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.
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!
3 Parts to Fresh Fruit Tart
- Make Ahead Crust
- Cream Filling
- Sparkly Fruit Topping
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.
- 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).
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Let the crust cool completely.
The crust in photos:
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.
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.
More Baking Recipes Using Fresh Fruit
- Fruit Pizza
- Mini Fruit Galettes
- Greek Yogurt Fruit Tart
- Berry Cobbler
- Mixed Berry Slab Pie
- Lemon Strawberry Crumb Bars
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.
- 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
- For the crust: Whisk the heavy cream, egg, and vanilla together in a small bowl. Set aside.
- 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.
- 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.)
- 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.
- 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.)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 & 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.
- Special Tools: 9-inch tart pan with removable sides, pastry cutter, and pie weights.
- 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.
- 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. 🙂