Fruit Tart with Pastry Cream
Creamy, fruity, and fresh, Fruit Tart with Pastry Cream is fruit pie’s elegant cousin! A crisp shell, dreamy filling, and colorful produce make for a beautiful addition to your dessert table. Plus, it is easily adapted to be dairy-free!
The fruit makes it pretty, but I’m in it for the pastry cream.
If you are a Great British Baking Show devotee like I am, you already know what creme pat, or pastry cream, is all about. But even if you are a fan, have you had pastry cream? Friend, it is the stuff of dreams.
Pastry cream is one of many variations of custard. Traditionally, a custard is made of milk and eggs. For savory dishes like quiche, the custard is plain. But for desserts, sugar and vanilla are added.
Sweet custard versions include eggs, milk, sugar, and vanilla but vary in flavor and consistency. Some popular ones include
- crème anglaise: thin and pourable like a sauce
- crème diplomate: thickened with flour or cornstarch and whipped cream
- crème mousseline: thickened with flour or cornstarch and additional butter
- crème pâtissière: thickened with flour or cornstarch and used as a filling
Many of the desserts we know and love have custard at the heart of them. Things like crème brûlée, filled eclairs, flan, ice cream, pudding, and English trifle all involve some type of custard.
In this fruit tart, the creme pat is the plush filling on which the fresh fruit rests. The combination of crisp tart crust, rich pastry cream, and refreshing fruit is just about perfect. It's so delicious!
Looking for a cake-y version of this? I got you! Try Fruit Dome Cake.
- Make your life easier by dividing the work into multiple days. Prepare the tart shell and the pastry cream a day ahead. Leave assembly for the day you are going to serve the tart.
- To make the crust and the pastry cream dairy-free, you know what to do. Replace the butter with margarine or vegan butter.
- If you are serving this at a big family dinner or holiday meal, allow the artistic moody teenager or that person who *always* wants to help assemble this for you, preferably out of your way. Have the tart, pastry cream, and fruit ready for them and let them be your kitchen serf.
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- ¼ tsp salt
- ⅓ cup powdered sugar
- 9 Tbsp butter, cut into pieces
- 1 egg
- 1 can (13.5 oz) full-fat coconut milk
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 3 Tbsp cornstarch
- ¼ tsp salt
- 5 egg yolks
- 4 Tbsp butter, cut into small pieces
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Grapes, cut in half
- Kiwi, peeled and sliced
- Mango, peeled and sliced
- Strawberries, sliced
- Make the dough for the crust by stirring together the flour, salt, and powdered sugar. Cut in the butter pieces using a food processor, pastry cutter, two knives, or rub in with your fingers. The butter should be the size of peas. Beat the egg and pour it in, a little at a time, stirring it together with the flour mixture. Mix until the dough starts to clump together. Lightly knead the dough to make sure there are no dry areas of dough. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.
- Roll out the chilled dough on a lightly floured flat surface until it is 11 or 12 inches in diameter. Carefully place it in a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Trim the excess dough so that it hangs over by ½ inch. Fold the excess dough inward along the sides so that the sides are double thickness. Dock the dough all over with a fork. Place it in the freezer for 30 minutes before baking. Alternatively, place it in the fridge overnight.
- Blind bake the crust by heating the oven to 350F/177C. Move the oven rack to the center position. Line the crust with foil or parchment paper. Place pie weights or dried beans in a single layer on the foil to prevent the dough from puffing up. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and the pie weights. Return the crust to the oven for another 10-ish minutes or until it is golden brown. Remove and let cool before filling.
- Make the pastry cream by pouring the coconut milk and ¼ cup of the sugar into a medium saucepan and bringing it to a simmer over medium-high heat. Stir together the remaining ¼ cup sugar, cornstarch, salt, and egg yolks in a medium bowl until combined.
- Once the milk is simmering, take 1 cup of the hot milk and slowly pour it into the bowl with the egg mixture whisking constantly. This will temper the eggs and prevent them from curdling. Now you can pour the egg mixture into the saucepan and turn down the heat to medium. Whisk constantly as the mixture heats up and thickens. Allow to cook until you see a few lazy bubbles rise to the surface.
- Remove the pan from the heat. Throw in a few butter pieces and whisk until they melt. Add the rest of the butter and the vanilla and whisk together until the butter is melted. Transfer to a clean bowl and place plastic wrap directly on top of the pastry cream so that a thin skin does not form as it cools. Place it in the fridge and allow to chill for 3 hours or overnight.
- Assemble the tart by spreading the cold pastry cream into the tart shell. Arrange the fruit pieces in a decorative pattern. Or not.
Keywords: fruit tart with pastry cream