Our fruit tart is a delicious and colorful Italian dessert with a crunchy pie crust, creamy custard filling, and seasonal fruit topping.
We make this recipe with simple ingredients, without butter, egg yolks, or dairy, making it suitable for most diets and any occasion.
Table of Contents
Fruit tart, also known as “crostata di frutta” in Italy, is a classic Italian dessert made with a base of shortcrust pastry, filled with custard, topped with fresh seasonal fruit, and covered with a thin layer of gelatine.
If you travel to Italy, you’ll find fruit tarts in every pastry shop. They come in different shapes, from tiny ones to big ones. And they are topped with all kinds of fruits.
Here we show you how to make a fruit tart at home, with simple ingredients, in about 1 hour.
You’ll love the crunchy pie crust, topped with creamy custard, and the vibrant sweetness and tanginess of seasonal fresh fruit.
Ingredients & Substitutions
- Flour: you can use all-purpose flour, bread flour, wholewheat flour, or a gluten-free mix.
- Sugar: we use white sugar, but any sugar will work here.
- Salt: just a pinch.
- Oil: you can use any vegetable oil, such as olive oil, avocado oil, canola oil, or sunflower oil.
- Water: to keep the crust light and crunchy. We use cold tap water.
- Baking powder: this will help make the tart lighter and more crumbly.
- Lemon zest: grated, it adds a pleasant refreshing lemon aroma to the crust.
- Milk: we use either soy milk or almond milk. Any other milk works too.
- Sugar: we use white sugar. You can replace it with any other sugar.
- Cornstarch: to thicken the custard instead of eggs. You can replace it with potato starch, but you won’t get the same result.
- Vanilla: either real vanilla, vanilla extract, or vanilla bean paste.
- Turmeric: this is optional, but we recommend adding a pinch to give the custard the typical yellow color. Do not add too much, or you’ll taste it—just the tip of a knife.
- Lemon peel: optional, to infuse the custard with a fragrant lemon aroma.
You can pick any seasonal fruit available where you live, as long as it’s not too watery, or else it will make the fruit tart wet and soggy. We used:
- green kiwi
- blueberries or other fresh berries
As an optional ingredient to protect the fruit from getting brown, we recommend using apricot preserves or jam mixed with water. This will add a protective glaze to the fruit tart.
How to make a fruit tart
Make the pie crust
Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Oil the bottom and the side of your tart pan (best if with removable bottom), then line the bottom with parchment paper.
Add sugar, oil, water, and the grated zest of half a lemon to a bowl. Stir to combine with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon.
Sift in flour, salt, and baking powder and mix with the same spatula until the flour mixture absorbs the liquids.
Compact the dough with your hands and shape it into a ball without kneading it.
Transfer the dough to the tart pan and flatten it with your hands to cover the bottom and sides.
Adjust the dough into the pie dish to fit snuggly, trim excess dough, and make holes in the base with a fork.
Bake the empty tart shell in the oven at 350°F (180°C) for about 18 minutes or until golden brown, then let it cool down completely on a wire rack.
Tip: I never fill the bottom with cooking beans or pie weights, but you can do so if you like.
Make the custard
In a saucepan, off the heat, add all milk, sugar, cornstarch, vanilla, turmeric, and the peel of half a lemon (cut off with a knife, not grated). Whisk well until all lumps are gone.
Stir the liquid on medium heat until it thickens (about 2 minutes).
Take off the heat and let it cool down while stirring. To speed things up, you can fill up your sink with cold water, then put the pot with the custard in it and stir. The custard doesn’t have to be completely cold.
Build the fruit tart
Pour the pastry cream into the crust and spread it with the back of a spoon.
Cut the fruit into slices, then arrange it on the custard making circles with different fruit types.
Brush the top with apricot jam diluted in a dash of water.
Another delicious and easy fruity recipe is our fruit pizza, made with dairy-free cream cheese filling and a topping of fresh fruit.
Check out our fruit pizza recipe.
A flaky sweet crust filled with creamy lime-infused custard and a top layer of sliced green kiwi makes this gorgeous and delicious kiwi tart a dessert champion.
Check out our Kiwi tart recipe.
A fragrant and delicious tart made with a light shortcrust pastry and a juicy blueberry topping.
Check out our blueberry tart recipe.
Thinly sliced apples cooked to perfection as the tart bakes. This one’s a winner for autumn and winter days, to celebrate holidays with family.
Check out our apple tart recipe.
Fresh strawberries, a creamy sweet custard, and a crunchy pie crust make the perfect spring and early summer tart.
Check out our strawberry tart recipe.
- How to cut fruit for a fruit tart?
- Kiwi, banana: peel then cut in discs
- Peach, nectarine, apricot: cut in half, remove stone, then slice in wedges
- Orange, mandarin: peel, then use wedges
- Strawberries, grapes, cherries: cut in half
- Blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, cranberries: keep whole
- Avoid watery fruit. We recommend picking any type of seasonal fruit you have available where you live, except watery fruit like watermelon, melon, etc.
