Vanilla Custard Fruit Tart

Vanilla Custard Fruit Tart

The Spruce / Bahareh Niati

Prep: 30 mins
Cook: 40 mins
Chill Time: 90 mins
Total: 2 hrs 40 mins
Servings: 8 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
436 Calories
19g Fat
62g Carbs
8g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8
Amount per serving
Calories 436
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 19g 24%
Saturated Fat 11g 54%
Cholesterol 114mg 38%
Sodium 88mg 4%
Total Carbohydrate 62g 22%
Dietary Fiber 2g 9%
Total Sugars 35g
Protein 8g
Vitamin C 37mg 186%
Calcium 103mg 8%
Iron 2mg 11%
Potassium 325mg 7%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Beautiful fruit tarts sitting on display at bakeries and pastry shops look like works of art. And lots of work. But even if making a custard-filled fruit tart requires some patience, it is as simple as following instructions and paying a little attention to details. You can create a wonderful and flavorful tart and make the best use of the sweet fruits that are in season with our approachable step-by-step recipe. Our tart features a sweet, crumbly crust filled with velvety smooth vanilla custard, all topped with ripe, juicy fruit for a refreshing treat.

Pick your favorite fruit and have fun decorating the tart. From summer berries to fall apples and pears, tarts can take on any fruit topping that you favor. Mangoes, plums, pineapples, passion fruit, kiwis, peaches, or a combination of many fruits are all great choices.

Plan ahead, as the tart needs to be refrigerated before serving. And don't be intimidated by the look of the final product. As long as you have all your ingredients measured and the right tools, you're in for a successful masterpiece of pastry. Our instructions offer the choice of making the pastry using a food processor or mixing it by hand. For baking, we recommend using a removable bottom pan for the best results.

Ingredients

For the Tart Shell:

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cold, cut into small pieces

  • 3 tablespoons ice water

  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest

For the Custard:

  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour

  • 1/8 teaspoon fine salt

  • 2 cups whole milk

  • 2 large egg yolks

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

For the Fruit Topping:

  • 3 to 4 cups fresh fruit, such as berries, sliced mangoes, apples, or peaches

For Glazing:

  • 1/4 cup apricot preserve

Steps to Make It

Note: While there are multiple steps to this recipe, this vanilla custard fruit tart is broken down into workable categories to help you better plan for baking.

Make the Pastry (Food Processor)

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Vanilla Custard Fruit Tart ingredients

    The Spruce / Bahareh Niati

  2. Process the flour and butter in a food processor until coarse crumbs form.

    flour and butter in a food processor

    The Spruce / Bahareh Niati

  3. With the motor running, add the water and lemon zest through the feed tube and process until the dough leaves the sides of the bowl.

    water and lemon peel added to flour and butter in a food processor

    The Spruce / Bahareh Niati

  4. Gather the dough into a ball, flatten, wrap in waxed paper, and refrigerate for 30 minutes or just until firm enough to roll out. If not using immediately, wrap with plastic and refrigerate for up to three days or freeze up to three months.

    tart pastry wrapped in plastic wrap

    The Spruce / Bahareh Niati

Make the Pastry (by Hand) 

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Vanilla Custard Fruit Tart pastry ingredients

    The Spruce / Bahareh Niati

  2. Place the flour and butter into a medium bowl.

    flour and butter in a bowl

    The Spruce / Bahareh Niati

  3. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

    butter and flour mixed with a pastry blender

    The Spruce / Bahareh Niati

  4. Add the water and lemon zest. Stir until the dough holds together.

    flour, butter, water and lemon peel mixture in a bowl, dough in a bowl

    The Spruce / Bahareh Niati

  5. Gather the dough into a ball, flatten, wrap in waxed paper, and refrigerate for 30 minutes or just until firm enough to roll out. If not using immediately, wrap with plastic and refrigerate for up to three days or freeze up to three months.

    tart pastry wrapped in plastic wrap

    The Spruce / Bahareh Niati

Bake the Crust

  1. Press the prepared tart dough evenly into the bottom and up the sides of a 9- or 10-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Freeze for 20 to 30 minutes until very firm.

