Fresh, colorful, and bursting with juicy fruit, rich pastry cream, a deliciously sweet pastry crust, and an easy fruit tart glaze, this French Fruit Tart recipe makes a showstopper dessert that is perfect for any occasion!
If you love this French fruit tart recipe as much as we do, be sure try out our Fruit Pizza, Classic Pavlova, Raspberry Chocolate Tart!
Table of Contents
- How to Make an Authentic French Fruit Tart
- What You'll Need
- What is Pâte Sucrée (also known as a Sweet Pastry Crust or Shortcrust Pastry Dough)?
- How to Make a Tart Crust
- What is Pastry Cream?
- How to Make Pastry Cream
- Fruit Tart Glaze
- How to Store
- Can this recipe be frozen?
- More Tart Recipes
- French Fruit Tart Recipe
If you have ever been to Paris, chances are those stunning jewel-colored fruit tarts and French pastries displayed in the windows of every patisserie (aka French pastry shops) caught your eye.
As much as I love chocolate croissants, baguettes, macarons, and crepes, of all the foods I tried in France, it was their fruit tarts that were my favorite over anything else. A classic fruit tart is the thing I've missed most back home.
French fruit tarts are a wonderful dessert idea for entertaining, especially with during berry season when fresh berries and other fruit are at their best!
How to Make an Authentic French Fruit Tart
A tart is a sweet or savory dish made from pastry dough with a firm, crumbly crust. Tarts are typically baked in a pan with shallow sides and a removable bottom since they only have a bottom crust, and are unmolded before serving. There are 4 components to most classic French fruit tart recipes:
- A sweet pastry crust
- The vanilla pastry cream filling
- Juicy, fresh fruit
- A fruit tart glaze
You can use almost any fruit you like to create a French fruit tart!
In Paris, you will see strawberry tarts with whole strawberries standing on end, raspberry tarts with piles of delicious red or golden raspberries, or mixed fruit tarts like this one that I made with strawberries, blueberries, sliced kiwi fruit, mandarin oranges, and raspberries arranged in a decorative pattern over the vanilla pastry cream.
But blackberries, peaches, cherries, or almost any other fruit you can think of would be delicious with a sweet, shortcrust tart crust and creamy, silky pastry cream.
Don't assemble your French fruit tart too early before serving as the pastry crumb will start to soak into the crust over time. I think it's best when the tart is eaten within 1 to 2 hours of filling the tart shell.
There is a work-around I saw where you can melt a little chocolate and spread that in the bottom of your baked tart shell, then let it set to create a barrier between the crust and the filling to keep it from getting soggy, but your best bet is waiting to assemble just before serving.
Since all of the components of the fruit tart can be made in advance, assembly is actually pretty quick and easy. It's a great make-ahead dessert idea that is especially fun for entertaining because of how impressive and beautiful they look!
What You'll Need
Scroll down to the recipe card below this post for ingredient quantities and full instructions.
- Whole milk
- Heavy cream
- Sugar - Granulated sugar is used to make the pastry cream while powdered sugar goes into the tart crust.
- Egg yolks - Only the yolks are needed for this dessert recipe. Save the whites for a pavlova, a meringue, macarons, or another use.
- Butter - I use salted butter in all my bakes but you can use unsalted butter and just add an extra pinch of salt instead.
- Vanilla - I love using vanilla bean paste for the little specks it gives to the pastry cream but regular vanilla extract will work just as well.
- All-purpose flour
- Fresh fruit - You can stick with one type of fruit and make a strawberry tart or raspberry tart, or take the approach I like best here with a variety of different colors and flavors of fruit. Seasonal fruits like cherries, apricots, or peaches can also be good options.
- Jelly or jam - Something light in color like apricot jam or apple jelly works best for a glaze.
What is Pâte Sucrée (also known as a Sweet Pastry Crust or Shortcrust Pastry Dough)?
The tart crust recipe I use for my French fruit tart is called pâte sucrée in France. But don't let the fancy name throw you!
Pâte sucrée is just a sweet pastry crust that is actually easier to make than pie dough. This buttery, sweet tart crust is actually more of a firm, crumbly shell with an almost cookie-like texture, as opposed to pie crust which is known for being flaky and light.
