Addictive Recipes from a Self-Taught Baker

Fresh Fruit Tart with Vanilla Mascarpone Cream

How to make homemade fresh fruit tart with buttery pastry crust and mascarpone cream filling! Recipe and step pictures on sallysbakingaddiction.com

We’ve got fresh fruit tart on the dessert menu today! I’ve been waiting for the weather to warm up to make, shoot, and post this beauty. It’s been gray and rainy all month, but when the sun finally showed up– I broke out my hand mixer, chopped up a million pounds of fruit, and decided mascarpone + vanilla bean is all you really need in life.

Will you just look at this rainbow of fresh & fruity goodness. ♥

Fresh fruit for fruit tart on sallysbakingaddiction.com

The wonderful thing about this classic dessert is that there’s minimal bake time. The crust is only baked for about 15 minutes or so, then you let it cool and fill with the good stuff. And it’s the kind of dessert that looks like you poured your heart and soul into it, when in reality you made the pastry crust yesterday (make ahead! YAY!) and spent most of the time sampling all the fruit you were cutting. Muhaha.

There are 3 components to this recipe:

  1. The Make Ahead Crust
  2. The Zero Effort Cream Filling
  3. The Sparkly Fruit

I was very click happy during the process, so there’s a ridiculous amount of pictures in your scrolling future. I want to make sure you understand exactly what you’re doing. It’s all very manageable, but there’s just a few steps to get there. Let’s get right to it!

fruit-tart-2

The Make Ahead Crust

This classic dessert starts with a sweetened pastry crust. It’s sort of like pie dough, sort of like a cookie– but very much its own unique masterpiece. Crust like this lends the perfect sweet crunch under the blanket of vanilla cream and mountain of fresh fruit. It can be made ahead and refrigerated or stick it in the freezer for later this summer.

You’ll begin with dry ingredients like flour, sugar, and salt. The first time I made this, I flew by the seat of my pants and used granulated sugar to sweeten the dough. This was totally NOT the right idea and after a little researching, I learned that the granulated sugar cuts up all the butter– which causes it to melt into an ugly greasy mass. It’s hideous. Save yourself the agony! Powdery confectioners’ sugar is the way to go.

Like you do with pie dough, you will cut fat into the dry ingredients– and in this case, that fat is butter. I do not use shortening; I prefer shortening in pie crust to create all those fabulous flaky layers. But we don’t need that here, so butter it is. Make sure your butter is cold because you don’t want it quickly melting. Again, you’ll wind up with an ugly greasy butter puddle mess.

I recommend a pastry cutter to cut in the butter. I’ve seen pastry crust made in a food processor so if that is more convenient for you, go ahead! I’ll include instructions below. But I’ve always preferred to work with a pastry cutter. You have more control over the dough that way. Hi I’m a control freak, have we met?

The crust in photos:

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fruit-tart-dough

The wet ingredients is a combination of: egg, cream, and vanilla for flavor. Some recipes call for just an egg yolk, but the entire egg gives not only tenderness from the fat (yolk), but structure from the protein (egg white). For extra creamy goodness, I add 2 Tablespoons of cold heavy cream. You’ll need cream for the filling too, so don’t feel bad about picking up a small carton!

After a little mixing, the dough comes together in a mass. At this point you’ll chill it for at least 1 hour. Remember, cold dough is the best dough. It will hold its shape and structure better when heading into the oven.

Homemade Pastry Crust

Roll out into a circle, then transfer to a tart pan. Then, press it down into the pan so it fits nice ‘n’ snug. The crust is bound to lose some of its shape when exposed to direct heat, so you’re going to blind bake it using pie weights. If you’re like ” Sally what the heck do I do with pie weights?” read this article on The Kitchn. Breaks it down for us! If you do not have pie weights (get some!), the only way around preventing that dough from shrinking and losing shape is to freeze it before baking. Freeze the shaped dough inside your tart pan. Like, the whole thing. Learned this from Smitten Kitchen!

Before filling, you’ll want the tart crust to completely cool after baking.

The Zero Effort Cream Filling

A walk in the park. Just mascarpone, heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla. A lot of fruit tarts call for a more detailed pastry cream or custard and while it’s undeniably delicious, I opted for a different and less complicated path. In case you want to try it, I’ve made this pastry cream before and it is 10 stars fantastic.

For flavor, I use a mix of vanilla bean and pure vanilla extract. I just love the flavor from actual vanilla bean AND those little black specks make me feel all refined and elegant. Mascarpone is subtly sweet and buttery– the key flavor in tiramisu so YOU KNOW it’s going to be good in this tart. The filling kinda tastes like cheesecake, actually. And you know what would be extra dreamy? Adding a little lemon juice and zest to the cream filling. Or maybe even a sprinkle of cinnamon? Is that weird?

Spread the filling into the crust, then you’re almost done…

Vanilla Mascarpone Cream on sallysbakingaddiction.com

The Sparkly Fruit

Now let’s get all artsy and decorate that sucker. You can decorate the tart with circles or rows of fruit or you can say to hell with this and pile it all randomly on top. Either way it will look good and either way it will taste good.

