This Fresh Berry Tart will be one of your favorite summer desserts. Light, refreshing, and beautiful, it’s always a show-stopper!
Bakery-Style Fruit Tart With Pastry Cream
The list of things I like about summer is pretty short compared to fall and winter, but there are a couple of standouts on that list. Among the top are summer berries, which are sweeter, fresher, and more delectable than the out-of-season berries you buy at the grocery store in January.
Desserts like this Fresh Berry Tart just aren’t the same any other time of year. All those berries piled on top of a lovely, cool pastry cream, and all that on top of sweet homemade crust… yes, this is definitely one of summer’s best desserts.
This Berry Tart is a bit unlike my usual recipe offerings. It’s more involved, although I wouldn’t classify it as difficult. Each step is simple, but it can be time consuming. Just plan ahead and make this beauty in stages, and you’ll be set.
What Is Fruit Tart Filling Made Of?
You’ve undoubtedly seen French fruit tarts at bakeries, with golden brown crusts and glistening, artfully arranged fruit on top. The filling underneath that fruit is pastry cream, or crème pâtissière as it’s known in French. It’s used in everything from eclairs to Boston cream pie, and it’s essentially a spreadable, pipe-able custard.
What You’ll Need
Here’s everything you’ll need to make this fresh, summery berry tart.
For the crust:
- Cold unsalted butter – Cut the butter into 1-inch cubes; the colder it is, the better!
- Superfine sugar – Here’s how to make superfine sugar.
- All-purpose flour
- Egg yolk – Eggs that are fresh out of the refrigerator separate more easily.
- Heavy cream
For the whipped pastry cream:
- Half-and-half – See my list of half-and-half substitutes.
- Granulated sugar
- Vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste – If you want to change things up, you can use almond extract here.
- Unsalted butter
- Heavy cream
- Fruit preserves – This gives your tart a French bakery-style glaze. Use apricot, raspberry, or currant.
- Fresh berries – Rinse them, hull them, and dry them well to keep the berries from making your tart soggy.
What berries are best for topping a fresh fruit tart?
Any berries can be used on this tart. The one you see here was made with strawberries and blueberries. I’ve also made it with raspberries and blackberries. Use any variety you want based on your preferences or what looks freshest.
You can change the berries as the season progresses, and you can also use slices of kiwi, peaches, nectarines, and plums.
How to Make a Fresh Berry Tart
Give yourself plenty of time to make this recipe. Again, it’s not hard, but there are a lot of steps involved!
To make the crust:
Start the dough. Combine the butter and sugar in your food processor. Pulse about 15 times, or until the sugar disappears. Add the flour and salt; pulse again about 15 times, until the butter is no bigger than small peas.
Finish the dough. Stir the egg yolk and cream in a small bowl and pour this into the food processor. Pulse about 8 times, just until incorporated. The dough will be crumbly, and that’s okay. Scoop the dough into a plastic bag and press from the outside just until it holds together.
Form the dough into a disc. Transfer the dough to a large piece of plastic wrap. Use the plastic wrap to knead the dough a few times, until it’s smooth. Press into a 6-inch disc, wrap it with the plastic, and refrigerate for 30 minutes or freeze for 10 minutes, or until it’s firm.
Roll out the dough. Roll the dough between two lightly floured sheets of plastic wrap until it forms an 1/8-inch-thick circle. Work quickly so the dough does not soften.
Make the crust. Remove the top sheet of plastic wrap. For a 9 1/2- by 1-inch tart pan, cut the dough to an 11-inch circle. Lift the dough using the plastic wrap; invert it and drape it evenly into the tart pan. Remove the plastic wrap and press the dough into the sides of the pan until it’s about 1/8 inch above the rim (it will fall during baking).
Bake. Bake the crust at 425°F for 5 minutes. When the dough starts to puff, prick it lightly with a fork, then bake at 375°F for 10-15 minutes more.
To make the pastry cream:
Make the egg mixture. Whisk the eggs and cornstarch in a small bowl. Slowly add 1/4 cup of the half-and-half. Continue to whisk until the mixture is smooth and the cornstarch has dissolved.
Heat the sugar and half-and-half. Place the sugar in a medium, heavy, nonreactive saucepan. Stir in the remaining half-and-half and salt. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Whisk 2 tablespoons of the sugar mixture into bowl with the egg mixture. Pass the egg mixture through a strainer into another small bowl.
Finish cooking. Return the half-and-half mixture to a boil. Add the egg mixture and whisk quickly for 20-30 seconds. The mixture should be very thick.
Add the butter. Remove the pan from heat and whisk in the butter and vanilla extract. Immediately pour this mixture into a bowl and place a piece of greased plastic wrap onto the top of the cream to prevent a skin from forming.
Chill. Cool the cream to room temperature, then refrigerate it until it’s cold.
Finish. Whip in the desired amount of heavy cream and fold it into the pastry cream. (For this recipe, I used equal amounts of pastry cream and whipped cream.)