My sweet tart dough recipe calls for powdered sugar rather than granulated sugar, which gives it the unique, melt-in-your-mouth yet sturdy texture that really sets it apart and makes it the perfect vessel for holding the delicious vanilla pastry cream and loads of fresh fruit that we are going to fill it with.
How to Make a Tart Crust
Combine the egg yolk, cream, and vanilla together in a small bowl and whisk together with a fork.
Using a food processor, cut the butter into the flour, powdered sugar, and salt until it resembles coarse crumbs. This can also be done by hand using a pastry cutter.
Slowly pour the liquids into the flour mixture while the food processor is running and let it process until it begins to come together.
Remove the tart dough and flatten it into a disc, then wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least an hour in the fridge.
When the dough has chilled, roll it out on a lightly-floured surface into a circle slightly larger than your tart pan. Mine is a 9-inch pan but readers have reported that they have enough tart dough to fit a 10-inch pan.
Gently lift the tart shell over your tart pan. I find it easiest to roll the tart dough onto my rolling pin (affiliate link) and using that to help lift it into place to avoid tears.
Press the crust into the corners and fluted sides, then run a rolling pin over the top to cut off any excess dough.
Freeze the tart shell for 30 minutes, then press a double layer of foil into the tart shell and fill with pie weights. Do not prick the shell with a fork like you might for a pie crust! Here is a helpful resource with step-by-step pictures about how to blind bake a tart crust using pie weights.
Bake for 30 minutes at 375 degrees before removing the pie weights and foil and baking for another 5 to 10 minutes, until golden brown, then remove from the oven and cool completely.
What is Pastry Cream?
Pastry cream (also known as crème pâtissière) is a thick, creamy custard with a silky smooth texture that can be used for filling cakes, tarts, cream puffs, eclairs, and other desserts. I use it so often and in so many ways that I actually ended up doing another post entirely dedicated to how to make vanilla pastry cream!
It was actually the component of this dessert that I felt most intimidated by having attempted a few different pastry cream varieties in the past that were either too thick, too gummy, or just plain too bland.
That's the tricky part about pastry cream - it needs to be tasty on it's own, but it also needs to be a team player in this dessert so as not to override the brightness of the fresh fruit or sweet, buttery crust.
Pastry cream is made with milk, cream, sugar, salt, cornstarch, egg yolks, butter, and vanilla for flavoring (although you could use different extracts to change it up in other desserts).
I actually use Nielsen-Massey's vanilla bean paste instead of plain vanilla because I love the flecks of vanilla bean in the pastry cream, although the same thing can be achieved by using actually vanilla beans and infusing them with the milk and cream at the start of the cooking process, then scraping out the seeds. But you can just use regular vanilla extract if that's what you have on hand.
How to Make Pastry Cream
Bring the milk and cream to a simmer in a medium saucepan with half of the sugar. It doesn't need to boil and it doesn't take long. Medium-high heat will do the trick in less than 5 minutes.
While the milk mixture heats, whisk together the sugar and cornstarch in a bowl so that it is evenly combined. Then whisk in the egg yolks until the mixture is light and creamy.
When the milk is hot, temper the egg yolks by slowly pouring half of the hot liquid in to the yolks, whisking constantly. This will keep the egg yolks from scrambling when added to the pan.
Pour the tempered egg yolk mixture into the pan with the remaining liquid, reduce the heat, and continue to whisk constantly until the pastry cream is thick and a few bubbles start to pop on the surface, then remove from the heat.
Stir in some cold butter and vanilla bean paste (or an equal amount of vanilla extract). And that's it!
Transfer to a shallow pan or a bowl and lay plastic wrap directly on top of the pastry cream so a skin doesn't form while it cools. Then cool completely in a fridge for 3 hours before using.
Fruit Tart Glaze
This step is so easy, but a fruit tart glaze was missing from many of the fruit tart recipes I looked at when researching how to make this lovely French dessert.
I knew from my time in Paris that the tarts there absolutely glisten in the patisserie shop windows, so I had be sure my recreation of a French fruit tart had the same jewel-like quality.
