Fresh Fruit Tart with Vanilla Mascarpone Cream

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. 

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!

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 for fruit tart on sallysbakingaddiction.com

3 Parts to Fresh Fruit Tart

  1. Make Ahead Crust
  2. Cream Filling
  3. Sparkly Fruit Topping

fruit-tart-2

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 dough, 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:

fruit-tart-dough-2

fruit-tart-dough-3

fruit-tart-dough

Homemade Pastry Crust

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 on sallysbakingaddiction.com

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.

How to make homemade fresh fruit tart 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

More Baking Recipes Using Fresh Fruit

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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 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. 🙂

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

132 Comments

  1. I love all  your recipes 

    1. I not sure how to prepare the vanilla bean for this recipe, chopped?

      Do you use the seeds? One place you said you liked the little black flecks in the mascarpone.

      Please advise.

      1. Hi Rocky! Scrape the seeds from 1/2 of a vanilla bean and use in the recipe.

  2. Christine K says:

    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??

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

      1. Christine K says:

        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,

    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!

    1. Thanks Jill!

  4. 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

    1. 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?

      1. I used mascarpone. Something must have gone wrong… guess i’ll start over!
        thanks!

      2. I fixed it!
        I scraped it out of the crust with a spatula and whipped it on high a couple more minutes and it worked!

      3. There you go! Perfect.

  5. 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?

    1. Delicious! I’d do it once it’s all smooth– so, last step.

  6. 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]

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

  8. 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 🙁

    1. 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.

  9. 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

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

    1. vanilla seeds.^^

    2. Hi Steph, I mean you can cut a vanilla bean in half and then scrape the seeds from it to use in the recipe. There’s about 1/2 teaspoon in a pod, so 1/4 tsp seeds.

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

  12. 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!

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

    1. See my make ahead tips for some ideas about making ahead.

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

  15. Louann Samuelson says:

    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.

  16. 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?

    1. Absolutely!

  17. Jennifer Renard says:

    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?

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

    1. Absolutely!

  19. I, also, had a problem with the baking time of the crust. It could have been because I didn’t have a tart pan, so I used a disposable cake pan. The closest size I could find was an 8 inch pan, so the crust ended up being thicker than it otherwise would have been. If I still don’t have a 9 inch tart pan the next time I make this, I’ll try increasing the baking time before I remove the pie weights. My mascarpone cream curdled as well, but the recipe note on fixing it worked like a charm! All in all, flavor was great and I will definitely be making this again!

  20. Finally taking my tart pan on its maiden voyage! My mascarpone did curdle, but I was probably too impatient and didn’t let everything come to room temperature long enough. Double boiler to the rescue! It’s smooth as a babies bottom now! I don’t have pie weights so I am trying the other method you suggested. I can’t wait to serve this tomorrow at the family dinner. Thanks so much for an easy dessert that looks so fancy!

    1. Yay for a new tart pan!!! Hope you loved this, Heather!

  21. Jess @ Allore foodies says:

    Sally, this looks like perfection!
    Minus the glaze, loving this fruit tart.

  22. Hi Sally! I plan to make this along with S’mores pie for 4th of July. My tart dish will be used for the s’mores pie. Do you think it will work to bake this in a springform pan?
    I’ll be using red & blueberries only to go with the 4th of July theme:)
    Thanks!

    1. Sounds like my kind of menu 🙂 The springform should work. Enjoy!

  23. The mascarpone filling ingredients don’t list egg, but the directions mention egg. How many eggs am I supposed to use? It’s it the whole egg, or just the whites?

    1. Hi Ajé! The crust uses 1 egg. The mascarpone filling does not require an egg.

  24. Hi Sally, I followed the recipe exactly and my dough came out runny and sticky,when I went to bake it it just melted down the side of the pan under the weights…any idea what I did wrong?

  25. I plan to make this recipe this week. I am confused though on the 2019 update. It says to beat the heavy cream first then add the other ingredients. However, one of your replies says to beat the mascarpone first then add in the cream. So which do I beat first?
    Your help is appreciated.

    1. Hi Barbara! The comment reply was older. Use the recipe instructions and whip the heavy cream first.

  26. Hi Sally! I just wanted to tell you that I made these tarts and your easy make ahead breakfast casserole for mother’s day and both were such a hit ! Thank you for the great recipes !! I especially appreciate the make ahead instructions.

  27. Alysia Duke says:

    How would this turn out if I used a cupcake pan instead of tart pan?
    How many do you think one crust would yield?
    What is blind baking?

    1. Hi Alysia! Blind baking is baking crust without a filling. I’m unsure about using a cupcake pan. If you try it, definitely use cupcake liners.

  28. Perfect treat for this time of year. I topped with strawberries, blueberries, and mango. Not a slice leftover!

  29. I was just thinking its been forever since I’ve had a mascarpone frosting! I love love love mascarpone, omg sooooo good!! Will be making this with my kids this weekend 🙂

  30. Would it be possible to use this recipe to make one of those trendy number cakeslp? The ones with two cake layers with cream piled on each layer and many toppings on the top. If so, would I be able to cut the crust and layer afterwards? If not, is the cream good for it and I can use a different cake? Which cake base would be best for that?

    1. Hi Advah! I don’t recommend using this tart recipe for that. You’d need a cake. My vanilla cake or even the pound cake would be great!

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