Do you like your fruit tarts to have that glossy, sparkly sheen? I really don’t care but it looks really pretty, so we’re doing it for the blog. The fruit tart sheen comes from fruit preserves– a light color variety like orange or apricot. Just whisk the preserves with water and brush it on top of the fruit. Besides keeping the fruit from drying out, I don’t really see the point of this step other than the omg-so-pretty factor, so you can skip it if you’re serving this dessert right away.

Omg so pretty right?

How to make homemade fresh fruit tart with buttery pastry crust and mascarpone cream filling! Recipe and step pictures on sallysbakingaddiction.com

I’ve officially talked your ears (eyes?) off, so let me finish with the slice that immediately went into my mouth after shooting this photo.

How to make homemade fresh fruit tart with buttery pastry crust and mascarpone cream filling! Recipe and step pictures on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Click here to PIN this recipe for later. Because there will be a later!

Fresh Fruit Tart with Vanilla Mascarpone Cream

Save time and prepare the crust and cream ahead of time. See my make ahead tips below the written recipe.

Ingredients:

Crust

  • 2 Tablespoons (30ml) cold heavy cream
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 and 1/3 cups (167g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup (60g) confectioners' sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (115g; 1 stick) unsalted butter, cold and cubed

Vanilla Mascarpone Cream

  • 8 ounces mascarpone, at room temperature1
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) heavy cream, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup (30g) confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • seeds scraped from 1/2 vanilla bean (or use an extra 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract)

Fruit & Glaze

  • assorted fresh sliced fruit
  • optional glaze: 2 Tablespoons orange or apricot preserves mixed with 1 Tablespoon water

Directions:

  1. Whisk the heavy cream, egg, and vanilla together in a small bowl. Set aside.
  2. There are two options for this step: by hand using a pastry cutter or using a food processor. You can do it either way. To use a pastry cutter: Whisk the flour, confectioners' sugar, and salt together in a medium bowl. Place the cubed butter on top and cut in using the pastry cutter until the entire mixture resembles pea-sized crumbs-- a few larger crumbs is OK. Pour the wet ingredients on top and stir to combine. You can use your hands to really get it all combined if needed. To use a food processor: Place the flour, confectioners' sugar, and salt in a food processor. Pulse a few times to blend. Add the cubed butter and pulse until the mixture resembles pea-sized crumbs-- a few larger crumbs is OK. Add the wet ingredients, then pulse until the dough comes together and forms a ball.
  3. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and flatten into a 1-inch thick disc. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour or up to 2 days. (See make ahead tips.)
  4. Remove dough from the refrigerator and roll out into a 9-inch circle. Place into a greased 9-inch tart pan and press it down into the pan and up the sides until it is even all around. Refrigerate as the oven preheats or for at least 10 minutes. Cold dough is important.
  5. Preheat oven to 400°F (204°C). Remove crust from the refrigerator, line the inside with foil, and fill with pie weights. The pie weights prevent the crust from puffing up, shrinking, and/or losing shape. (Alternatively, you can freeze the dough and bake from frozen without using pie weights. It will take about 20 minutes to bake if frozen.)
  6. Bake the crust for 10 minutes, remove crust from the oven, reduce oven heat to 350°F (177°C), and carefully remove the foil and weights. Use a fork to prick a few holes into the bottom of the crust and bake, without weights, for 5-6 more minutes or until lightly golden brown. Allow to cool completely before filling.
  7. For the cream filling: Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the mascarpone for 1 minute on medium-high speed. Then, very slow add the heavy cream with the mixer running on low. Do not add it all at once, the mascarpone could curdle. Next, add the confectioners' sugar, vanilla extract, and vanilla bean. Beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Spread into cooled crust. Refrigerate until ready to garnish with fruit or garnish right away.
  8. Garnish the tart with fresh fruit. Whisk the optional glaze ingredients together, warm for about 15 seconds in the microwave, then brush on top of the fruit. Slice and enjoy! Leftovers keep well in the refrigerator for a few days.

Make ahead tips: Prepare the crust through step 3 and refrigerate for up to 2 days or freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator then let sit at room temperature until easily rollable. You can also prepare and bake the crust, then let the crust cool in the pan to room temperature. Put the tart in the freezer for about 1 hour to let it firm up, then wrap it in plastic and freeze it for up to a month. When ready to serve, unwrap the crust and let it thaw before filling and decorating. The mascarpone cream can also be prepared ahead and refrigerated for up to 3 days before using.

Recipe Notes:

Recommended products: 9-inch tart pan with removable sides (I love this one; its so easy to clean and inexpensive too!), pastry cutter, and pie weights.

  1. Mascarpone can easily curdle. To prevent this, please make sure all of the mascarpone cream filling ingredients are room temperature. To prevent curdling, it's best to whip the mascarpone first then slowly add the heavy cream. I did some research online and found a way to save your mascarpone cream filling if it does curdle. Over low heat in a double boiler, heat and whisk the curdled cream until all lumps are gone and it is smooth. Then let it cool to room temperature and whip it for a few seconds with the mixer.