And really, all that is used to glaze a fruit tart is a warmed up, light colored jelly or apricot jam that gets gently brushed on to make the fruit shine. Although I also like the extra little bit of flavor it adds as well.
Apple jelly or apricot preserves are my favorite options for a fruit tart glaze, although I've seen other sources call for red currant jelly.
You won't use the full amount called for in the recipe, but I find it's easiest to heat up half a cup of the preserves or jelly just until warm and stirring until it is smooth. Then just dip a pastry brush into the apricot glaze and dab it on the fruit decorating your tart.
When you are ready to assemble your tart, wash and dry your fruit, cutting any large fruit into bite-size pieces. Spread the cooled pastry cream into the bottom of your tart shell, then top with fruit in a pleasing design arranging kiwi slices so they are overlapping or filling in gaps with smaller fruits like blueberries or blackberries that have been cut in half. Brush with the glaze and serve!
How to Store
A fruit tart is best enjoyed the day it is assembled although it's still good the next day as well, even if the crust has softened slightly. To store leftovers, cover with plastic wrap or store in an airtight container in the fridge overnight. It can be eaten for up to 3-4 days but is best when it's freshest.
Can this recipe be frozen?
You can bake and freeze the tart shell for up to 1 month. Wrap it carefully in plastic wrap and store in a freezer-safe bag until ready to use.
I don't recommend freezing the pastry cream or freezing the assembled tart because they don't thaw well.
If I am making this ahead I like to melt a small amount of chocolate and spread it on the bottom of the baked crust before filling with pastry cream. This helps prevent the crust from getting soggy or soft as quickly.
If you want to make it in advance, I recommend making the crust up to 3 or 4 days ahead and storing in an airtight container. The pastry cream can also be made 3 or 4 days ahead and stored in the refrigerator. Then everything can be assembled the day you plan to serve it.
More Tart Recipes
- Spring Vegetable Ricotta Tarts
- Raspberry Chocolate Tart
- Mixed Berry Tart with Lemon Pastry Cream
- Asparagus Tart
Did you make this recipe?
Let me know what you thought with a comment and rating below. You can also take a picture and tag me on Instagram @houseofnasheats or share it on the Pinterest pin so I can see.
French Fruit Tart
- 1 ½ cups whole milk
- ½ cup heavy cream
- ½ cup granulated sugar, divided (100g)
- Pinch of salt
- 3 Tablespoons cornstarch
- 5 egg yolks
- 4 Tablespoons cold salted butter, cut into chunks
- 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla bean paste
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 Tablespoon heavy cream
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour (156g)
- ⅔ cup powdered sugar (65g)
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 8 Tablespoons cold salted butter, cut into chunks
- 3 kiwis, peeled, halved lengthwise, and sliced ⅜-inch thick
- 10-12 strawberries, hulled and sliced in half
- ½ cup mandarin oranges, drained
- ½ cup blueberries
- ¼ cup raspberries
- ½ cup apple jelly or apricot preserves, warmed
- Combine the milk, cream, and half of the sugar in a medium sauce pan over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally until the liquid comes to a simmer.
- As the liquid heats, whisk together the remaining sugar, salt, cornstarch, and egg yolks in a medium bowl until light and creamy.
- Once the milk mixture is hot, slowly whisk about 1 cup of the liquid into the egg mixture to temper the yolks. Pour the tempered egg mixture back into the saucepan with the hot milk mixture and , reduce the heat, and continue to whisk constantly until the pastry cream is thick and a few bubbles start to pop on the surface, then remove from the heat.
- Remove the pastry cream from the heat and whisk in the butter and vanilla, then transfer to a bowl and cover with a sheet of plastic wrap placed directly onto the surface of the pastry cream so a skin doesn't form. Refrigerate until chilled and firm, about 3 hours.
- Whisk together the egg yolk, cream, and vanilla in a small bowl.
- Combine the flour, powdered sugar, and salt in a food process and briefly process to combine. Add the cold butter pieces to the flour mixture and pulse to cut into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse meal, about 15 pulses.
- While the food process is running, add the liquid through the feed tube and continue to process just until the dough comes together around the blade.
- Turn out the tart dough onto a sheet of plastic wrap and flatten into a 6-inch disk, then wrap it tightly and refrigerate for 1 hour. Let sit out on the counter for 10 minutes to soften slightly before rolling out.
