Closeup of classic fruit tart

Classic Fruit Tart with Pastry Cream–technique and artistry made easy

French technique made simple

The classic fruit tart is the ultimate French pastry shop dish. It’s the sort of dessert you envision sharing with your lover at an outdoor cafe, your hair tousled and cheeks flushed from the activity that brought on your appetite. Many home cooks shy away from this technique-driven dish. But one of our favorite pastry chefs, Leah Kuo, breaks down the technique with her simple fruit tart recipe. And the way she organizes the instructions in such simple steps makes it  achievable even for a novice baker.

A recipe with a “wow” factor

It’s the perfect recipe for a couple to make together as a weekend baking project. And it’s a “wow” sort of dish perfect for wooing someone at the end of a romantic meal. I love the combination Leah puts together of fresh fruits, a somehow both light and rich pastry cream and that distinctive tang of an apricot glaze. I like to serve my tart with a glass of late harvest Riesling or other desert wine that echoes the apricot note from the glaze.

If you love this recipe, be sure to check out Leah’s recipe for Raspberry Semifreddo!

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Closeup of classic fruit tart
Classic Fruit Tart with Pastry Cream
Prep Time
25 mins
Cook Time
50 mins
Total Time
1 hr 15 mins

Pastry chef Leah Kuo breaks down the steps of creating a classic, French fruit tart. This is the perfect dessert to "wow" at the end of a romantic meal. 

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: French
Keyword: Tart
Dish Type: tart
Cooking Style: Baking
Seasonal: Easter, Mother's Day, Valentine's Day
Ingredient: pastry cream, Strawberries
Servings: 1 tart
Created by: Leah Kuo
For the pastry:
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 8 tbsp unsalted butter very cold
  • 3 to 4 tbsp ice water
For the pastry cream:
  • 8 tbsp sugar
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 egg
  • 4 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
For the glaze:
  • 1/2 cup apricot jelly
  • 1 tbsp water
  • Strawberries raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, kiwi, sliced peaches and plums, cherries, champagne grapes.
To make the pastry:
  1. To make the pastry combine flour, sugar and salt and place in the freezer for an hour.
  2. Cut the butter into π inch pieces.
  3. Put flour mixture in the bowl of a food processor, add butter and pulse until butter forms small bits.
  4. Add ice water and process until dough comes together.
  5. Form into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 30 to 45 minutes.
  6. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  7. On a floured surface roll dough into 1/8 inch thick circle, large enough to hang slightly over the sides of a 10-inch tart pan with removable bottom.
  8. Cut off excess dough with a sharp knife.
  9. Line shell with aluminum foil, then fill with dried beans or pie weights.
  10. Bake 10 minutes.
  11. Remove beans and foil; prick bottom of the shell with a fork to allow steam to escape.
  12. Bake another 20 minutes until browned.
  13. Cool to room temperature.
For the pastry cream:
  1. To make the pastry cream, scald the milk and 4 TBL sugar.
  2. Whisk the egg, yolks, cornstarch and remainder of sugar until pale yellow and reaches the ribbon stage.
  3. Temper the milk into the eggs. Thicken over medium low heat.
  4. Once thickened, remove from heat and add vanilla and butter.
  5. Place in a large bowl and cover with piece of plastic wrap laid directly on the surface of the cream to prevent a skin from forming.
  6. Refrigerate until completely cool.
For the glaze:
  1. To make the glaze, melt the jelly and water in a small saucepan until combined and smooth.
To assemble the tart:
  1. Spread pastry cream on the bottom of the shell.
  2. Artistically arrange the fruit over the cream.
  3. Brush glaze over the fruit.
  4. Serve and enjoy!

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