Warm the preserves. If you’re using preserves with whole fruit or seeds, microwave it in a small bowl until it’s melted and bubbling, stirring once or twice. Strain it through a fine mesh sieve to remove the seeds and fruit pieces. This should yield about 3 tablespoons. Brush the preserves onto the bottom and sides of the cooled crust.
Assemble. Spread the pastry cream into the crust in an even layer. Arrange the fresh berries on top and refrigerate 1-3 hours before serving.
Tips for Success
Here are some of my best tips for a perfect berry tart:
- Measure accurately. Use a kitchen scale to measure by weight when possible. Otherwise, use the spoon and sweep method. Learn more: How to Measure Flour.
- A food processor is your friend. But you can make this crust by hand if you don’t have one. It can be a bit of a challenge to get it mixed, but it’s certainly doable.
- Add as much whipped cream as you like. You can vary the consistency of the filling by changing the amount of whipped cream. Keep in mind that you’ll get about double the volume of heavy cream when you whip it.
- Spread out the work. Both the crust and the filling can be made in advance, so it can be helpful to spread out making this tart over a couple of days to make it less labor-intensive. The crust will keep at room temperature for up to 2 days, while the cream will last 3 days in the refrigerator.
How to Store
Store this Fresh Berry Tart covered in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. How long it lasts will depend on the freshness of your berries, though—if your berries were a little past their prime when you assembled the tart, it might only keep for a day.
Can This Recipe Be Frozen?
No, this recipe can’t be frozen; when frozen and thawed, the berries will release liquid into the cream and make the tart soggy. If you do want to make this in advance, you can assemble the crust, fill it with the cream, and freeze it for up to 3 months without the berries on top. Thaw the tart in the refrigerator, then top it with berries.
48 Comments on “Fresh Berry Tart”
Tell me about the summer heat. We have just moved down to the south. I can’t imagine how hot it will get in the coming months. I need berries dessert like this to cheer up my days. :p
Ohhh I adore fresh berries too. That tart is beautiful 🙂
That looks delicious. I love raspberries and blackberries on a fruit tart.
By the way, I live in Chicago, where winter goes on forever. Cold, nasty winters. I’m jealous of people who live in warm weather climates!
I hate Summer. I write about how much I hate Summer all the time. That tart on the other hand I love.
Oh yum! I love summer berries too! And am not a fan of the heat. My mother on the other hand LOVES hot, humid weather.
If summer never happened, I’d be happy. I’ve lived in the northeast and the midwest, and summer is no better there than anywhere else, trust me!
Like you though, I think that berries are the best part of summer!
Jen, don’t worry – the photos you posted are enough for us to drool!! 🙂
I don’t like summer, either – too hot. I prefer milder days, like the ones we have in the fall and spring.
I’m not a fan of July and August – but I do enjoy the milder summer times. Your tart is gorgeous and the pictures are fantastic!
I’m all about spring. Cold nights where a comforter is needed, but warm afternoons when lying in the sun is necessary. By the way, how is that Pie & Pastry Bible book? I’ve been debating on my next baking book. Between The Cake Bible & The Pie & Pastry Bible, I’ve got a lot of options here.
Oh, I’ve always wanted to make the cover recipe from this cookbook! Your photos are lovely and I agree. A cool, fruit tart is a perfect dessert to enjoy on the dog days of summer.
Great photos, great ingredients – (great because I have them in my fridge) – just printed the recipe – oh yeah!!!
Wow. How crazy. I just made a very similar fruit tart! Yours looks delicious. It’s such a great idea for the summer.
Those are very tempting.
OOOH! I completely agree with you about Summers in the South! I currently live in Texas; it’s been 100 degrees for more than half the week already, and I’m dying!!! The only thing I like about summer are the tasty berries, too, and you’ve captured these beautifully :). Lucky for me, this is my last summer here in TX for awhile, since the hubby and I will be moving to the Boston area this coming July…I will miss the summer berries though; they don’t go in season over there until Fall :(.
So good! Sorry you had no chance for photos of this one since we gobbled it up! This may be one of my favorite things you have ever made. It is so light and cool–perfect for summer. This one’s a keeper!
Mandy, I feel for you and your first summer in the South. Just wait until July and August.
Tanya, most days I’d take cold weather over the endless hot days. I’m sure too much of either one is tough.
Thanks, Peabody. Glad I’m not alone.
Rachel, I don’t get how people like being hot. To each his own, huh?
Bridget, I could definitely pass right over summer and go straight from spring to fall.
Thanks, Patricia! I’m beginning to think no one likes hot weather!
Thanks, Elizabeth! I’m fine until it gets 80+. Then, I just know it’s going to get worse.
Amanda, I’ve marked several recipes to try from this book. This was my first one to make. It looks like a fantastic book, though.
giz, I hope you like it!
Spotted Apron, great minds, right? 🙂
Sophie, we haven’t quite made it to 100, but these 90s are bad enough. I’m sure your Boston summers will be much more pleasant, even without the berries.
Thanks, Nan! Glad you liked it.