- Roll out the pastry crust on a lightly floured surface until it is slightly larger than your tart pan (mine is a 9-inch pan). Carefully transfer the dough to the pan by rolling it onto the rolling pin, then gently easing the dough into the pan, pressing into the corners and fluted sides of the pan.
- Run the rolling pin over the top of the pan so that the excess dough gets cut off on the edge of the pin, making a clean edge. Patch any edges that are too thin with excess dough, trimming away the edge again as necessary. Freeze the tart shell for 30 minutes.
- When ready to bake the tart shell, heat oven to 375 degrees F. Press a double layer of foil into the frozen tart shell, covering the edges of the pan and filling the tart shell with pie weights. Bake for 30 minutes, rotating halfway through, then carefully remove the pie weights and foil and bake another 5 to 10 minutes, until the tart shell is fully baked and golden. Cool completely before filling.
- When the tart shell is completely cooled, spread the pastry cream over the bottom of the shell. Arrange the fruit in a decorative fashion over the cream, overlapping the sliced kiwi or mandarin oranges, and mounding raspberries or blueberries in the center of the tart.
- Melt the jelly or preserves in a small saucepan or the microwave, stirring until smooth. Use a pastry brush to gently dab the melted jelly over the fruit. You may not use all of the jelly. Slice and serve.
- Make-Ahead: If I am making this ahead I like to melt a small amount of chocolate and spread it on the bottom of the baked crust before filling with pastry cream. This helps prevent the crust from getting soggy or soft as quickly. Or you can make the crust up to 3 or 4 days ahead and storing in an airtight container. The pastry cream can also be made 3 or 4 days ahead and stored in the refrigerator. Then everything can be assembled the day you plan to serve it.
- Storing: A fruit tart is best enjoyed the day it is assembled although it's still good the next day as well, even if the crust has softened slightly. To store leftovers, cover with plastic wrap or store in an airtight container in the fridge overnight. It can be eaten for up to 3-4 days but is best when it's freshest.
- Freezing: You can bake and freeze the tart shell for up to 1 month. Wrap it carefully in plastic wrap and store in a freezer-safe bag until ready to use.
- Substitutions: You could also use 2 cups half-and-half in place of the whole milk and cream, or 1 ⅓ cup skim or low-fat milk with ⅔ cup heavy cream.
- Vanilla: If you do not have vanilla bean paste, you could just use regular vanilla extract instead.
This post was originally published in April, 2018. The photos and content were updated in August, 2022.
Reader questions and reviews
I made this last week with freshly picked raspberries. I made it with small tart pans. They were just amazing! I am making more today to share with friends. Thank you for posting this recipe.
OMG this is a great recipe, I made it for my family with fresh southern peaches and it was awesome. Thank you for your excellent instructions, and I learned a few things from the comments
I’m making this today. But 12 servings from a 9” tart pan? I bought one off amazon and it’s so tiny!? I mean maybe 6 servings.... is that a typo? I’ll report back. Looks delicious.
No, not a typo! I feel like 10-12 slices is pretty normal for this type of dessert! But you can always do more generous slices!
I made this delicious tart, but had to make a second tart crust because it burned on me. I had a. Black tart pan and it burned in 30 minutes. The second crust came great, only cooked it 20 minuets before taking the pie weights out. It was certainly worth the time.
The recipe made a lovely tasting vanilla cream, but it was the consistency of pudding. Since that's the main element of a tart, I guess I'll try a different recipe and keep this one for home-made pudding! 😊
This looks amazing! I’m gonna try it for my sons 2nd birthday party! I was wondering if you could make the tart shell and the filling the night before and assemble the next day so it stays fresh?
OMG!!! This recipe is absolutely heavenly and delicious!!! Just made it for our daughter’s 24th birthday and it came out wonderful. Seriously, this must be one of the most delicious things I’ve ever produced. The directions are clear and easy to follow. Thank you so much. This will certainly be a staple for special occasions or perhaps even just because. 😊
I'm so glad you loved this, Renate!
You say there should only be a bottom crust, yet the pictures and instructions clearly say and show it having crust up the sides also. Can you please clarify?
