Classic French Fruit Tart

This Classic French Fruit Tart is a gorgeous and delicious way to highlight summer berries. It features a traditional shortbread crust (pâte sucrée) and a creamy vanilla custard (crême pâtissière) and loads of fresh berries and kiwi.

The shortbread crust is perfect for filling and refrigerating.  It will stay crisp and provide the ideal texture for this lovely tart!

The vanilla custard takes just minutes to make (but you’ll need some time to chill it, so plan accordingly) and is creamy and thick.

And, the berries, that lovely splash of color and taste, complete this recipe to make it a show-stopping finale to any dinner!

This tart begins with the crust, an easy shortbread, sweet crust known as Pâte Sucrée.  The recipe is easy to follow.  Give yourself enough time to make it (you’ll need close to 2 hours to include the chilling and cooling time).  You can make the baked crust a day or two ahead.

To make the vanilla custard, combine in a small bowl the sugar, egg, egg yolks and corn starch and whisk until smooth. 

Heat the milk in a medium pot until it just begins to boil.  Remove the pot from the heat and whisk about 1/4 of the hot milk into the egg mixture.  This is called “tempering” and it will raise the temperature of the eggs without cooking them.  It will help them emulsify into the rest of the milk.  

Pour the tempered egg mixture into the remaining milk, whisking constantly to prevent the eggs from scrambling.

It doesn’t take long for the custard to become thick and creamy, just about 2 minutes.  Stir in the butter and vanilla and cook another minute or so.

Pour the custard into a bowl and cover it with plastic wrap, pushing the wrap onto the surface of the custard so that a “skin” doesn’t form.  Refrigerate it for a few hours until it’s cold.  This can be done a few days ahead.

To assemble the tart, remove the outer ring of the pan and set the tart on a serving dish.  Whisk the pastry cream until it’s smooth and then spread it into the tart shell.

Regarding the fruit, I love using a combination of mixed berries (strawberries, blackberries, blueberries and raspberries) to create a beautiful look to the tart.  Be sure to wash them all (except the raspberries as they will get soft if you wash them ahead of time).  Make sure the berries are completely dry when you use them so I like to wash them and set them on a dish towel to dry hours ahead of when I’m going to use them.  If you forget to do this, just towel dry them very well.

Stay away from fruit that can oxidize like apples or bananas or fruit that has too high of a water content like melons or citrus.  They will get mushy and make the tart soggy.

You can arrange the fruit however you like.  You can do it freeform as I have done or a classic concentric-circle design.  

I left a space in the middle for a “flower” of kiwis.  Thinly slice kiwis or mangoes and layer them concentrically into a flower.

Finally, heat up some apricot preserves with a little water and dab the glaze over the fruit to give it a shiny look.

All that’s left is to present it, have everyone say “Wow” and devour it!

Share Your Thoughts...

Lastly, if you make Classic French Fruit Tart, be sure to leave a review down below at the bottom of this page (stars are also appreciated)! Above all, I love to hear from you and always do my best to respond to each and every review. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is one of my favorite things to do!

Classic French Fruit Tart

Makes: 10 servings

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes plus 2 hours for crust and cream


  • 1 recipe pâte sucrée (sweet tart dough)
  • 2 cups whole milk (do not substitute low-fat or skim milk)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • About 4 cups fresh mixed berries of choice, plus other fruits, such as sliced kiwi or mango (see note)
  • 1/4 cup apricot jam


Make the Crust:

Complete the pâte sucrée through baking and cooling.

Make the Pastry Cream:

In a medium pot, heat the milk until just boiling. Remove the pot from heat. While the milk is warming, in a heat-proof mixing bowl, whisk together the sugar, egg, egg yolks, and cornstarch. Whisk until the mixture is very smooth and has lightened in color, about 2 minutes. Whisking constantly, add about a quarter of the hot milk into the egg mixture. (This is called tempering. Tempering the eggs helps raise their temperature without cooking them, and helps emulsify them into the milk.)

Pour the milk-tempered egg mixture into the pot of the remaining milk. Whisk to combine. Return the pot to the heat and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly to prevent “scrambled eggs,” especially on the sides and bottom, until the magic happens and the pastry cream thickens, about 2 minutes.

Stir in the butter and vanilla and cook one minute more, whisking constantly. The pastry cream should make thick, lazy bubbles. (See note below if you see any coagulated bits of egg in your custard.) Pour the thickened pastry cream into a clean, shallow bowl. Cover it with plastic wrap and push it down in the bowl so it sits directly on the surface of the pastry cream. This prevents a skin from forming on top. Chill until cold, a few hours (or up to 2 days before serving).

Assemble the Tart:

Remove the tart ring and transfer the tart shell to a serving platter. Whisk the chilled pastry cream until smooth, then spread it evenly into the tart shell using an offset spatula. Arrange a generous amount of fruit over the pastry cream in your desired design. In a small saucepan, heat the apricot jam with 1 tablespoon of water over medium heat, whisking, until thin. (Alternatively, heat it in a heat-proof bowl in the microwave for about 30 seconds.) If the jam is especially chunky, strain it through a sieve. Use a pastry brush to gently dab the fruit with a thin layer of apricot glaze. Chill until ready to serve.

Chef’s Notes:

Avoid melon and other fruit with high moisture content, like sliced citrus. These will wilt quickly and seep moisture into the pastry cream. Also avoid oxidizing fruit like apples and bananas; these fruits will turn brown. Berries should be fully dried after rinsing (raspberries should not be washed) and strawberries should be sliced.

If you see any coagulated egg bits in your finished custard, strain the hot pastry cream through a fine mesh strainer.

Make-Ahead Instructions:

The pastry cream can be made up to 2 days before serving. The tart can be assembled and refrigerated up to one day before serving.

Recipe by Once Upon a Chef


    You May Also Like

    Leave a Review

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *