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With a sweet pastry crust and smooth cream filling, homemade fresh fruit tart is simply elegant. Always impressive, this classic dessert is surprisingly easy to prepare– you can save time and even make the crust and cream ahead of time! See my make ahead instructions below the recipe. 

overhead image of fruit tart

We’ve got fresh fruit tart on the dessert menu!

The wonderful thing about this classic dessert is that there’s minimal bake time. The crust only bakes for about 15 minutes, then you let it cool and fill it 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 (it’s make ahead!) and spent most of the time sampling all the fruit you were cutting.

I include a lot of step-by-step pictures today. While this recipe is very manageable, I want you to have full confidence before beginning. Let’s dive into this beauty!

fresh fruit on a white cutting board

3 Parts to Fresh Fruit Tart

  1. Make Ahead Crust
  2. Cream Filling
  3. Sparkly Fruit Topping
overhead image of fresh fruit tart

Fresh Fruit Tart Crust

The base of our tart is a sweetened pastry crust. It’s kind of like pie dough, kind 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.

  1. Whisk the wet ingredients together. This includes an egg, cream, and vanilla for flavor. Some recipes call for just an egg yolk, but the entire egg adds tenderness from the fat (yolk) and structure from the protein (egg white).
  2. Combine the dry ingredients. We use flour, confectioners’ sugar, and salt. The first time I tested this recipe, I used granulated sugar to sweeten the dough. This did not turn out well– the granulated sugar cuts up all the butter, which causes the crust to melt into a buttery mass. Powdery confectioners’ sugar is the way to go!
  3. Cut in the butter. Like you do with pie crust, use a pastry cutter to cut butter into the dry ingredients. Make sure your butter is cold– you don’t want it to melt before baking.
  4. Add the wet ingredients. After a little mixing, the dough comes together into a ball. Chill it for at least 1 hour. Remember, cold dough is the best dough. It will hold its shape and structure better while baking.
  5. Roll out the dough. Roll the dough into a circle and transfer it to a tart pan. Press it down into the pan so it’s really snug.
  6. Blind bake the pie crust. The crust will lose some shape when exposed to direct heat, so we blind bake the crust using pie weights. (If you’re interested, here’s a post all about how to blind bake pie crust.) If you do not have pie weights, freeze the crust before baking. This prevents the dough from shrinking and losing shape– I learned this from Smitten Kitchen.
  7. Let the crust cool completely.

The crust in photos:

2 images of fruit tart dough mixture before and after adding butter in glass bowls

2 images of fruit tart dough mixture before and after adding heavy cream in glass bowls

fruit tart dough in a ball

fruit tart dough in a tart pan

Fruit Tart Filling

Many fruit tarts call for a detailed pastry cream or custard– while undeniably delicious, we’re keeping it simple. Just 4 ingredients needed for our zero effort cream filling: mascarpone, heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla. It tastes like cheesecake!

For flavor, use a mix of vanilla bean and pure vanilla extract. Vanilla pairs wonderfully with subtly sweet and buttery mascarpone– the key flavor in tiramisu so YOU KNOW it’s going to be good in this tart. To make it extra dreamy, try adding a little lemon juice and zest to the cream filling.

vanilla mascarpone cream in a glass bowl

Fresh Fruit Topping

Here’s where you have full creative control. When selecting fruit for a fruit tart, I look for variation in color, texture, and size– as well as what flavors pair nicely together. Decorate the tart with circles or rows of fruit, or pile it all randomly on top. Either way it will taste good!

For the sparkly shimmer, brush some jam on top. Choose a light color variety like orange or apricot, water it down, and brush it on top of the fruit. While totally optional, sparkles are always a good idea.

brushing fruit glaze onto fresh fruit tart

fresh fruit tart with a slice cut out

More Baking Recipes Using Fresh Fruit

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brushing fruit glaze onto fresh fruit tart

Fresh Fruit Tart with Vanilla Mascarpone Cream

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 4 hours
  • Yield: 1 9-inch tart 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

How to make homemade fresh fruit tart with buttery pastry crust and mascarpone cream filling. Save time and prepare the crust and cream ahead of time! See my make ahead tips below the written recipe.