By "bottom crust" I just meant it doesn't have a top crust like many pies. So yes, I guess this does have a crust up the sides that holds the filling in. It's not a tall side crust though since tart pans tend to be very short.
I tried making this with tart sized pans. They get so dark almost look burnt. Any tips how to stop this. I use same temp just reduce time
If they are looking burnt then they are just cooking too long. You will have to watch them to make sure they just get golden brown.
Do you know any Gluten Free recipe for the crust
I haven't made a gluten-free version of this one, but I have had really excellent success in the past with Bob's Red Mill's 1-to-1 gluten-free baking flour and I'm very confident it would work well with this recipe too.
so good! I was afraid to make it but it was actually pretty simple! I did it over the span of two days. Patience is key with this recipe. Tastes delicious and looks professional. Recommend!
The textures where great but there was too much flavoring. I won’t use any in the crust next time And probably half the vanilla in the custard.
This is an amazing recipe. I made it exactly following instructions for my daughter‘a birthday. It turned out great, exactly as planned. The taste is awesome. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe, it is a new favorite in our home.
I just made the pastry cream, and it was amazing! The local market was all out of heavy cream, so I used coconut cream instead and it worked out really well. Thanks for a great recipe!
Made the pastry cream to fill small tart cases. Omg the best pastry cream ever. Just delicious.
Would you know the baking time for mini tart pans?
I've seen different sized mini tart pans, but generally speaking I would be looking at around 15 minutes baking, I think.
I’ve made this a few times and absolutely love it. But I have a problem getting tapioca type balls in it. How can I fix this?
Hmm, if you aren't getting a smooth filling, you could try pressing it through a fine mesh sieve. Also, be sure to whisk it well and cook it just long enough to thicken it but not too long. My guess is that the little balls are overcooked bits of protein or cornstarch.
I wish there were a place to share a picture! There were a couple of times in the process I really wasn’t sure if everything was going to come out the right way. I didn’t have potato starch so I substituted two times the amount in flour which did not yield a light and creamy mixture. It was super thick. But I added it along with the hot mixture into my vita mix and blended it on high. Everything came out great that way. I love my Vitamix it’s a workhorse.
Brushing the fruit with preserves thinned down with some pomegranate juice was the extra step that took this dessert to the next level. I also sprinkled the fruit lightly with some Himalayan sea salt.
I got so many compliments and everyone loved the cookie like crust. Judging from your picture I think the flour substitution I may have held the custody filling together better than corn starch. You might try it.
My food processor only have grind and chop on it. Can I leave my dough overnight and cook it the day am serving the tart?
Yes, although I would refrigerate or freeze the tart crust if you aren't baking it. If you are just baking it in advance, then it will be fine on the counter overnight and you can fill the next day.
My tart pan is 11 inches. Will I have enough dough for this?
It might be a bit of a stretch, but I think you could make it work.
Made this— great recipe and easy to follow. I think my pastrcream needed to be a little firmer... but it delicious! Thanks!!
I really want to make this recipe but instead of a big tart pan, can I use smaller ones that have a diametre of 8.5 cm/3.3". How long would I need to bake those for? And also how many tarts can I make if I make this recipe just once?
Yes, you can use smaller tart pans! I would bake for 20 minutes, then remove the weights. I have smaller tart pans as well and have made 6 of them from this recipe.
Made recipe as written, lined crust with a dark chocolate and it was Devine! Truly delicious. Thanks for sharing.
Hi! I have made the recipe numerous times now and it always comes out fantastic! However I’m not quite happy with the crust - sometimes it cracks and becomes unusable and a lot of times the sides of it shrink, I’ve tried using pie weights, poking the bottom with a fork, using parchment paper instead of foil. Help! I’m at a loss. I follow your recipe to a T! Always use cold butter and try not to overwork the dough. I would just to be able to put more filling in the pie. Thanks!
Hmmm, this is such an interesting question. Have you tried freezing the crust after rolling it out and baking it straight from frozen with the pie weights and parchment paper? Another thought would be to add a couple extra tablespoons of flour to decrease the fat to flour ratio that can sometimes lead to shrinkage. I wish I was there to see what was happening!
