Homemade Fresh Fruit Tart With Vanilla Custard Pastry Cream

What says summer better than a fresh fruit tart!? When my Mom asked for a fruit tart for her birthday, I couldn't have been more excited to create a birthday dessert that was not a cake! Using sweet fresh fruit layered on top of a cool, creamy, custard-like pastry cream, all encased in in a rich, flaky, buttery pie crust and finished with an optional light fruity glaze, this is the ultimate summer treat... even for the ultimate CHOCOLATE LOVER like me! I could seriously eat this for breakfast and justify that fully... it does have fruit in it ;)

The gourmet bakery versions can get pretty pricey and everything tastes so much better when it is homemade, right? This gorgeous, homemade gourmet fruit tart that will seriously impress anyone you plan on serving this to! This recipe is also very versatile. You can really pick and choose your favorite fruits to go on top or what ever is in season. Keep it simple with all strawberries or peaches, use a nice classic mixture like I did, or mix it up and try more exotic fruits like mango or papaya.

For the homemade custard pastry cream filling, my recipe calls for all yolks for an ultra rich filling. I always save the whites for a healthy egg white omelet or some low cal Flourless Chocolate Cookies (low-fat/gluten-free) so they never go to waste!

This is also an awesome recipe if you don't have a lot of time on your hands, mainly because everything can be made ahead of time and assembled in minutes before serving!

The dough for the pie crust and pastry cream filling can both be made ahead of time and refrigerated for up to 2 days, so all you have to do is bake and cool the pie crust, pour in your pastry cream filling, arrange the sliced fruit and add a finishing glaze if desired. Place it in the fridge until you are ready to serve and that's it!

Homemade Fresh Fruit Tart


Crust (may sub refrigerated store-bought pie crust):
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, ice cold, cut into 1/2" cubes
  • 2-4 tablespoons ice water

Pastry Cream:
  • 2 cups half & half
  • 1/3 cup + 1/4 cup granulated white sugar, divided
  • pinch salt
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Flavor Variations
    • Flavored: Add 1/4 t.- 1/2 t. flavor extract of your choice: coconut, almond, mint, etc. (add in with vanilla extract)
    • Liqueur: 1 tablespoon flavored liqueur (add in with vanilla extract)
    • Chocolate: 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (add in with cornstarch)
    • Cinnamon: 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (add in with vanilla extract)
    • Espresso: Stir 1 tablespoon espresso powder/instant coffee granules in with the half & half
    • Citrus: zest and juice from 1/2-1 whole lemon, lime, orange, etc. (add in with vanilla extract)
    • Extra Light & Fluffy: 1/2-1 cup whipped cream (fold into cooled pastry cream)

Fruit Topping:
  • 2-3 cups fresh fruit, sliced if necessary (I used fresh blackberries, a kiwi, canned sliced peaches, fresh strawberries and a few fresh blueberries)

Glaze (optional):
  • 2-4 tablespoon apricot or peach jam or jelly

Pie Crust (skip this if using pre-made refrigerated pie crust):
Combine flour, sugar, and salt with a pastry blender or in a food processor. Blend in butter until mixture looks sandy, like a coarse meal, with tiny balls of butter. Add water 1 tablespoon at a time, until dough comes together. If dough is still crumbly, add more ice water a little at a time if needed. Flatten dough into a disk and cover with plastic wrap. Do not over knead dough, little balls of butter will be visible. Refrigerate for at least an hour or up to two days.

Preheat the oven to 375° F. Press dough into a 6"-9" pie plate. Line dough with foil and fill with pie weights or dry beans. Bake for about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and remove the foil and weights. Continue to bake, about 5-10 minutes longer until golden brown. Place on a wire rack to cool. 

Pastry Cream:
Bring the half-and-half, 1/3 cup of sugar and salt to a simmer over medium/high heat, in a saucepan, stirring occasionally. In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks cornstarch and remaining 1/4 cup sugar for about 45 seconds.

Once the half-and-half mixture has reached a simmer, slowly whisk half of it in to the egg yolk mixture to temper the yolks so they don't cook when you put them in the hot pot. Then, slowly whisk the tempered yolk mixture back into the saucepan. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, whisking vigorously, until nice and thick, and a few bubbles burst on the surface, about 30 seconds. 

Remove from heat and let cool a minute. Whisk in butter and vanilla. If there are any lumps, remove them with a spoon, or strain the pastry cream into a bowl through a fine mesh sieve or strainer. Press a layer of plastic wrap directly on to the surface of your pastry cream (this will prevent a layer of skin from forming on top) and refrigerate until cold and set, at least 3 hours or up to 2 days.

Just before serving, pour your chilled pastry cream into your pie crust and arrange your fruit on top. If you want a glaze on your tart, simply heat your jelly in the microwave for just a few seconds, until slightly melted and brush it over the fruit. Serve and enjoy!

Want an even easier alternative?? Check out my fruit pizza video!!