Fruit Tart

7 Min Read

There’s not a whole lot of sleep happening in the Sugar Spun Run household right now. Luke has four top teeth trying to break through and it’s made for a lot of crankiness, a lot of tears, and very, very little sleep.

I don’t do well without my sleep. I’m dropping everything, forgetting things, and Zach found the scissors in the refrigerator yesterday and I still don’t know how that happened. So I’m really, really hoping there are no typos in today’s recipe, but I can’t make any promises. Fortunately, this fruit tart recipe was perfected before I was in this foggy, sleepy state, so I can at least assure you that it’s sound. Now, please have a little grace with me if you find any typos, but let’s get into why you’re here and talk tarts.

There are three main components when making a fresh fruit tart:

  • A crisp, firm pastry crust with a buttery, crumbly crumb.
  • Rich, smooth, vanilla pastry cream.
  • Fresh fruit.

Let’s start with the pastry crust, which is a bit different from classic pie crusts you’re used to. While I typically start this baking process with the pastry cream (it needs to chill for several hours), let’s tackle this tart from the bottom up.

Pâté Sucrée (Sweet Pastry Crust)

Classic fruit tarts are not traditionally served in graham cracker crusts or typical pie crusts, but rather a French-style shortcrust known as pâté sucrée, which translates to “sweet dough”. It uses a higher ratio of sugar, a splash of vanilla extract, and an egg and it is similar to my favorite shortbread cookie. It is more reminiscent of a cookie than the American pie doughs you might be used to.

Many recipes use an egg yolk and then add ice water, but I have found the best results using a whole egg and not adding water. This is also one of the rare instances where I recommend using a cold egg rather than a room temperature one. Keep all of your ingredients as cold as possible to keep the sides of the tart from falling as it bakes.

While you can make your crust using a pastry cutter or a box-grater (like I do with my puff pastry), I prefer to use a food processor. This cleanly and quickly distributes the butter, keeping your ingredients nice and cold and making for an easy to handle and perfectly crisp crust.

How to Keep a Fruit Tart From Becoming Soggy

Preventing a soggy crust is simple and this method adds some great extra flavor. Brush the inside of your baked, cooled crust with a bit of melted chocolate, then let this harden in the refrigerator for several minutes before filling with pastry cream.

Not only will the chocolate layer serve as a protective shell that keeps moisture off of your pastry, it adds a nice pop of chocolate flavor that beautifully accents the tart, too. Dark chocolate is my preference, but semisweet, milk, or even white chocolate could be used instead.

Pastry Cream

I’ve shared my classic pastry cream recipe before on its own and in my cream puffs and eclairs recipe. It makes an appearance again here as the quintessential fruit tart filling. While it would’ve been easy to use a full batch from my original recipe and refer you to that recipe, I found using that much pastry cream was just too much (something I never thought I’d say). Instead, I’ve scaled it down to be the perfect amount for a 9″ tart pan (though it would also work for an 8″ or 10″ pan).

Your pastry cream will need to cool completely before being used in your tart, this takes at least two hours so I recommend making this first. I have some notes below on how to make several days in advance. Oh, and you’ll need 3 egg yolks for this recipe, no egg whites. Save those egg whites to make meringues or put them towards my lemon cake recipe!

The Best Fruits For Fruit Tart

You can use essentially any fruit you would like, but if you are using a particularly juicy fruit (like ripe peach slices or mango) I recommend waiting until shortly before serving to add.

These are a few of my favorite fruit choices:

  • Strawberries. These are a must for me.
  • Blueberries
  • Kiwi slices
  • Blackberries
  • Raspberries
  • Mandarin orange sections
  • Mango
  • Grapes
  • Apricots

Shiny Fruit Glaze

After assembling your tart, you can lightly brush the fruit with a bit of apple jelly or apricot jelly that’s been melted with a splash of water. This adds a gorgeous sheen and a nice added extra hint of slightly tart sweetness. Many bakeries add a glaze to their fruits topping this way.

Storing & Making in Advance

Store in an airtight container (I usually wrap mine in plastic wrap) in the refrigerator for up to two days (longer than this and the fruit tends to weep quite a bit).

If you wish to prepare the fruit tart further in advance than a day or two, I recommend making the components in advance and assembling shortly before serving. The tart crust can be made up to 5 days in advance of serving and stored in an airtight container (or wrapped in plastic wrap) at room temperature. The pastry cream can be made up to 3 days in advance of serving, store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Several hours or even a day before serving, assemble by brushing the inside of the tart crust with chocolate, spreading the pastry cream, and decorating with fruit. Brush with apple jelly if desired and then store in the refrigerator, covered.

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