If you are looking for a light but delicious desert for upcoming summer barbecues, holidays, weekends, or just because, you should definitely put this Celebration Fruit Tart on your short list. I’m not entirely sure why I coined this tasty little treat a “celebration” fruit tart. Probably because it is so colorful it deserves celebrating something. And, with these berries I chose to use, it looks like we are celebrating our good ‘ole USA. Maybe perfect for upcoming Fourth of July gatherings?
Anyways … We recently had friends over for a backyard BBQ before our Scottsdale summer kicked into full gear. The main course was pretty heavy and rich (more on that later 😉 ), so I decided to make something on the lighter side for dessert.
Fruit Tart Inspiration
When I was younger, we used to make a summer desert tart with a shortbread or cookie crust, cream cheese frosting, and then topped with fruit of the season. Looking back now, it was really a spin on a classic fruit tart, just a little simpler for us youngsters to handle (cream cheese frosting vs. pastry cream). That desert was my inspiration for this most recent Celebration Fruit Tart that I put together.
Most classic fruit tarts have a crust that is basically a sweet pie crust, a pastry cream filling, and are topped with fresh fruit. I really wanted to pull in the shortbread crust instead, and so I hunted around for a good shortbread crust recipe. Then I searched around some more for a filling idea that sounded perfectly creamy and delicious. And thankfully, berries are in full swing right now so getting some flavorful fresh ones from the store was easy. I wanted to keep this tart to berries only, with that red-white-and-blue theme. But you can get really creative with any fruit toppings you personally enjoy, or can find fresh and in season.
Fruit Tart Components
Admittedly, there was not much that I made up about this recipe, other than that I pulled together a few components from different places. The recipes and instructions are all thanks to my fellow internet bakers, and you can link out to their sites below.
There are four parts to this fruit tart recipe. And the best thing? You can make the first two ahead (even up to a couple days ahead), and just compile the tart the day of or a few hours before serving.
- Shortbread Crust
- Vanilla Pastry Cream Filling
- Fresh Fruit Topping
- Apricot Glaze (pre and post filling)
The shortbread crust recipe I used was from the Joy of Baking. You can follow this link for the full recipe and instructions. The only things I modified, were:
- 1.5X the recipe for my 11-inch tart pan.
- Once cooled, I brushed with warmed apricot jam to keep the crust from getting soggy after filling. I did not strain or thin the jam – after warming it was plenty spreadable, and I just avoided any large chunks of fruit when spreading.
This shortbread crust recipe was DELICIOUS – buttery, crisp, easy to bite into, melt-in-your-mouth. I will definitely be using it again!
Vanilla Pastry Cream Filling
The vanilla pastry cream filling I used was from House of Nash Eats. You can follow this link for the full recipe and instructions. I looked at several fruit tart filling recipes, and liked the look of this one the best. It uses just egg yolks (not full eggs), and a nice creamy dairy combination (whole milk and heavy cream). I figured with those three ingredient components, it would be difficult to go wrong 😉 And boy was I right! This filling came together wonderfully, was pretty simple and quick to cook up, and was 100% delicious. You could actually just eat it like a pudding it was so amazing. (Ah-hem, I may have done that with some leftovers… )
Again, the only things I modified were:
- 1.5X the recipe for my 11-inch tart pan – it was just about right, with a little bit leftover for “tasting.”
- I used vanilla bean for the flavor – one whole bean for 1.5X the recipe.
Fresh Fruit Topping
For the fruit topping you can use whatever is in season! Classic fruit tarts will typically have some berries, kiwis, maybe even some mandarin orange slices. For the summer holidays, I love using a combination of berries. They are some of my favorite fruits anyways. And, if you are wanting to stick with the “Celebration” theme for Fourth of July or another of our summer holidays, the red and blue berries atop the creamy vanilla filling make a nice statement.
A final optional step for this fruit tart is to glaze both the crust and the fruit after decorating. I opted for an apricot jam because I had some on hand, and it wouldn’t add much color tint. You could really use whatever type of jam you want though. Or, as you will see in the shortbread crust recipe, you could even glaze the crust with some melted chocolate.
Why glaze the crust pre-filling? It’s an easy step, and will keep the filling from making that delectably crispy crust soggy. Totally worth the extra couple of minutes. As I mentioned earlier, I did not strain or thin the jam. I just warmed it up until it was thin enough to spread, and avoided any large chunks of fruit when brushing onto the crust.
Why glaze the fruit at the end? Just to give it that nice shiny, finished look. Extra pretty, you may say 🙂 For this glaze, I did thin the jam with some water, as well as warm it, so it would be really easy to brush onto the fruit without applying much pressure. I didn’t want to ruin my perfect placements!
And Voilà! Celebration Fruit Tart is completed!