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:

fruit-tart-dough-2

fruit-tart-dough-3

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!

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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
  • 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

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 (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 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 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 (I love this one; it’s so easy to clean and inexpensive too!), 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: 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 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

111 Comments

  1. looks delish sally!!! you’ve done again!!! I am so trying this this weekend. so excited!!ahhh!!
    you really inspire me to be happy and bake thx! there was a period of time were i was depressed but prayers and your website helped me alot thx!I have tried so many recipes from your website and of course they come out great!! can’t wait to try this one!! thx in advance!!

                   -deborah:)

  2. Your photos are gorgeous as always. And the sunlight definitely captured the vibrancy of all these fresh fruits. I love that the mascarpone cream takes no effort to make. And I can just already picture how incredible the vanilla flavor will taste with all those fresh fruits. This tart is soo perfect for the summer.

    1. Well, my wife told me to pop over and check out your today so that means there’s a hint I’m supposed to take. She really like her fruit tarts and that’s her Birthday request each year….homemade fruit tart. I better bookmark this page. And she really likes real “vanilla bean” in food whenever possible. Better get on this pronto. 

  3. making pastry cream requires some mental prep and lots of mise en place and too many dishes, so i love this easy vanilla mascarpone you came up with!

  4. Two things: I’m confused about the only yolk/whole egg business in the crust. I thought we needed the egg white for structure? But then in the recipe you only list the egg yolk? I hate having extra egg whites aroung because I always end up throwing them away.. haha And on another note, my grandma always told me that instead of ‘proper’ pie weights, you could just cover the crust with baking paper and pour dried lentils on top and simply bake it that way. Has worked for me so far 🙂 I’m thinking I’ll have to include this tart in my birthday brunch spread – it just looks so pretty!

    1. It should be 1 whole egg, sorry about that! And yes, dried lentils, rice, or beans certainly work as pie weights too. 🙂 Perfect for a birthday!

  5. Sweet tart doughs are the best because they taste kind of like a cookie under all that amazing tart filling! This is quite gorgeous!

  6. So so pretty, Sally! I’m sold on every bit of this…a cookie-ish crust?? Perfect! Plus cheesecake and fruit 😀 Your photographs are gorgeous and belong in a magazine, although then the glossiness might be blinding between the paper and your glaze 😉 I’m glad you finally got some sunshine…we’ve been languishing in rain too. My hair is frizzy as heck, haha.

    1. Thanks Caley! I like how these pictures turned out. 🙂

      My hair has seen better days but I’m in Utah this week and it’s LOVING the dry air lol

  7. As I do not have pie weights, I will have to freeze the dough and bake from frozen. Does that mean I have to bake the crust for longer or do I just bake it the same way as if it had only been refrigerated ? Thanks

  8. Love that you broke it down into those 3 components, it really does look easy! 🙂 This looks like the perfect Memorial Day dessert!! 

    1. 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.

  9. Okay, but how did you even resist eating this until you took all of these amazing photos? How?! I would’ve snuck a bite and taken a photo, acting like it was “on purpose.” Lol. Love how you arranged these fruits, Sally! I seriously feel like I’m looking at a famous painting of fruits. 🙂 Pinning, as always. 🙂
    Btw, did I tell you, I just ordered my FIRST custom board for food photography!!! I’m so excited!! Gonna email you pics as soon as I get it! Hope you have an enjoyable weekend, Sally! xo

    1. It was hard to restrain myself, trust me! And I can’t wait to see the board you got. I’m a board junkie right now! I want to buy them all.

  10. This is such a fresh and pretty summer dessert. My first thought when I saw all the fruit piled on top was “You could arrange the fruit to look like the Canadian flag for Canada Day!” and “You could arrange small fruits like blueberries and blackberries to spell out words like ‘Happy Birthday.'” I definitely want to try this this summer, but I’ve never bought mascarpone cheese before. Does it come in a wrapping packaging like butter or cream cheese or in a tub like sour cream? 

    1. Hey Hayley! LOVE your fun ideas for decorating. Mascarpone typically comes in a tub like sour cream. And it’s usually sold in 8 ounce tubs with a couple other size options too.

  11. OMG – I am so making this.  In fact, I am going to get creative somehow and make this for my niece’s reveal-she-is-pregnant party.  Maybe a couple of mini tarts, one with pink fruit (??) and the other with blue.  Hmm, good think I have until June 11th to figure that out.  This looks stunning and I always wondered what made the fruit so pretty!  You rock, Sally!