Crust adapted from Baking Illustrated

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Because I think you’ll love the cuteness… mini fruit tarts!

You can use this exact recipe, just fit and blind bake the crust in mini tart pans. This crust fits nicely into about six 4-inch mini tart pans (I own these and these). You can use larger tart pans for less tarts or smaller tart pans for more tarts. Blind bake the mini crusts until lightly browned on the sides. The 4-inch size took about 12 minutes in the oven. Wait for them to cool, then fill and decorate. 🙂

How to make mini fruit tarts with buttery pastry crust and mascarpone cream filling! Recipe and step pictures on sallysbakingaddiction.com

How to make homemade fresh fruit tart with buttery pastry crust and mascarpone cream filling! Recipe and step pictures on sallysbakingaddiction.com

86 comments

  1. I love all  your recipes 

  2. I made the dough a few days ago, and it came out sticky…i thought it would get better once chilled, however when i thawed it in the fridge and then rolled it, it remained sticky and was very hard to work with…i made it into small individual tarts and they are in the oven right now!
    …did your dough come out sticky as well??

    • Christine, would a little flour on your hands, rolling pin, and work surface help? And how did they turn out?

      • I did add flour to my hands as well as the work surface, but it remained sticky.
        it tasted good, but was very hard to work with
        do you think its because i used milk instead of heavy cream

  3. Hi Sally!  I love your recipes!  I finally bought a digital scale and it is so helpful that you list the weight of the ingredients in grams.  Yesterday I was making the mascarpone filling for the fruit tart and it curdled and separated!  I had the mascarpone and heavy cream sitting out for an hour and a half beforehand to get it to room temperature.  What do you think went wrong?

    • Hi Deb! I actually got to work on this issue over the weekend. I just updated the recipe with a few tips and notes. I find it is best to whip the mascarpone FIRST then add the cream. I also added another note about how to save the mascarpone. Did some research online too. It’s a common issue, but can be avoided and can be fixed! So sorry.

  4. Hi Sally,

    Thank you so much for adding the tips on the mascarpone cheese. I tried this over the weekend and had the same issue with it curdling. I was able to somewhat save it by adding in fresh whipped cream but I know the texture of the filling wasn’t what it should’ve been. Either way it was really delicious and everyone loved it. The crust is fabulous and I am going to try this crust with a cherry pie. I will definitely be trying this tart again!

  5. Hi Sally!
    Is the filling supposed to be thick like cream cheese or more liquid?
    I feel like it won’t set in the fridge, seems too liquid. Please calm me down before I start over!!!
    thanks!
    Judi

    • It’s supposed to be somewhat thick, yes. The cream thins and smooths it out, but it’s still quite thick and spreadable. Did you use mascarpone? Or change any ingredients?

  6. Had curdling. Nuked it on defrost for 15 seconds, then whipped again with hand mixer. It smoothed perfectly! Question: for future, would like to add lemon juice/zest. When during the mixing should I do this?

  7. Mmmm ok 
    Crust is tasty but took a lot longer to cook , a lot! 
    Filling too sweet , added some cream cheese and lemon rind to cut the sugar flavor 
    I’d give it a B 
    Suzan 
    [email protected]

  8. Can you use regular sugar in the filling? I used the last of mind in the crust

  9. When taking the dough out of the fridge, do you let it come to room temperature before rolling out? Also my dough was very sticky going into the fridge even though I followed the direction exactly and used the same ingredients 🙁

    • You can add a little extra flour if it is too sticky. You can let it sit out for 10-15 minutes to soften up a bit. This will help make rolling it a little easier.

  10. Hi Sally
    Hope all is well
    Thanks for your posts
    I have a question
    How I can prevent my tart pastry to shortening less? Specially in wall’s height

  11. Is there a way to make the crust without egg.   Have a couple of folks who don’t eat egg coming over, was looking at this as my vegetarian dessert option 

  12. what do you mean by seeds scraped from 1/2 vanilla bean?
    3/4 tbsp of vanilla bean?

  13. Is there a ready made tart crust I can purchase????

  14. Hi Sally! Whenever I try to make the crust, it is always super sticky and soft and pretty much unworkable. I use a food processor- could it be that I am blending it too finely? Thank you!

  15. Hi Sally, can I make this tart before the party begins. How long it can stay without getting soggy

  16. Can I replace ur base crust with graham crackers crust n rest follow the recipe 

  17. My mascarpone and cream curdled.  After a little thinking, I added a large package of cream cheese to the mixture and whipped it in.
    Worked like a charm Saved my dessert!  
    Louann S.

  18. Hi Sally,

    Do you think I could use this base in a pie crust and use the Greek yogurt filling from the Greek yogurt fruit tart?

  19. My cream filling curdled, but I heated it in the double boiler and the lumps went away. WHen I went to whip the cream again, it was not as thick in was on the runny side. Does it just need to get cold and set in the fridge for a few hours?

  20. can i use cream cheese instead of mascpone cheese?

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