Fresh Fruit Tart Recipe

Luscious, seasonal berries and other fruits piled high on top of silky smooth pastry cream and a delightfully buttery and crispy sweet tart crust. Sealing the crust with a layer of chocolate and the cut fruit with a glaze keeps this tart fresh for days. The perfect garden party or summer BBQ show stopper!
↓ Recipe ↓ Video Print Recipe
Total Time: 5 hrs
Serves: 12 servings
fruit tart on white background with berries surrounding

A fresh fruit tart is a summertime staple! I love this buttery shortcrust filled with sweet and creamy vanilla custard and topped with lots of fresh berries! Follow my tips for keeping your berries fresher longer, how to keep the crust nice and crisp, and how to make an easy glaze using jam!

fruit tart on white background with berries surrounding

When I was in pastry school at OCI, every year there was a fruit tart competition. I thought I would see some simple pastry cream tarts with fresh fruit on top, boy was I wrong! 

There were dozens of variations. Not only was the pastry cream flavored in different ways but sometimes replaced all-together with lemon curd or chocolate ganache. Fruit toppings ranged from berries to exotic fruits. The variations are endless. 

chefs at oregon culinary institute judging a fruit tart competition

But that’s just the beginning. Tarts were not just judged on how tender and flaky they were. They were also judged on evenness of browning, how thin the Pâte sucrée was, how even it was on the sides and bottom, and how level the top was.

Here are my tips on how to make the perfect Pâte sucrée, step-by-step as taught by my pastry chefs. By no means do I think I am an expert in tart making but I can pass what I have learned and get you started.

Fruit Tart Ingredients

There are a lot of ingredients in this photo because we’re making tart dough, pastry cream, and topping it with fresh berries and glaze. Don’t be intimidated though, all these ingredients are very common in most household kitchens. Make sure your butter is room temperature. Soft enough to leave an indent with your finger but not melted. Your eggs should also be warm. I place mine (while still in the shell) into a bowl of warm water for 5 minutes. 

fruit tart ingredients

Note: This recipe makes enough dough for 2 tarts (maybe even three depending on the size of your pan). Theoretically, you could cut this recipe in half by whisking the whole egg and cutting it in half but it’s really easy to just freeze the extra dough to use for later! 

Making The Tart Dough Step-By-Step

Step 1 – Add the softened butter into the bowl of your stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed for about 30 seconds until it’s smooth.

pate sucre ingredients in the bowl of a mixer

Step 2 – Add in your sifted powdered sugar, salt, and mix until smooth. 

Step 3 – Add in the vanilla and the egg and mix until combined.

Step 5 – Gradually add your flour and mix until everything starts to come together and a dough forms.

tart dough in a mixing bowl

Step 6 – Divide the dough into 2 pieces, wrap in plastic wrap and flatten into disks. Refrigerate for a minimum of 1 hour before using your dough. If you skip this step, your crust will melt in the oven. 

tart dough on plastic wrap

Pastry Cream Step-By-Step

This pastry cream recipe is a baking staple. It’s basically vanilla pudding (if you’re in the USA) or a custard. It’s super versatile and can even be made dairy-free by replacing milk with coconut milk and butter with vegan butter! 

Pro Tip: Use real vanilla bean or vanilla bean paste to take your cream up a notch. Vanilla extract will work fine, but I love seeing all the little black specks in my dessert. Plus the star flavor is vanilla, so why not?! 1 vanilla bean pod = 1 TBSP vanilla.

Step 1 – Bring milk and first quantity of sugar (5 oz) to a simmer over medium-high heat. Whisking constantly to avoid burning.

whisking pastry cream ingredients in stainless steel pot with blue whisk

Step 2 – In a separate, large heatproof bowl, combine the eggs, cornstarch, vanilla extract, and the second quantity of sugar (4 oz), whisk to combine.

pastry cream ingredients in a clear glass bowl

Step 3 – Once the milk is simmering, turn off the heat and add 1/4 of your hot milk mixture to the egg mixture VERY slowly while whisking constantly. This is going to temper (slowly heat) your egg yolk mixture and avoid curdled scrambled eggs. Whisk until smooth.