I just made fruit tarts in baking class last week and now I see them pop up everywhere, it looks great!
I’m from Australia and have never heard of half & half could you explain what it is so maybe I could use something similar to it.
i literally want to pick those berries right out of my computer screen.
brilynn, I guess it’s just the season for berries!
Maria, half-and-half is equal parts whole milk and cream. Hope that helps!
Thanks, kelley! I’ll take that as a compliment.
This looks really yummy–especially for fruit lovers! I’m new to food blogging, and I am glad I found yours! I’ll definitely be coming back!
I did not miss the summer until I moved to NY. I hated it because it was no different than any other season in South Texas. However, now that I live in NY I try to enjoy being outside as much as I can. However, don’t get me wrong I do enjoy the a/c on high when I get a chance. Do you think this recipe can be used with frozen berries?
Your Berry Tart looks amazing! My dad is coming home from a trip to India on Friday, and now I want to make him something with fresh berries to welcome him home. Thanks for the inspiration!
I’m also a Chicago girl and wish I lived south, althouh you are right, I’d get sick of the warmth before I know it, I’ll have to aim in between if I ever move. The tart looks so delicious!
Slice picture not needed at all… the other pictures are amazing!!
Other than Florida in May, I’ve never been to the south. So I don’t think I’ve experienced the miserable heat you describe. We have pretty nice, mild weather here in San Diego with pretty much zero humidity. You should escape here for a vacation!
Thanks, Kelley! I’m glad you found me.
LorY, I could put up with most any weather if I lived in New York! 😉
Jessica, hope you and your dad like the tart!
stacie, it wouldn’t take long to get tired of the hot weather. It’s only June and I’m already wishing for October.
Thanks, RecipeGirl! I’d love zero humidity. I wouldn’t know what to do! I’d love to visit San Diego some time.
I love summer, but mostly because I hate the winter so much. And here in Utah, the winter seems to last about 8 months. But this tart is gorgeous, and makes me crave some fresh berries!
I love tarts and I love berries. This is a perfect recipe for me! And about the heat, tell me about it! It’s summer all year round here in Singapore 🙁
This looks delicious. I’m pretty sure I gained half a pound just drooling over the photos. Time to pay a visit to the produce section of the grocery store and see what they have in the way of raspberries (my favorite!)
I hate the summer, too. It’s like living in an oven for 7 straight months; I enjoy baking, but not like that.
Deborah, I guess we all want what we can’t have. You want summer and I want more winter. 😉
Thanks, Mrs Ergul! I don’t think I could take year-round hot weather!!!
Thanks, Jamie! Raspberries are my favorite, too. I agree about summer – it’s hard to turn the oven on when it’s so hot.
Summer in the Northwest is what we wait for. Take a long vacation in this direction. You will once again love summers.
Jennifer- Your tart looks wonderful! I hate the summer too and swear I am going to move to get away from the heat every year. My body is already registered at 200 degrees, so the heat kills me. We can complain together. Fabulous photos.
Every single one of your recipes are beautiful!
On their recent visit my aunt and uncle asked about our seasons and I replied “we have summer and less summer”…today was already scorching hot and it’s not summer yet! The tart however reminds me of all the good points about summer like berries…lovely!
Heather and mynda, I may have to do just that some time!
Thanks, Kim! Rest assured I’ll be complaining about the heat for the remainder of the summer. 🙂
Tartelette, that’s an apt description. It certainly feels that way to me.
Oh, this is gorgeous! We’re in a heatwave right now in NH, and yuck! it’s hot. I hate it. Give me cool fall days or a blizzard any day!
Thanks, Elle! I’ll take those kinds of days, too. But, I’ll have a long time to wait to get there….
I hear ya girlfriend! This Florida girl is no fan of summer either. What’s to love about 95 degree temps and humidity?
I am, however, a big fan of beautiful and delicious looking fresh fruit tarts! It looks to die for!
I agree that there is nothing quite like a good raspberry or strawberry. Great minds must think alike – I made raspberry and coconut cupcakes this week!
Oh, this looks absolutely scrumptious. The berries are so beautiful, you could pick them off the screen…
Your picture of that tart looks absolutely beautiful! I don’t think I’ve ever seen a berry look so heroic in my life…
Susan, all that heat is definitely not for me. Yuck.
caked crusader, I love raspberry and coconut together. I’ll bet those cupcakes were delicious!
Thanks, Patti! I don’t think I’ve ever heard a berry described as “heroic.” 😉
Mmmm, love the berries too. Plus ice cold watermelon, fresh corn on the cob and sun ripened tomatoes. So summer has some blessings.
But our summers here in Philadelphia are much like yours, hot, hazy and humid. Though they don’t last quite as long as yours (thank goodness).
Constance, summer does have a few good points. I might like it better if it were the same length here as there. 🙂
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An absolutely beautiful tart. Looks too good to be eaten!!!!
I made this a while ago and I must say it is delicious! It came out with a little too much cream, but i’m not complaining! (: Thank you!