Classic French Fruit Tart Recipe
Updated: Dec 19, 2020
Have you ever been to France and walked past a patisserie and stared longingly at one of those amazing intricate, fruity, shiny pastries in the shop window? Or walked past your local bakery and wondered how do they do achieve those beautiful shiny tarts? I have 100s of times and always wanted to make one. Now I can confirm they are not as complicated as they look. Actually these classic french fruit tart are pretty easy to make, they just require a little bit of time.
After months of thinking about buying a tart tin and being far to cheap to part with my cash, when I was finally ready they were pretty much sold out everywhere during lockdown. Typical! But I finally managed it. The first thing I decide to make was this french fruit tart. Actually, Dave asked me kindly to make and I was up for the challenge and decided to give it a go.
Skip to the end for the recipe!
The Fruit tart basics:
This tart has only 4 major components. Pastry, creme patissiere (custard), fruit and a glaze. All 4 parts are pretty straight forward and simple to achieved. All components apart from the glaze can be made in advance, for example the day before, then assembled 1-2 hours before serving. Easy peasy!
PASTRY: You can make your own pastry but this girl still refuses to try although I am starting to thing I should. I used Jul-Rol shortcrust pastry to line a 23 cm tart tin. Make sure you press the pastry into your tart tin and cut away any excess pastry. A potential recipe to try if your interested in making authentic french tart pastry (pâte sucrée) is this one from The Spruce Eats.
CREME PATISSIERE: This is a classic vanilla infused french custard. Simple and tasty and much easier than I expected it to be. You simply need to heat some milk with vanilla to infuse it with flavour. Then in a separate bowl whisk egg yolks with sugar, then thicken with the addition of cornstarch, before adding the heated milk and thickening into a custard on the hob. Easy! Once cooked, cool for at least 2 hours before filling your cooled tart pastry.
FRUIT: Choose whatever you want. I went for strawberries, kiwis and nectarines. Slice and decorate the top of your creme patisserie filled tart however you please. Go as simple or as intricate as you want.
GLAZE: To give your tart that premium french glaze is actually really simple. I heated some redcurrant jelly with water to melt the jelly completely, then leave it to cool for a bit before brushing on to the fruit. I saw many recipes using apricot or apple jam. I think the key is to avoid heavily seeded jam but if that is all you have you can always strain it through a sieve.
This tart looked so impressive. My pastry was quite messy as the shortcrust pastry was tough to unroll but it did suggest removing it from the fridge 45 mins in advance, which I obviously did not do. As a result here were a few holes in the tart but once it was filled with creme patisserie and topped with fruit all these imperfections were easily hidden.
I served this french tart as a dessert for our first post lockdown dinner guest. It was the perfect relatively light dessert to follow a lamb roast. The dessert went down a treat and I can't wait to try it again, with different fruit and I will even attempt to make my own pastry. I feel the time has finally come to stop avoiding it. Overall, this bake was fantastic and I am really proud. I also enjoyed the leftovers over the next couple of days.
Prep time: 20 mins, Cook time: 20 mins
Bake time: 35 mins, Serves 8
Jus-Rol Shortcrust Pastry Ready Rolled Sheet (320 g packet)
473 ml Whole milk
1.5 tsp Vanilla extract (or 1/2 vanilla bean pod)
6 Egg yolks
135 g Caster sugar
32 g Cornstarch
14 g Unsalted butter
12 Strawberries (halved)
2 Kiwis (peeled and sliced)
2 Nectarines (destoned and sliced)
4 tbsp Redcurrant jam
2 tbsp Water
Preheat an oven at 160°C
Line a 23 cm tart tin with pastry,
Cover with parchment, and fill with baking beans (or dried beans) this is to weigh down a pastry - bake for 25 mins
Remove the parchment paper and beans, and bake for 10 mins
Leave the cool completely before using to make tart
Heat the whole milk with vanilla until it starts boiling, then stop immediately. Leave for 15 mins off the heat to infuse and cool a little.
In the meantime, separate the egg yolks from the egg white. Add the egg yolks to a bowl and whisk with the caster sugar until light and fluffy
Add cornstarch to thicken, whisking vigorously to ensure there are no lumps
Add 60 ml of milk to the egg/sugar mix, making sure to incorporate it properly
Whisk the rest of the milk to the egg/sugar mix
Pour the combined mix back to the pot and whisk continuously over a medium heat until it thickens up
Remove from the heat and stir in the butter
Leave to cool for a few minutes
Transfer to a bowl, cover with cling, making sure the cling film touches the custard to avoid a skin forming
Leave to cool for at least 2 hours before using to fill the tart. This can be made in advance and stored in the fridge.
Whisk the creme patissiere before using to fill the tart
Fill the tart with creme patissiere, you can spoon it or pipe it - completely up to you
Add your sliced fruit - decorate as you please
Make your glaze by heating the jelly with water until completely melted then brush the slightly cooled jelly on the fruit
You have a tart - enjoy!
Check out my other fruity bakes