This Fruit Tart recipe has a sweet and crisp pastry crust, a rich vanilla custard filling and fresh ripe fruit lightly brushed with the easiest fruit tart glaze. This classic French Fruit Tart is a simple, yet elegant dessert sure to impress your family and friends.
French Fruit Tart
There is something strikingly beautiful about a colorful fruit tart. This classic French dessert is sold in every pastry shop (or patisserie) in France as well as in many American bakeries.
Although the thought of making this fruit tart recipe may be intimidating, fruit tarts are quite simple and easy to make. As an added bonus, you can save time by making the tart shell and creamy custard ahead of time.
How To Make This Tart Recipe
There are four components to most classic tarts:
- The Pastry Tart Crust
- The Pastry Cream Filling
- The Fruit
- The Glaze
The Tart Crust Or Tart Shell
The sweet pastry crust also known as pastry dough, shortcrust pastry or Pâte Sucrée in French is a sweet and buttery crust which texture resembles a crumbly cookie. Unlike the more flaky pie crust, a tart crust is so much easier to make and less temperamental than pie crust dough.
Pastry dough can be made ahead and freezes well. A baked tart shell will keep fresh for about 2 days if stored properly.
How To Make A Tart Crust
Pâte Sucrée or pastry dough can be made in a bowl by hand or in a food processor.
- Whisk Wet Ingredients: First, whisk together the heavy cream, egg and vanilla in a small bowl.
- Combine the Dry Ingredients: In a food processor, combine the flour, powdered sugar, and salt.
- Cut In The Butter: Add the cold butter pieces to the flour mixture and pulse to cut into the flour until the mixture resembles pea-sized crumbs.
- Add the Wet Ingredients: While the food processor is running, add the heavy cream mixture through the feed tube and process just until the dough comes together.
- Chill: Remove the sweet pastry dough from the food processor and flatten it into a disk. Cover with plastic wrap and chill it in the fridge. It is important to chill the dough. A cold dough is easier to work with and holds its shape better when baking.
- Roll Out The Pastry Dough: After the pastry dough has time to chill, roll it with a rolling pin into a circle slightly larger than the tart pan. Transfer the sweet dough to a greased tart pan. Press gently into the corners.
- Blind Bake: It is important to use pie weights or dry beans to prevent the crust from losing its shape or from shrinking while baking.
- Remove Weights and Finish Baking: After baking for 10 minutes, remove the tart from the oven and lower the oven temperature. Remove the weights, prick the bottom of the dough with a fork, put tart back in the oven and finish baking.
- Cool: Allow the tart crust to cool completely before filling it with the pastry cream
Pastry Cream Recipe
Pastry Cream or Creme Patissiere is the smooth and creamy vanilla custard used in French pastries such as French fruit tart, cream puffs, Napoleons (Mille-Feuille) and eclairs among others.
Even before I set foot in culinary school, I knew about this Classic French recipe from reading through Julia Child’s best selling cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking.
This rich, silky and delicious French custard is usually flavored with vanilla however, other flavorings can be added as well. In the recipe below, I list cognac as an “optional ingredient”. Fruit liquors like Grand Marnier or Framboise and flavorings like almond extract can be added.
How To Make Pastry Cream
- Mix and Simmer: In a medium saucepan, combine the milk, cream, and half of the sugar and mix stirring occasionally until the liquid comes to a simmer.
- Combine Egg Mixture: As the liquid simmers, whisk together the remaining sugar, salt, cornstarch, and egg yolks in a medium bowl until light and creamy.
- Tempering: While continually whisking, slowly pour in about 1/2 cup of the warm milk mixture into the egg mixture. Continue to whisk until smooth. (This is called tempering, and it will prevent the yolks from scrambling).
- Cook Until Thickened: Transfer the tempered egg mixture back to the saucepan and turn the heat to medium. Cook, whisking constantly, until thickened.
- Whisk In Butter and Flavorings: Remove from the heat, then whisk in the butter, vanilla extract and cognac (if using) until smooth and glossy.
- Chill: Transfer the pastry cream to a bowl and cover it with plastic wrap placed directly onto the surface of the pastry cream so a skin does not form. Refrigerate until chilled, about 2 hours
The Fresh Fruit Topping
Fruit tarts are as beautiful as they are delicious. When it comes to the fruit, you can be creative and use fruits that are in season. A berry tart is as delicious as a mixed fruit tart. A bright and fresh strawberry tart is the perfect dessert during summer. Feel free to experiment and create your own masterpiece.
The Fruit Glaze
The perfect French bakery fruit tart is brushed with a simple glaze that makes the fruit glisten. The tart glaze makes the fruit look like shiny colorful jewels. Although the glaze is an optional step for some, true French fruit tarts are shimmery and incredibly sparkly!
Making the glaze is as easy as warming up jelly, jam or fruit preserves in the microwave! To apply the glaze, simply dab the glaze on the fruit with a pastry brush. For this tart recipe, I used apricot preserves. Apple jelly and red currant jelly are both commonly used in French sweets.
Fruit Tart Recipe Assembly
- Cool the sweet pastry crust completely before adding the cream filling.
- Spread the vanilla creme patisserie with a spatula.
- Top the French tart with your favorite fruit. You can keep small fruit like strawberries whole.
- Warm up the jam or jelly and dab the fresh fruit with a pastry brush.
How Do You Keep Fruit Tarts From Getting Soggy
- One of the best ways to keep a fruit tart – and any pastry crust such as pie crust from getting soggy, is to blind bake the crust before adding any cream or fruit toppings.
- Another easy way to keep moisture from seeping into the crust is by brushing the crust with a simple egg wash before baking it.
