Classic Fruit Tart is one of the most beautiful dishes that ever existed. It really is. And when you go with bright, vibrant and juicy fruit picked at the height of the season, you’ve got truly something special on your hands.
This classic fruit tart is so stunning in appearance, you may feel a tinge of guilt eating it. Don’t worry, that guilt will immediately turn into to pride as you take your first bite.
HOW TO MAKE A CLASSIC FRUIT TART
The Classic Fruit Tart starts with a wonderfully delicious sweet tart dough. You’ll want to fully blind bake the dough because once it’s filled with the custard and topped with the fruit, it won’t be heading back into the oven.
After the dough has been carefully added to your tart pan (preferably one with a removable bottom), you’ll want to place a piece of parchment paper over the dough, large enough so it hangs over the edges of the pan. Then, add pie weights, or dried rice, or dried beans on top of the parchment paper, filling the cavity.
To fully blind bake, you’ll want to bake the crust for 20 minutes in a 375°F pre-heated oven. Then remove from the oven and carefully pull the parchment paper off of the partially cooked dough and remove the weights / rice / beans. Place back into the oven and bake until golden, about 7 – 10 minutes longer. Let cool on rack.
Next, it’s time to make the heavenly custard.
The pastry cream, or custard, is simple to make. You simply bring 1 1/2 cups of whole milk to a simmer and then temper the egg yolks that have been combined with corn starch by adding half of the warm milk, whisking all the way. And then back into the sauce pan it goes, with lots more whisking until thickened.
Good-quality vanilla extract is the final touch to make the pastry cream perfect.
After the crust has cooled, and the custard has chilled, it’s time to bring on the stars of the show: the fresh fruit!
HOW TO CUT A FRESH MANGO
Fresh mango is delicious and gorgeous all at the same time. The trick to ensure you are using only the freshest, juiciest portions of the mango for your classic fruit tart is very simple.
After peeling the mango, place it on a cutting board on its narrow side.
Use a large, sharp knife and cut through the mango, lengthwise, just to the left of center. Now, position your knife just right of center, and slice through. By doing this, you’ve cut out the center section, which contains the pit and is also fibrous and usually too tough to eat. Now you are ready to slice the mango.
After the fruit has been layered on top of the custard, brush some apricot preserves that you have simmered and strained (if apricot chunks are visible) over the fruit.
This adds flavor and a beautiful sheen to the fruit.
I just love making tarts, and they are one of the first things that are taught in baking school. I find that each time I make one, I get a little more polished at the entire process.
Tarts, as you can imagine, go way back. They have quite a fascinating history. Read Tarts, A History by one of our favorite pastry bloggers, Joe Pastry (who sadly has stopped adding new content, but he still has a wealth of great baking tips and history on his blog).
A CLASSIC FRUIT TART IS GORGEOUS TO SERVE FOR BRUNCH, SHOWERS, DESSERT, AND MORE
Just think of the response you’ll get when your guests see the classic fruit tart that you made.
And then wait for the response once they dig in.
Gorgeous. Delicious. Yes.
We love using whatever fruits and berries look most fresh at the market. Of course, as I am writing this, fresh strawberries are in season here in New Jersey, and we actually were able to get a large batch from a farm just down the road.
Fresh fruit really is such a gift from Mother Nature. Perfect in almost every way.
And perfect in our Classic Fruit Tart.
Classic Fruit Tart
Sweet Tart Dough
- 1 large egg yolk
- 2 tbsp ice water
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) very cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk
- 4 large eggs
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 3 tbsp corn starch
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 mango, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch thick slices (read instructions in post on how to cut a mango)
- 2 cups fresh strawberries, tops removed and halved lengthwise
- 1 cup raspberries
- 2 kiwi fruits, peeled, halved lengthwise, and cut into 1/4-inch slices
- 1/2 cup blueberries
- 1/2 cup apricot preserves (or jam)
MAKE THE SWEET TART CRUST
- Pre-heat the oven to 375°F.
- In a medium bowl, gently beat together the egg yolks with the water and vanilla and set aside.
- In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, stir together the flour, sugar and salt in the mixer bowl. Add the butter and mix on low speed until the texture looks like small pebbles. (If doing this by hand, use the backs of two forks, or a pastry cutter, in a large bowl containing the flour/sugar/salt mixture).
- Add the egg mixture and mix together until just starting to pull together. Don't worry about forming into a ball, but it's just too crumbly, add very small drops of water, until it just starts to come together.
- Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and press into a disk (resist using your hands too much, because you want the butter to stay as cold as possible). Using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll to about a 12-inch round, gently turning and dusting with flour a couple times.
- Fold the dough round in half and very carefully place into a 9 to 9 1/2-inch tart pan (preferably with a removable bottom). Unfold and gently press into the sides and bottom of the pan. Trim away excess dough that is hanging over the edges.
- Place the tart shell in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to an hour, to firm up.
- Remove the tart shell from the fridge and place a piece of parchment paper over the dough, enough so about 2 inches are hanging over the edges. Fill the tart shell with pie weights, dried rice, or dried beans.
- Bake for 20 minutes and then remove from oven and carefully remove the parchment paper with weights. Return to the oven for another 5 to 10 minutes, until lightly golden brown. Place on rack to cool completely.
MAKE THE FRUIT TART
- In a medium-size sauce pan, heat the milk over medium heat until bubbles just start to appear on the edges of the pan. Remove from heat.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until lighter in color. Add the cornstarch and salt and whisk until incorporated.
- Slowly pour half of the warm milk into the egg yolk mixture while whisking constantly (this prevent the eggs from curdling).
- Whisk in the remainder of the warm milk and then return back to the sauce pan. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until it has become the texture of pudding, about 5 to 7 minutes.
- Transfer the custard into a bowl and stir in the vanilla.
- Cover the custard with plastic wrap and gently press onto the wrap as to form a seal. Place in the refrigerator until completely chilled, about 1 to 2 hours.
- To assemble the tart, remove the chilled custard from the fridge, and give it a good stir with a spoon.
- Spoon the custard into the bottom of the cooled tart shell and spread evenly.
- Arrange the mango in an overlapping ring around the edge of the tart. Place the strawberries, cut side down, in a second ring inside the first, then arrange the raspberries in a third ring. Overlap the kiwi in a fourth ring and fill the hole in the center with the blueberries.
- Meanwhile, heat the apricot preserves (or jam) in a small saucepan over low heat until liquified. If chunky, strain into a small bowl. Brush a thin coating of the preserves all over the top of the fruit.
- If your tart pan has a removable bottom, gently lift the tart from the sides. Serve at room temperature.