Adding hot milk mixture slowly to cold egg mixture with measuring cup and blue whisk

Step 4 – Turn the heat back on (medium) and slowly add the mixture to the rest of the milk in your saucepan, whisking constantly. Bring it to a simmer.

closeup of thickened pastry cream in metal pot with blue whisk

Step 5 – Once your mixture starts bubbling, continue whisking for 1 minute to ensure the mixture is cooked and properly thickened.

Step 6 – Pour your mixture into a heatproof container. Divide your softened butter into cubes and place them on top of the pastry cream, allowing them to melt. Do not cover.

pastry cream in clear bowl with melted butter on top

Step 7 – Allow your pastry cream to cool at room temperature until just warm to the touch. This will take a few hours. You will know it’s ready to stir when the bowl feels barely warm and the edges of the butter are starting to turn solid in color. 

Step 8 – Stir in your butter with a whisk. Don’t be worried if it looks curdled at first, this is normal. Just keep whisking until smooth.

smooth pastry cream in a glass bowl with white spoon

Pro Tip – Use an immersion blender to make your pastry cream super smooth and creamy

Step 9 – Cover the pastry cream with plastic wrap so that it’s touching the surface of the pastry cream to avoid a skin forming. Let it cool fully before using it in a tart shell.

Fruit Tart Assembly Step-By-Step

Step 1 – Take your tart dough out of the refrigerator about 30-60 minutes before rolling it out. It should be slightly flexible but still firm.

tart dough on plastic wrap on a white background

Step 2 – Lightly flour your surface and rolling pin and roll it out to 1/8 inch thick. Don’t make it too thick! Use a ruler to check the thickness. Rotate frequently and pinch together any cracks when rolling.

tart dough rolled out on a white background with wooden rolling pin

Step 3 – Roll the dough up onto your rolling pin and lay it into the tart shell. I prefer a tart pan with a removable bottom. That way you can see the beautiful edges of the tart after baking. The removable bottom also makes it easy to take the crust out of the tin. You can make a tart in a regular pie pan, you just won’t be able to remove it from the pan. 

Step 4 – Carefully lift the dough up on the sides and press it into the pan. Use your fingers to press the dough into the ridges on the side. Don’t press too hard that you press through the dough. Make sure you get into the bottom corners!

tart dough in a tart pan

Step 5 – Roll your rolling pin flush across the top of the tart shell to remove the excess dough. Squish together the leftovers and save them to make another tart!

Step 6 – Freeze the tart shell for 20 minutes. Do NOT skip this step!

Step 7 – Press a layer of tin foil into the tart shell, all the way into the corners and fill with pie weights. Also, do this if you’re using a regular pie pan instead of a tart shell.

tart pan with tinfoil inside and pie weights

Step 8 – Place on top of a baking sheet and blind bake in the oven for 30 minutes. Rotate after 15 minutes to promote even browning. After 30 minutes, lift out the weights and bake for another 10 minutes. The edges will be golden brown and will start to pull away from the edges of the pan.

pate sucre in tart pan after blind baking

Step 9 – Place the whole tart and pan into the fridge to cool down.

Fresh Fruit Tart Assembly  Step-By-Step

Step 1 – Wash all of your fruit and dry fully. Check out my berry wash recipe to learn how to make your fruit last up to 3 weeks in the fridge!

mixed berries in white colander

Step 2 – Prepare your strawberries and kiwi fruit and cut in 1/8 inch thick slices. You do not need to cut berries because they will get mangled looking. 

cut kiwi and strawberries on wooden cutting board

Pro Tip: You want to use the sharpest knife possible when cutting fruits and vegetables. The sharper the knife, the easier it is to cut and the less likely you’ll be to push too hard or slip and injure yourself. 

Step 3 – Gently lift your cooled tart out of the tart pan. Transfer to a plate or keep it on the bottom pan. 