- Last but not least, one of my favorite ways to keep a tart crust from getting soggy is by brushing the blinded-baked crust with chocolate. After baking, allow the crust to cool completely then brush the inside with melted chocolate. The chocolate serves as a barrier keeping moisture out!
Do You Have To Refrigerate a Fruit Tart
Fruit tarts that are already filled and topped with fruit, can be kept at room temperature in a cool area for up to 12 hours. Fresh fruit tarts should be stored in the refrigerator for 1-2 days.
Keep in mind that moisture in the refrigerator affects the texture of the crust making it less crisp. The cut fruit can also get a bit watery and less appealing. Overall, eating the tart the day is made is always best but leftovers will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
Fruit Tart Recipe Tips
- Pastry Cream or Creme Patissiere can be made in advance. Keep it stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
- Pastry cream doesn’t freeze well.
- Pate Sucree or pastry dough can be made in advance. Wrap the dough tightly and freeze it for up to 3 months. The sweet pastry can also be kept in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
- You can loosen the glaze by adding a little bit of water if you wish.
Take A Look At These Other Tart Recipes:
- Pear and Goat Cheese Tart
- Puff Pastry Tart with Tomatoes, Asparagus and Whipped Feta
- French Onion Tart
- Beet Root and Goat Cheese Tart
- Asparagus Tart
- Tomato Tart
- Coconut Lime Tart
Follow me on social media for more recipe ideas & inspiration!
Fresh Fruit Tart Recipe
- You will need about 1 pint or 2 to 2 1/2 cups of assorted fresh seasonal fruit.
Kiwi strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, peaches and mango are a good option. I also use fresh or canned mandarin oranges (drained)
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup apricot preserves (optional)
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter cold and cut into cubes
Make Pastry Cream
- In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the milk, cream, and half of the sugar and mix stirring occasionally until the liquid comes to a simmer.
- As the liquid simmers, whisk together the remaining sugar, salt, cornstarch, and egg yolks in a medium bowl until light and creamy.
- While continually whisking, slowly pour in about 1/2 cup of the warm milk mixture into the egg mixture. Continue to whisk until smooth. (This is called tempering, and it will prevent the yolks from scrambling).
- Transfer the tempered egg mixture back to the saucepan and turn the heat to medium. Cook, whisking constantly, until thickened, about 2 minutes. A few bubbles may burst on the top surface and the mixture will have the texture of pudding.
- Remove from the heat, then whisk in the butter, vanilla extract and cognac (if using) until smooth and glossy.
- Transfer the pastry cream to a bowl and cover it with plastic wrap placed directly onto the surface of the pastry cream so a skin does not form. Refrigerate until chilled, about 2 hours.
Make Tart Crust
- In a small bowl, whisk together the heavy cream, egg and vanilla extract. Set aside.
Making The Crust In A Food Processor:
- Combine the flour, powdered sugar, and salt in a food processor and pulse a few times to combine.
- Add the cold butter pieces to the flour mixture and pulse to cut into the flour until the mixture resembles pea-sized crumbs.
- While the food processor is running, add the heavy cream mixture through the feed tube and continue to process just until the dough comes together and forms a ball.
Making The Crust With A Pastry Cutter:
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, confectioners’ sugar, and salt. Add the cold butter and cut it in using a pastry cutter. Continue until the entire mixture resembles pea-sized crumbs.
- Pour in the heavy cream mixture and stir to combine. You can use your hands to really get it all combined, if needed.
- Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and flatten it into a 1-inch thick disc. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour or up to 2 days.
- Grease a 9-inch tart pan with removable bottom.
- Remove the tart dough from the refrigerator and place it on a lightly floured surface. Roll out the pastry crust into a circle slightly larger than your 9-inch tart pan.
- Place the pastry into the greased 9-inch tart pan. Carefully transfer the dough to the tart pan by rolling it onto the rolling pin, then gently ease the dough into the pan, pressing it down into the corners and fluted sides of the pan, evenly.
- Run the rolling pin over the top of the tart pan so that the excess dough gets cut off, making a clean edge. With the excess dough, you can patch up any areas that may be too thin.
- Refrigerate for at least 10 minutes (you can do this while your oven preheats).
- Preheat the oven to 400°F (204°C). Remove the tart crust from the refrigerator. Line the inside of the tart with foil and fill it with pie weights (you can use dried beans instead). It is important that you use pie weights to prevent the crust from shrinking or puffing). Alternatively, you can freeze the dough and bake it from frozen without the use of pie weights. From frozen, the tart shell will take about 20 minutes to bake.
- Place the tart crust in the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Remove the crust from the oven and reduce the heat to 350°F (177°C). Carefully, remove the foil and weights. With a fork prick a few holes into the bottom of the crust and bake for 5-6 more minutes or until lightly golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before filling it with the pastry cream.
Assemble The Tart
- When the tart shell is completely cooled, spread the pastry cream over the bottom of the shell. Arrange the fruit in a decorative fashion over the pastry cream.
- In a small bowl, melt the jelly in the microwave in 20 seconds intervals, stirring after each interval until melted and smooth. Using a pastry brush, gently dab the fruit with the melted preserves. This gives the fruit a shiny look. You may have some of the preserves leftover. This step is optional. Carefully hold the bottom of the tart and remove the sides. Serve.
- The tart crust recipe makes about six 4-inch mini tarts. Blind bake the mini tarts for about 12 minutes or until golden brown. Cool before filling.
- The pastry can be refrigerated for 2 days or stored in the freezer, tightly wrapped for up to 3 months.
- Instead of a mixture of cream and milk, you can use Half and Half.
- Substitute the apricot preserves with apple jelly or orange preserves.