the stovetop, whisking constantly, until large bubbles begin to form. At this stage, cook for another 60 seconds, and then transfer the custard immediately to a clean, heat-proof bowl. 
  • Cool. Stir in butter, and once melted, place the bowl into an ice bath to help the pastry cream cool. Stir it around a bit, just be sure that no water gets into the cream! Finally, cover the top of the cream directly with plastic wrap and place the pastry cream into the fridge to cool completely.

Prepare the Tart Shell 

Next, you’ll make the dough and par-bake the tart shell:

  • Combine the dough ingredients. Cream together butter and sugar, then add vanilla, salt, and finally, flour, one cup at a time.
  • Finish the dough. Next, add spoonfuls of ice water until the dough forms pea-sized pieces. You should be able to press the pieces into a ball using your hand.
  • Fill the pan. Press the crust into the bottom and up the sides of a 9” tart pan. I use the bottom of a glass to help press the dough evenly. Use a sharp knife to trim away any excess crust.
  • Dock the crust. This means using a fork to poke holes all over the bottom of the crust so that steam can escape while it bakes. Place the finished crust into the fridge to chill for 15 minutes.
  • Bake. Pre-bake the crust at 375ºF for 15-18 minutes until golden brown and cooked through. Afterward, allow the crust to cool completely before filling it.

Assemble the Fruit Tart

Finally, it’s time to bring everything together into a beautiful fresh fruit tart!

  • Prepare the glaze. Heat apricot jam and a spoonful of water in the microwave until boiling, then strain the mixture into a bowl.
  • Fill the crust. Fill the prepared tart shell nearly to the brim with pastry cream, leaving about ⅛-¼” at the top.
  • Add the fruit. Next, layer on your fruit in any pattern you’d like. I recommend starting with larger fruits and filling in any gaps with smaller fruits, like berries.
  • Glaze. Once your tart is assembled, brush the fruit with apricot glaze for a nice, shiny look. Garnish with mint, and voila! Your gorgeous homemade fruit tart is ready to serve.

Recipe Tips and Variations

No one will believe that you made this fruit tart from scratch, and that’s the best part! Here are some final tips for a perfect homemade fruit tart:

  • Temper the eggs as directed. Make sure to follow the tempering procedure and to stir continuously while on the stove, to prevent the eggs from scrambling.
  • Cook the pastry cream long enough. This is key to preventing the pastry cream from becoming runny as it sets. Make sure to cook the pastry cream mixture for 60 seconds after it starts burping large bubbles.
  • Use full-fat ingredients. Whole milk or half-and-half has the best fat content to carry the flavor and give the pastry cream a full and smooth consistency. Do not substitute for 2% or skim milk.
  • Fix a puffed-up pastry crust. If your tart shell starts to puff up in the oven, halfway through baking you can use your fork to poke some more holes in the shell and use a cup to lightly press it back down. 
  • Make sure that the fruit is dry. After washing the berries, dry them thoroughly with paper towels. Place raspberries upside down to allow the water to drain from the hollow center. Cutting the kiwi and strawberry and immediately placing them on a paper towel for a few minutes can help pull some of the excess moisture out, which will help your tart stay set longer.
  • Use up leftovers. You will likely have leftover pastry cream and fruit. You can use this to make mini trifles, pudding cups, or filling cream puffs.
  • Skip the glaze. The apricot glaze gives this tart a professional finish, but if you’re serving your fruit tart right away, feel free to skip it.
  • Make mini fruit tarts. Press the crust into mini tart pans (adapt the baking time accordingly) to make this recipe as mini tarts instead.

Overhead close up view of a fruit tart surrounded by scattered fresh fruit.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a fruit tart?

A classic French fruit tart is made of three key components: a buttery sweet crust, creamy vanilla custard (crème pâtissière), and a topping of fresh fruit.

Can I substitute the pastry cream? 

In place of pastry cream, you can fill your tart with an instant vanilla pudding instead. Another option is mascarpone whipped cream frosting. Both don’t require cooking and pair deliciously with fruit.

What I can use if I don’t have a tart pan?

If you’d still like to remove the edges, you can try a 9-inch springform pan, otherwise a simple pie plate would also work well.

Overhead view of two slices of fruit tart served on white plates, next to the rest of the fruit tart on a countertop.

How to Store

  • Store the fruit tart. This tart is best served the same day it’s assembled. Leftover tart can be wrapped in plastic and stored in the fridge for up to 2 days, after that the fruit will become soggy and the pastry cream will begin to weep. I don’t recommend freezing a fruit tart.
  • Store leftover pastry cream. Leftover pastry cream can be stored in a covered container in the fridge (with a piece of plastic wrap placed directly on top of the cream) for up to 4 days. Just make sure to whisk it well before use. 

More Fruit Dessert Recipes

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Overhead view of a fruit tart surrounded by scattered fresh fruit.

Fruit Tart

  • Author: Julianne Dell
  • Prep Time: 60 minutes
  • Chilling Time: 2 hours
  • Cook Time: 18 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 hours 18 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings

Description

This fruit tart is a crispy, buttery tart shell filled with a silky vanilla pastry cream, topped with vibrant fresh fruit, and brushed with a glossy apricot glaze.