- Do not knead. Compact it with your hands to bring the dough ball together, but don’t knead it.
- Use a layer of apricot jam instead of gelatine. If you want the fruit on the cake to stay fresh for longer without losing its bright colors, you should add a layer of apricot jam melted in a dash of water. It will add a sweet fruit flavor to the tart while preventing the fruit from turning brown.
Our tip is to warm up 3 tablespoons of apricot jam with a spoon or two of water, bring to a boil for a minute till it melts, and then brush over the fruit.
Don’t panic. The dough will be more or less sticky depending on temperature and humidity levels.
To fix it, add a bit more flour into the mix, or if you are already done compacting the dough, sprinkle some extra flour and keep compacting until it doesn’t stick.
Yes, you can use most fruit for this tart. We recommend going with the season. You can even do a themed pie, for instance, a tropical one with mango, pineapple, papaya, dragon fruit, and passion fruit.
Or one with apples, apricots, blueberries, kiwis, figs, oranges, plums, nectarines, peaches, or pecan. We would recommend avoiding watery fruit like melons and watermelons.
For this recipe, I took inspiration from classic Italian cuisine, more precisely from crostata di frutta con crema pasticcera. Similar fruit tarts are also famous in French cuisine.
You can use a pie dish and can either cut the fruit tart into the dish and only take out the slice you serve.
Alternatively, you can cut two long and thick stripes of parchment paper and place them in a cross position into the pie dish under the dough.
When the tart is baked, let it cool completely, and then you can lift it out of the tray by pulling up the parchment paper stripes.
Make ahead: you can make all the tart elements in advance. For instance, you could prepare the pastry in the pie dish and freeze it before cooking.
You can make the custard and store it in the fridge for a couple of days. Then on the day you want to serve the tart, just put it in and add the fruit.
We wouldn’t recommend, however, assembling the tart and freezing it or storing it for more than a day before serving it. It’ll get soggy, and the fruit won’t look as fresh.
Room temperature: store the fruit tart for up to 4 hours on the kitchen counter.
Refrigerator: if you keep it for more than 4 hours, store it in the fridge. You can cover it with plastic wrap. It stays fresh for two days. After that, the tart is still edible, but the crust won’t be as flaky and crisp but a little soggy from the moisture.
Freeze: we don’t recommend freezing this recipe. It would absorb moisture and get soggy. You can, however, prepare the shortcrust pastry base in advance, place it into the pie dish and then freeze it before cooking it.
More easy desserts
More pies and tarts
If you love easy and flaky desserts, get more inspiration from these pie and tart recipes:
For many more easy dessert ideas, check out our desserts category page.
- 1 Tart pan 9 to 10 inches (24 to 26cm) easiest if with removable bottom.
- ⅓ cup sugar
- ¼ cup vegetable oil avocado oil, olive oil, canola oil, etc.
- ¼ cup water cold
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup almond milk or any other milk
- 1 cup coconut milk or more of the other milk
- ½ cup sugar
- ⅓ cup cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ lemon peel cut off with a knife, not grated
- ⅛ teaspoon turmeric for color
- mixed seasonal fruit we used 3 kiwis, 12 strawberries, 24 blueberries, 1 banana, 2 apricots
- 3 tablespoons apricot jam stirred with 3 tablespoons water for the glaze, optional
MAKE THE PIE CRUST
- Preheat the oven to 350°F or 180°C. Line the bottom of your tart pan with parchment paper, and brush the sides with oil.
- To a mixing bowl, add ⅓ cup sugar, ¼ cup vegetable oil, ¼ cup water, and 1 teaspoon lemon zest. Stir well with a spatula.Sift in 1½ cups all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, ¼ teaspoon salt.Combine with the same spatula for a few seconds until you have dough.
- Compact the dough with your hands for a few seconds without kneading it.
- Transfer the dough to the tart pan and flatten it with your hands to cover the bottom and sides.
- Adjust the dough into the tart pan to fit snuggly, trim excess dough, and make holes in the base with a fork.
- Bake the empty tart shell in the oven at 350°F (180°C) for about 18 minutes or until golden brown, then let it cool down completely on a wire rack.
MAKE THE CUSTARD
- To a saucepan off the heat, add 1 cup almond milk, 1 cup coconut milk, ½ cup sugar, ⅓ cup cornstarch, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, ½ lemon peel, and ⅛ teaspoon turmeric.Whisk until lumps are gone, then put on medium heat and whisk until thick (about 2 minutes).Take off the heat and let it cool down while stirring.
BUILD THE FRUIT TART
- Pour the pastry cream into the crust and spread it with the back of a spoon.
- Cut the mixed seasonal fruit into slices, then arrange it on the custard making circles with different fruit types.Brush the top with 3 tablespoons apricot jam diluted in 3 tablespoons of water.