Pro Tip –  Dab a bit of melted chocolate on the plate to glue the tart shell to the plate and keep it from sliding around

Step 4 – Optional: Melt down some chocolate and brush a thin layer onto the inside of the tart shell. This is a trick I learned while working at a Safeway bakery and will keep the crust from getting soggy. Refrigerate for 5-10 minutes to set the chocolate.

melted chocolate brushed onto a tart shell

Step 5 – Add in the pastry cream and use a spatula to smooth it out. Fill the tart with pastry cream.

filling a tart shell with pastry cream and white spoon

Step 6 – Decorate the tart with your fruit! I like to go from the outside-in and have contrasting colors when I layer my fruit.

fresh fruit tart

Step 7 – Mix the apricot preserves and water and then microwave until melted (about 10 seconds). Glaze the cut strawberries and kiwi with the mixture. This will keep your fruit from drying out and looking very shiny! You can also thin piping gel or corn syrup with water and use it as a glaze.

Step 8 – Refrigerate until serving. I left mine in the fridge overnight and ate this the next day for my husband, Dan’s birthday!

slice of fresh fruit tart

The pastry cream sets up overnight so that you can cut through it but is still soft and creamy. The chocolate keeps the crust super crisp and actually tastes amazing with the fresh fruit. 

FAQ

Can I Use Granulated Sugar Instead Of Powdered Sugar

Granulated sugar tends to aerate the butter and make the dough fluffy which is not what we want. The air pockets expand and cause the dough to shrivel and shrink during baking

CAN I DO THIS WITHOUT A STAND MIXER?

You can definitely make tart dough without a stand mixer. You can use a hand-held mixer or you can even just mix with a fork by hand.  

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Did You Make This Recipe?Leave a rating and tell me how it went!
fruit tart on white background with berries surrounding

Fresh Fruit Tart Recipe

Luscious, seasonal berries and other fruits piled high on top of silky smooth pastry cream and a delightfully buttery and crispy sweet tart crust. Sealing the crust with a layer of chocolate and the cut fruit with a glaze keeps this tart fresh for days. The perfect garden party or summer BBQ show stopper!
5 from 6 votes
Print Rate
Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time: 40 mins
Cooling: 4 hrs
Total Time: 5 hrs
Serves: 12 servings
Calories: 537kcal

Ingredients

Pâte sucrée (tart dough recipe)

  • 4 ounces (113 g) powdered sugar
  • 8 ounces (226 g) unsalted butter room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 12 ounces (340 g) all purpose flour
  • 1 large egg room temperature

Pastry Cream

  • 32 ounces (904 g) whole milk substitute: almond, soy, coconut milk etc.
  • 5 ounces (141 g) sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract use vanilla bean paste or 1 vanilla bean pod if desired
  • 3 ounces (85 g) cornstarch
  • 4 ounces (113 g) sugar
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 large egg
  • 4 ounces (113 g) unsalted butter softened

Fresh Fruit Tart

  • 1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate optional for keeping the crust from getting soggy.
  • 2 cups mixed berries of your choice
  • 2 Tablespoons apricot preserves for glazing any kind of jam will work.
  • 1 Tablespoon water

Equipment

  • Rolling Pin
  • Stand mixer with the paddle attachment
  • 9 1/2" Tart pan with a removable bottom. (You can also use a pie pan.)
  • Pie weights for blind baking (Or dried beans, rice, etc.)
  • pastry brush
  • Knife

Instructions

Pâte sucrée (tart dough recipe)

  • Add the butter into the bowl of your stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed for about 30 seconds.
  • Place a colander over the bowl of your stand mixer and sift in your powdered sugar. This is not required, but if your powdered sugar has lumps in it, it will show up in your crust.
  • Add in the salt. Mix on low until everything is combined.
  • Add in the vanilla and the egg and mix until combined.
  • Then gradually add your flour and mix until everything starts to come together and a dough forms.
  • Divide the dough into 2 pieces. (This is enough for 2 tarts.) Wrap dough in plastic wrap and flatten into 2 disks. Refrigerate for minimum of 1 hour before using. If you skip this step, your crust will melt in the oven.