I made another one last night and froze it longer - about 45 minutes instead of 30 and it came out much better! Still a little bit of shrinkage but I was able to use the full amount of pastry cream this time! Yay!
Can I substitute stevia for the sugar? I have to be careful with sugar because of my liver problems. Thank you.
I haven't ever worked with stevia so I really can't say! I'm sorry! I would hope so though!
Fantastic recipe. I ad a touch more vanilla (since i love it so much) but everyone in my household loves it. Its literally perfect for summer.
nice post thanks admin.....
Amazing Post....Thanks for sharing
Looking forward to making this! I wanted to do as much prep the day before if possible. Could I make the crust dough and put it into the tart pan and freeze over night and bake it the next day?
This is the best fruit tart I've ever had, and I've been to the best bakeries around the US and Paris! The crust is buttery, flavorful and like the best shortbread texture. Pastry cream so tasty and smooth. Not eggy at all! This is indeed the perfect fruit tart and it's beautiful. I made it and had it for our early Father's Day dinner tonight and EVERYONE was raving about this and got seconds. And it was very easy to make too! Thank you for this!!! I used the same brand of vanilla paste in the custard and same brand of vanilla extract in the crust. Accidentally used double the amount of extract. The good quality vanilla really shined! Also used cultured butter, which is great for pastry!
Thank you, Ann! I'm so glad this tart got such rave reviews from someone who has eaten tarts all over, including Paris! I'm so flattered! (Also, apologies for my delay in commenting - we have been doing a lot of traveling this summer and I'm behind!).
As i was transferring the dough to the tart pan, the dough doesnt stick together well and kept breaking up into pieces. Do you know the reason for this?
Yours look so perfect!
Shoot! It could be a couple of things but the main culprit is going to be moisture caused either by a little too much flour or not quite enough liquid. Next time add a splash more cream to the dough so it's a bit stickier and less crumbly and see if that helps.
Hi I was wondering what temp and time I should use for the crust if I am using mini tart pans.
This is a very good idea. keep it up
Can you use this recipe to make mini tarts?
I made it tonight and it looked beautiful but when I cut into it the pieces didn’t stay together. Initially the pastry cream seemed nice and thick but when it was cut it ran all over the place. Tasted delicious though.
We loved this recipe! It was easy and delicious!
Thanks for this recipe! It turned out fantastic!
Loved this recipe! It turned out fantastic and was easy to follow.
My all-time favorite fruit tart recipe.
Thank you, Nancy!
Can this be made in a cheesecake type pan which has a removable bottom? Sides are taller of course. Any adjustments to baking temp?
Absolutely! I don't think any baking temp adjustments will be necessary.
Your sweet sister has told me about this recipe and how much her and her beautiful girls love it. The other day she came to my rescue in many ways so I am going to attempt to make this to thank her. So glad the recipe was easy to find and so far is coming together wonderfully. Wish me luck! Thank you for sharing!
This was the first time ever making a tart. Took a little longer than I thought it would but I still made it to the party in time. I used white melted chocolate on top of the crust before adding the filling and fruit. Worked perfectly! Crust did not get soggy at all and everyone said it was delicious.
Can I make the crust ahead of time and keep it in the fridge for a day?
Hi! Can I make the crust ahead of time (say a 5 days earlier) and freeze it?
Yes, definitely. You could either freeze it baked or frozen and then bake direct from frozen when you are ready to assemble if you choose.
Made this dessert for 4th of July dessert. Used blueberries and strawberries and made a little extra crust and cut mini stars to place on top. Everything was delicious! Thanks for the recipe!
Wish I could share a picture.
I have always wanted to make this. I did and it was great! Lasted a whole 24hrs in my house.
Not sure what I did wrong, but my pastry dough was super sticky. I hoped that it would firm up and be less sticky after resting in the fridge for 30 minutes, but I couldn’t even roll it out because it was so sticky. I weighed the ingredients using a kitchen scale, and was sure to flour the surface properly, but I’m not sure where I went wrong. I have worked with pastry many times before, but I assumed following the directions would give me a good result. I live in NM and it is very dry here, so I don’t think relative humidity levels are the issue. Any ideas?