    tart dough / pastry in a tart pan

    The Spruce / Bahareh Niati

  2. Preheat the oven to 425 F. Using a fork, prick the bottom of the tart shell at 1-inch intervals.

    tart dough in a pan, prick the tart shell dough with a fork

    The Spruce / Bahareh Niati

  3. Line the pastry snugly with foil.

    aluminum foil over on top of tart dough in a tart pan

    The Spruce / Bahareh Niati

  4. Bake 12 to 15 minutes until crust is set and just beginning to brown.

    tart dough partially baked in a tart pan

    The Spruce / Bahareh Niati

  5. Remove the foil and bake until the crust is golden brown, 10 to 12 additional minutes. Set the crust on a wire rack and cool completely.

    baked tart dough in a tart pan cooling on a cooling rack

    The Spruce / Bahareh Niati

Make the Custard

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Vanilla Custard Fruit Tart, custard ingredients

    The Spruce / Bahareh Niati

  2. In a medium saucepan, mix the sugar, flour, and salt. Whisk in the milk until the mixture has a smooth texture. Make sure the whisk reaches the corners of the pan.

    milk, sugar, flour and salt in a saucepan

    The Spruce / Bahareh Niati

  3. Bring to a gentle boil over medium heat and, whisking constantly, boil for 4 to 5 minutes until the mixture thickens. Remove the pan from the heat.

    whisk the milk mixture over the heat in a saucepan

    The Spruce / Bahareh Niati

  4. In a small bowl, whisk the egg yolks.

    whisked egg yolks in a bowl

    The Spruce / Bahareh Niati

  5. Gradually whisk in about 1 cup of the hot milk mixture.

    milk mixture and egg yolks mixed together

    The Spruce / Bahareh Niati

  6. Pour the egg yolk mixture into the saucepan and, whisking constantly, simmer for 2 to 3 minutes until slightly thicker. Remove the pan from the heat.

    egg yolk mixture and milk mixture whisked together in a saucepan

    The Spruce / Bahareh Niati

  7. Add the butter and vanilla and stir until the butter is melted.

    milk and egg yolk mixture mixed together with butter and vanilla in a saucepan

    The Spruce / Bahareh Niati

  8. Strain the custard through a fine sieve set over a medium bowl.

    Strain the custard through a fine sieve

    The Spruce / Bahareh Niati

  9. Place plastic wrap directly on the surface of the custard to keep a skin from forming. Refrigerate until cool, about 1 hour.

    Place plastic wrap directly on the surface of the custard in a bowl

    The Spruce / Bahareh Niati

Assemble the Tart

  1. Gather the shell, custard, fruit, and preserve.

    Vanilla Custard Fruit Tart ingredients

    The Spruce / Bahareh Niati

  2. In a small saucepan over medium heat, warm the preserve until slightly thinner in consistency, about 5 minutes.

    preserves heated in a saucepan

    The Spruce / Bahareh Niati

  3. Stir the chilled custard and spread it into the prepared crust.

    custard inside of tart crust

    The Spruce / Bahareh Niati

  4. Top with the fresh fruit of your choice.

    fruit tart with custard topped with fresh fruit

    The Spruce / Bahareh Niati

  5. Brush the fruit with the preserve. Serve the tart right away or refrigerate, covered, for up to 24 hours. Enjoy.

    Vanilla Custard Fruit Tart, preserves brushed on the fresh fruit

    The Spruce / Bahareh Niati

Shortcut to Fruit Tart

To save a little time buy premade tarts or dessert shells, but make sure you read any instructions for preparation, especially if the tarts are frozen.

Make It Your Own

The fruit topping choices are endless. Pick the freshest fruit available, as it will be at its peak of quality and also will be lower in price. Add other ingredients to make the tart your own. Here are a few of our favorite combinations:

  • Chocolate-Berry: Cover the tart with raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries and top with a generous amount of semisweet milk chocolate or dark chocolate.
  • Coconut-Lemon: Add the zest of a lemon to the custard right when you add the milk, but skip the vanilla extract. Decorate the tart with toasted coconut flakes and thinly sliced candied lemon peel.
  • Pineapple-Mint: Add 1 can of drained and diced pineapple rings into the custard before chilling. Decorate with additional pineapple rings and sprigs of fresh mint for a pop of color.

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