Pastry Cream

  • Bring milk and first quantity of sugar (5 oz) to a simmer over medium high heat. Whisking constantly to avoid burning.
  • In a separate, large heat proof bowl, combine the eggs, cornstarch, vanilla extract, and the second quantity of sugar (4 oz), whisk to combine.
  • Once the milk is simmering, turn off the heat and add 1/4 of your hot milk mixture to the egg mixture VERY slowly while whisking constantly. This is going to temper your egg yolk mixture and avoid curdled scrambled eggs. Whisk until smooth.
  • Turn the heat back on (medium) and slowly add the mixture to the rest of the milk in your saucepan, whisking constantly. Bring to a simmer.
  • Once your mixture starts bubbling, continue whisking for 1 minute to ensure the mixture is cooked and properly thickened.
  • Pour your mixture into a heatproof container. Divide your softened butter into cubes and place them on top of the pastry cream, allowing them to melt. Do not cover.
  • Allow your pastry cream to cool at room temperature until just warm to the touch. This will take a few hours.
  • Stir in your butter with a whisk. Don't be worried if it looks curdled at first, this is normal. Just keep whisking until smooth.
  • Optional: Blend pastry cream with an emersion blender to make it extra smooth.
  • Cover with plastic wrap so that it's touching the surface of the pastry cream to avoid a skin forming. Chill before using. Can be kept in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.

The Tart Shell

  • Take your tart dough out of the refrigerator about 30 minutes before rolling it out. It should be slightly flexible but still firm.
  • Lightly flour your surface and rolling pin and roll it out to 1/8 inch thick. Don't make it too thick! Use a ruler to check the thickness. Rotate frequently and pinch together any cracks when rolling.
  • Roll the dough up onto your rolling pin and lay it into the tart shell.
  • Carefully lift the dough up on the sides and press it into the pan. Use your fingers to press the dough into the ridges on the side. Don't press too hard that you press through the dough. Make sure you get into the bottom corners!
  • Roll your rolling pin flush across the top of the tart shell to remove the excess dough. (Squish together the leftovers and save them to make another tart!)
  • Freeze the tart shell for 20 minutes. Do NOT skip this step!
  • Preheat your oven to 350ºF
  • Press a layer of tin foil into the tart shell, all the way into the corners and fill with pie weights. (Also do this if you're using a regular pie pan instead of a tart shell.)
  • Place on top of a baking sheet and blind bake in the oven for 30 minutes. Rotate after 15 minutes to promote even browning. After 30 minutes, lift out the weights and bake for another 10 minutes. The edges will be golden brown and will start to pull away from the edges of the pan.
  • Place the whole tart and pan into the fridge to cool down.

Assembling The Fruit Tart

  • Wash all your fruit and dry fully.
  • Cut off the tops of your strawberries and slice 1/8 inch thick.
  • Cut the ends of the kiwi off and use a sharp paring knife to cut off the skin. Slice 1/8 inch thick.
  • Gently lift your cooled tart out of the tart pan. Transfer to a plate or keep it on the bottom pan. (Tip: dab a bit of chocolate to the plate to keep the tart from sliding around.)
  • Optional: Melt down the chocolate and brush a thin layer onto inside of the tart shell. (This will keep the crust from getting soggy.)
  • Refrigerate for 5-10 minutes to set the chocolate.
  • Add in the pastry cream and use a spatula to smooth it out. Fill the tart 3/4 full with cream.
  • Add the fruit to decorate however you like! See my pictures above for ideas.
  • Mix the apricot preserves and water, microwave until melted. Glaze the cut fruit (strawberries and kiwi) with the mixture.
  • Serve immediately or refrigerate overnight. Lasts 1-2 days in the refrigerator.

Notes

Chocolate- melt low and slow. In a glass bowl, microwave for 30 seconds, stir, 15 seconds, stir, and continue until the chocolate is almost fully melted. Do not burn!
You CANNOT half or quarter the tart dough or pastry cream recipes because they each have 1 whole egg as a required ingredient. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 537kcal (27%) | Carbohydrates: 65g (22%) | Protein: 7g (14%) | Fat: 28g (43%) | Saturated Fat: 17g (85%) | Cholesterol: 103mg (34%) | Sodium: 147mg (6%) | Potassium: 167mg (5%) | Fiber: 1g (4%) | Sugar: 36g (40%) | Vitamin A: 881IU (18%) | Calcium: 103mg (10%) | Iron: 2mg (11%)