Ingredients

Scale

Crust

  • 2 Tablespoons (30ml) cold heavy cream
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 and 1/3 cups (166g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 1/2 cup (60g) confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (115g; 1 stick) unsalted butter, cold and cubed

Vanilla Mascarpone Cream

  • 1/2 cup (120ml) cold heavy cream
  • 8 ounces mascarpone, 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

Instructions

  1. For the crust: 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 heavy cream mixture 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 heavy cream mixture, 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 heavy cream until stiff peaks form, about 3 minutes. Set aside. In the same mixing bowl (no need to wipe completely clean), beat the mascarpone for 1 minute on medium-high speed. Add the confectioners’ sugar, vanilla extract, and vanilla bean. Beat on medium-high speed until combined. Fold in the whipped cream. 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.

Notes

  1. Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: 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.
  2. Special Tools: 9-inch tart pan with removable sides, pastry cutter, and pie weights.
  3. 2019 Update: The filling ingredients remain the same, but I made a small update as many readers had trouble with the mascarpone curdling with the heavy cream. As now directed in the recipe, beat the heavy cream into stiff peaks then fold into the other ingredients. The filling is much smoother that way.
  4. Crust adapted from Baking Illustrated.

Keywords: fresh fruit tart, fruit tart, fruit mascarpone tart

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 this set of 6 tart pans and these mini 4-inch tart pans). 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. 🙂

overhead image of mini fruit tarts

Reader Questions and Reviews

  1. Made this exactly as directed and received rave reviews. The crust was perfect, the filling rich and creamy. Will definitely make again!

  2. While everything tastes yummy, the pastry shrunk terribly. I followed the directions exactly, too, so I’m very disappointed.

    1. Hi Samantha, full-fat block cream cheese will work in its place — same amount. Enjoy!

    2. For 1 cup mascarpone
      Use 1/2 cup sour cream
      1/2 cup cream cheese
      These are best substitute for mascarpone if you cant afford for mass production for selling.

  3. Love your recipes, they are incredible! Would the crust work ok if baked in a mini muffin pan? This sounds delish but I need mini fruit tarts. Thanks!

    1. Hi Carrie, you can, we’d just recommend you use liners so that you can easily remove and serve the tarts. They would be difficult to remove without them!

  4. Made these tarts yesterday and they turned out perfectly! We made 4 medium size tarts, 2 of them followed this recipe and 2 were filled with semi-sweet chocolate ganache, a raspberry compote, and then had the piped vanilla mascarpone cream on top. Yum!

  5. Can I use pastry cream or whipped cream for the filling?

    1. Hi Amy, pastry cream would be lovely in this fruit tart!

  6. So sad, with the outcome of the filling.
    I followed everything to the book. As soon as I added the sugar and vanilla extract to the mascarpone and started whisking, it completely curdled and went watery and lumpy? I hadn’t even added the cream. A complete waste of mascarpone.

    1. I had the same experience with my mascarpone curdling. Maybe it sat out too long to get it to room temperature? Otherwise, the recipe is delicious!

    2. Hello lisa next time the mascarpone mix curled up just either heat it in microwave whiping it by hand every 30 sec or do double boiler while whipping to remove the lumps and refrigerate again before adding whip cream mixture.
      Do not use machine mixer just use hand whip its more controllable..

  7. What can I use instead of cold heavy cream for the crust?
    Or is there a homemade substitute for heavy cream?

    1. Hi Kinjal, You need heavy cream (or heavy whipping cream) for the filling also, but for the crust you could try half and half or another full fat non-dairy beverage although we haven’t tested it.

      1. I’ve read recipes for heavy cream on the internet which say I can mix milk and butter and make heavy cream. Do you think that would work? Because the problem is where I live, the whipping cream that we get already has sugar in it, so I would know how to substitute that in place of heavy cream because the crust requires us to add more sugar in it

  8. Hi Sally! Could I use a pie dish instead of a tart pan for this? I want to make it, but don’t have a tart pan yet. 🙂

    1. Hi Lydia! You can use a 9-inch springform pan. Or the same size pie dish, but it will be tricky to cut neatly with the pan’s sides.

    2. Oh my goodness. I just made this and I am floored by how awesome it turned out. Thank you for making me look good in the kitchen ;).