  12. We don’t mind that you went a little click happy 🙂 those little tarts are absolutely adorable. My favorite brunch place has a vanilla bean mascarpone that they have on a bunch of their breakfast dishes and I can attest to it being probably one of the most unexpectedly delicious toppings/fillings. These beauties are indeed omg, so pretty 🙂

  13. Yas, make the fruit glossy for the blog!! It looks beautiful, Sally. So spring and summery.

  14. This is beautiful, Sally! Nothing beats a good fruit tart in the summer…and I mean it’s sort of healthy, with all the fruit, right?

  15. This fruit tart is absolutely gorgeous and I especially love the little tarts, so cute and elegant, dainty that I could eat in 2-3 big gulps ;-D Fruit tart screams summer, can’t wait for warmer and sunnier days (it’s been quite rainy and cold where I’m at). How’s the house/kitchen remodeling coming? When will you be moving? (and packing up your kitchen -> that’s something that always scares me a bit when I think of how my kitchen and supplies would be in boxes for a week or two and how I could go living without them ;-p lol)

    1. Thanks Stella! Oh gosh the kitchen renovation is taking awhile and we won’t have it complete until sometime in July. And we’re moving in just a couple weeks! Things will be crazy for awhile.

  16. This looks delicious, desserts with fruit are my favourite! The mascarpone cream sounds amazing. I’m hoping you have a tiramisu recipe in the works!!

  17. *French food vocabulary snob incoming*

    Your crust is not a pâte sucrée, it’s a pâte sablée. For a pâte sucrée, you would cream the butter and sugar, then add the egg, then the dry ingredients. For a pâte sablée, you rub the butter into the dry ingredients until you have a sandy mixture then add the egg.
    The pâte sablée has a crumblier texture than the pâte sucrée ; it’s also easier to work with. However, I personnaly like the taste of pâte sucrée more!
    If you want to try pâte sucrée one day, I always use this really good recipe from famous chef Pierre Hermé: cream 140g butter with 75g confectionner’s sugar, add the seeds of a vanilla bean (or some vanilla extract) and an egg. Add 25g ground almound, 250g flour and a pinch of salt. Ball up the dough and refrigerate for an hour before using it (it’s quite delicate to work with but so good I can eat it raw).

  18. I really love the idea of mascarpone cream.  I am going to make this on Sunday and offer it as an option alongside an obnoxiously decorated cake for my five year old.  That’ll be another one of your recipes, no doubt.
    I use vanilla bean paste in all recipes calling for vanilla, same measurement.  I just love it.  Then you always have the little speckles and I’d like to think it packs a bit more flavor.  It can get a bit pricey when doing copious amount of baking, but it’s worth it.  Ever try this?

    1. I have, yes! I need to pick up another bottle soon though. Do you have a brand you love? Enjoy your desserts this weekend!

      1. Okay, this was AWESOME.  I received multiple high compliments on it.  Couldn’t be easier. the filling is literally finger licking good.  I make those Danish braids from your blog often, and I think mascarpone would be a tasty upgrade for the cream cheese one.  
        I use neilson Massey vanilla bean paste.  It’s the only one the stores around here carry.  Thanks for another terrific recipe.  I am going to make another one stat.

  19. Girl this looks delicious!! I love the shot of all the fresh fruits – I feel fresh fruit tart is the best summer dessert ever!! I am loving the easy no fuss cream too Sally! Can’t wait to make this!!

  20. When I added the confectioners sugar and vanilla to the mixture of mascarpone
    cheese and cream, it curdled!! What did I do wrong?

    1. Shawnee, make sure the ingredients are at room temperature. This wildly helps! And you can always ad a little more confectioners’ sugar and cream to help smooth things out.

  21. Do you think this could travel without getting all melty? Like if I make this at home and then take 40 minute car ride to my parents, will it be a mess?

    1. I’ve made a similar tart with mascarpone filling and it held well for a few hours at room temp.

  22. Oh yum! I’ll take 2 small tarts! I used to make a recipe similar to this with the mini tart pans when guests come over <3

  23. Fab pictures as always! Picked up a bunch of berries from Costco yesterday and now found a delicious way to use them up. 

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