Ingredients

For the Pastry Cream

  • 2 cups (473ml) Whole milk
  • 1 vanilla bean, split down the middle (or 12 teaspoons vanilla extract)
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • ½ cup (95g) granulated sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons (18g) of cornstarch
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons (28g) unsalted butter, cut into small cubes

For the Tart Shell

  • ¾ cups (170g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ½ cup (95g) granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon (5ml) Pure vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 cups (240g) All-purpose flour
  • Ice water

For Assembling

  • 1 pint Raspberries, washed and dried
  • 1 pint Blueberries, washed and dried
  • 1 pint Strawberries, washed, dried, sliced thin
  • 1 pint Blackberries, washed and dried
  • 1 Kiwi, peeled, cut in half and sliced thin
  • Fresh mint leaves for garnish, optional

Optional Glaze

  • ⅓ cup Apricot jam
  • 1 teaspoon water

Instructions

For the Pastry Cream

  1. In a medium saucepan, bring the milk and vanilla bean to a simmer. Remove from the heat as soon as the milk starts to show bubbles around the edge of the pan, right before it hits a boil. Remove from the heat and let the milk and vanilla bean steep for 15 minutes.
  2. Remove the vanilla bean and scrape the pods with the back of a small knife to remove any extra seeds and place them back into the milk. Return the steeped milk to the stove and bring it back to a low simmer, making sure not to boil.
  3. While the milk warms, in a small bowl whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Whisk this until the mixture becomes very thick and pale yellow and leaves a “trail” or “ ribbon” behind when the whisk is dragged through it. This should take 1-2 minutes of vigorous whisking.
  4. Next temper the egg yolks. When the milk comes to a simmer, turn off the heat and slowly pour half of the hot milk into the egg mixture in a steady and thin stream, while continuously whisking at the same time. Then gently whisk the egg mixture into the pan with the remaining milk.
  5. Place this mixture over medium-low heat and whisk constantly until the mixture starts to burp big bubbles. Once your mixture starts bubbling, continue to cook for 60 seconds longer, and then immediately remove it from the heat and put it into a clean bowl.
  6. Quickly stir in the butter until melted and combined with the cream mixture. Place this bowl into another bowl filled with ice water and gently stir around, making sure to not get any water into the pastry cream to help the mixture cool.
  7. Once the cream is cooled to room temperature, place it into an airtight container and place a layer of plastic wrap directly on top of the pastry cream to keep skin from forming on the top. Cool completely in the fridge.

For the Tart Shell

  1. With an electric mixer using a medium-sized bowl, cream together butter and sugar until fluffy. Add vanilla and salt and mix until combined. Add flour 1⁄2 cup at a time until it comes together. Then add ice water 1 tablespoon at a time, until it forms pea-sized pieces and you can form a ball of dough with your hand.
  2. Preheat oven to 375℉. Transfer the crust to a 9″ tart pan and press the dough all the way up the sides. Use a glass to help press it evenly into the bottom and sides. Trim any excess from the top using a sharp knife so it’s level with the top of the pan. The crust should be ¼” thick.
  3. Dock the crust all over the bottom by poking it with a fork. Chill in the refrigerator for 15 minutes before baking. Bake for 15-18 min, or until golden brown and cooked through. Chill completely before filling with cold pastry cream.

To Assemble

  1. In a small microwave-safe dish, combine the apricot jam and 1 teaspoon of water. Microwave in 20-second increments until it reaches a boil. If this mixture seems too thick, you can add another teaspoon of water. Strain into a separate bowl and set aside to cool for 5 minutes.
  2. Fill the cooled crust almost all the way with the pastry cream, you want to leave enough room so that when you add the fruit, the weight of it doesn’t overflow your tart shell, about ⅛-¼ inch.
  3. Layer the fruit on the top, creating any pattern you like. Start with larger fruits like strawberries and kiwi, filling in with the smaller berries. To create a shiny look, brush the fruit you’d like with cooled apricot glaze (I only brushed the strawberries and kiwi). Garnish with mint if desired. Serve immediately or cover with plastic wrap before serving. 

Equipment

Notes

  • This tart is filled with my homemade pastry cream.
  • The tart shell can be prepared 24 hours in advance and the pastry cream can be prepared 2-3 days in advance as needed. It’s best to assemble the day of serving, as this is best when served fresh,

Storing

    • Store the fruit tart. This tart is best served the same day it’s assembled. Leftover tart can be wrapped in plastic and stored in the fridge for up to 2 days, after that the fruit will become soggy and the pastry cream will begin to weep. I don’t recommend freezing a fruit tart.

    • Store leftover pastry cream. Leftover pastry cream can be stored in a covered container in the fridge (with a piece of plastic wrap placed directly on top of the cream) for up to 4 days. Just make sure to whisk it well before use. 

Nutrition Information:
1 slice
563
43.1 g
80.1 mg
25.4 g
78.7 g
6.4 g
8.2 g
151.7 mg
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American

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