  9. I’m afraid this one didn’t work for me. Filling turned out being the same consistency as water. Completely unusable.

  10. Normally love recipes from this site. But for some reason, whenever I make a dough crust off of here, it comes out way too soft and sticky, like a paste, and won’t form a ball. I have to add like 1/3 cup of flour.

    I don’t know why. I use European butter and I measure my ingredients in grams, I don’t use volumetric measurements. Can someone help?

    1. I had the same experience and couldn’t figure out why. The first time I used Tillamook butter which I think might have been too creamy. The second crust I made, I used good old Land O’ Lakes, and it turned out great. I also switched from using my food processor to using my stand mixer with the paddle attachment.

    2. Hey Lauren double check measurements and try converting to ounces etc.
      also if your measurements accurate try to separate the liquid ingreidents and dry
      Do not mix them right away in one bowl and make sure the butter is well chilled hard to cut into small chunks or dice

  11. I agree. I followed the metric measurements and the crust was watery. I had to use extra 1/4 cup of flour to get it to crumbly texture.

  12. These were delicious I love your website and your passion for Baking. All of the baking items I have tried from your website have never failed, and we eat them way to quickly!

  13. Had curdled cream despite the recipe revision, and the pie crust shrank (2.5 hour rest time, this likely needs overnight). Flavor was good, but the texture and visual was a bummer

  14. Sally I love your recipes so much! For this one, I found that my tart did not turn golden brown. so i baked longer (for about 11 mins without the foil on after already baking for 10 mins with the foil and weights on). But then my crust became rock hard… can you please offer some suggestions? I used an 11 inch pan as i did not have the 9 inch so the dough was already spread fairly thin so i would have thought this would have allowed quicker browning. Thank you kindly! I did follow the recipe to a tee!

  15. The crust is a mess- couldn’t get it to brown after going significantly over the recommended baking time, didn’t roll out well at all, was extremely gluey. Usually have success with Sally’s recipes but not this one.

  16. I made this twice – both times with a separate tart base recipe. I mainly used the recipe for the mascarpone filling.

    The first time I made it, it was absolutely gorgeous. The second time, however, the mascarpone curdled and I ended up with a grainy texture that was a bit too wet to hold its shape. The difference was in the mascarpone temperature. The first time, I actually forgot to take the mascarpone out to get it to room temperature. I actually think that was why it worked – it needs to be cold. Hopefully that helps someone! It tastes absolutely delicious – just need to be mindful of the temperature of the mascarpone.

  17. Can I use this recipe in a long rectangle tart pan? Would I need to double the recipe?

  18. Made this several times last year and will undoubtedly be making sever times this year. Turned out beautifully each time. Thanks for the recipe! I would attach a picture, if I could figure out how!

  19. It looks delicious but I need to make a gluten free version. Can I substitute all-purpose gluten free flour for regular all-purpose flour in the crust? Do you have any tips on baking with gluten-free flour – this will be a first for me. I’ve made so many of your other recipes and they always turn out amazing!

    1. Hi Andrew! I wish we could help more but aren’t experts at gluten free baking. Some readers have reported success using 1:1 flour substitutes (like Cup4Cup) in other recipes. If you try it, let us know how it goes!

  20. Made this for Easter. It looked and tasted gorgeous! My husband says he doesn’t like desserts (unless they are chocolate!) and he went back for seconds as did my other guest.

    I had no trouble with the mascarpone, but I made the filling cold.

    I did blind bake the crust and agree with others that it never really browned despite extra time in the oven. I used a food processor to mix it. It was firm and flaky and my friend said she loved it.

    Overall a HIT!!!

  21. I followed the recepie step by step. Crust came out nicely but the filling was a disaster ! will give a try with cold mascarpone.

    1. Hi Guna, was the filling curdled by chance? Be sure to beat the heavy cream into stiff peaks then fold into the other ingredients. The filling is much smoother that way. Let us know if we can help troubleshoot further!

  22. If I wanted to use a cupcake/muffin pan for smaller tarts, should I still use liners?

    1. Hi Stephanie, definitely! Use liners so you can easily remove and serve them.

      1. Thanks! Would you also still recommend pressing the dough into the molds and freeze or use weights to reduce puffing?

  23. Would you also recommend using a cutout or something to cut the dough (after rolling) into uniform shapes before pressing into the molds? Thank you!

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