Classic French Fruit Tart
This classic French fruit tart has a buttery shortbread crust, a creamy vanilla custard, and heaps of fresh fruit.
- 1 recipe pâte sucrée (sweet tart dough)
- 2 cups whole milk (do not substitute low-fat or skim milk)
- ½ cup sugar
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 large egg
- 2 large egg yolks
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- About 4 cups fresh mixed berries of choice, plus other fruits, such as sliced kiwi or mango (see note)
- ¼ 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.
- Note: 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.
- Note: 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.
- Per serving (10 servings)
- Calories: 349
- Fat: 16 g
- Saturated fat: 10 g
- Carbohydrates: 47 g
- Sugar: 29 g
- Fiber: 2 g
- Protein: 5 g
- Sodium: 95 mg
- Cholesterol: 108 mg