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.

Fruit tart with apricot jam

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.

Fruit tart recipe and how to store it

Ingredients & Substitutions

Pie crust

Pie crust ingredients
  • 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.

Custard

custard ingredients
  • 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.

Fruit topping

Fruit tart recipe and brush with apricot jam

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:

  • strawberries
  • green kiwi
  • banana
  • blueberries or other fresh berries
  • apricots

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.

pie dish with baking 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.

pie crust ingredients in a bowl with spatula

Compact the dough with your hands and shape it into a ball without kneading it.

fruit tart pie crust in a glass bowl

Transfer the dough to the tart pan and flatten it with your hands to cover the bottom and sides.

fruit tart pie crust and hands flattening crust

Adjust the dough into the pie dish to fit snuggly, trim excess dough, and make holes in the base with a fork.

fruit tart pie crust before baking

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.

fruit tart pie crust baked and a pan

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.

vegan custard in a pot

Build the fruit tart

Pour the pastry cream into the crust and spread it with the back of a spoon.

fruit tart with custard and hand with 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.

Fruit tart with sliced fresh fruit

Variations

Fruit Pizza

Fruit pizza with cream cheese

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.

Kiwi tart

kiwi lime tart

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.

Blueberry tart

blueberry tart sliced on a plate

A fragrant and delicious tart made with a light shortcrust pastry and a juicy blueberry topping.

Check out our blueberry tart recipe.

Apple tart

Apple tart with cake knife

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.

Strawberry tart

strawberry tart

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.

Tips

  • 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.

Questions

Help! My dough is too sticky. What do I do?

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.

Can I use different fruit?

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.

Where is fruit tart from?

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.

What if I don’t have a tart pan with a removable base?

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.

Storage

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.

Fruit tart with fresh berries and fruit

Fruit Tart

By: Nico Pallotta
4.97 from 29 votes
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.
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 18 minutes
Total Time: 58 minutes
Servings: 10 people
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Italian

Equipment

  • 1 Tart pan 9 to 10 inches (24 to 26cm) easiest if with removable bottom.

Ingredients

CRUST

  • cup sugar
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil avocado oil, olive oil, canola oil, etc.
  • ¼ cup water cold
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

CUSTARD

  • 1 cup almond milk or any other milk
  • 1 cup coconut milk or more of the other milk
  • ½ cup sugar
  • cup cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ lemon peel cut off with a knife, not grated
  • teaspoon turmeric for color

FRUIT TOPPING

  • 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

Instructions 

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.
    cake pan
  • 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.
    pie crust ingredients in a bowl with spatula
  • Compact the dough with your hands for a few seconds without kneading it.
    fruit tart pie crust in a glass bowl
  • Transfer the dough to the tart pan and flatten it with your hands to cover the bottom and sides.
    fruit tart pie crust and hands flattening crust
  • Adjust the dough into the tart pan to fit snuggly, trim excess dough, and make holes in the base with a fork.
    fruit tart pie crust before baking
  • 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.
    fruit tart pie crust baked and a pan

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.
    lemon custard in a saucepan

BUILD THE FRUIT TART

  • Pour the pastry cream into the crust and spread it with the back of a spoon.
    fruit tart with custard and hand with 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.
    Fruit tart recipe and how to store it

Notes

Nutrition information is an estimate for 1 slice of fruit tart out of 10 slices.
STORAGE
Make ahead: You can prepare the pastry in the pie dish and freeze it before cooking. You can make the custard and store it in the fridge for 2 days.
We wouldn’t recommend, however, assembling the tart in advance.
Room temperature: Store the fruit tart for up to 4 hours on the kitchen counter.
Refrigerator: Cover it with plastic wrap or put in cake dome and keep in the fridge for two days. After that, the tart is still edible, but the crust won’t be as flaky and crisp.
Freeze: We don’t recommend freezing this recipe. 
ALSO ON THIS PAGE

Nutrition

Calories: 287kcal, Carbohydrates: 52g, Protein: 3g, Fat: 8g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 4g, Trans Fat: 0g, Cholesterol: 0mg, Potassium: 238mg, Dietary Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 25g, Vitamin A: 183IU, Vitamin B6: 0.1mg, Vitamin C: 35mg, Vitamin E: 1mg, Vitamin K: 12µg, Calcium: 76mg, Folate: 56µg, Iron: 1mg, Manganese: 0.3mg, Magnesium: 16mg, Zinc: 0.3mg
Tried this recipe? Leave a comment below or mention @theplantbasedschool on Instagram. We are also on Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, and TikTok.

Nico and Louise in the kitchen

Hi! We are Nico & Louise

Welcome to The Plant-Based School, a food blog with easy, tasty, and wholesome recipes.

Our aim is to help you and your family eat more veggies through delicious recipes with simple ingredients.

Easy right?

4.97 from 29 votes (23 ratings without comment)

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25 Comments

  1. The custard mixture never thickened. I added a whole cup of cornstarch and the mixture was still the consistency of milk. It never gelled even after removing it from the heat. What did I do wrong?

    1. Hi Glenn,

      Oh no…that’s really strange. I can think of three reasons:

      1. You undercooked it – cornstarch should reach boiling point to activate, then it thickens fast.
      2. You overcooked it – which is unlikely because it would have thickened first, then loosened up.
      3. Is it possible that you are not using cornstarch but something else that’s been mixed up in the pantry?

      I hope this helps. Let me know if you have any other questions or if you figure out the problem.
      All the best,
      Nico

  2. Please clear up what to do with the lemon peel. After I cut it off with the knife do I take it out before placing custard in the tart?

    1. Hi Anna,

      Thank you for your comment!
      During the cooking of the custard, you add a chunk of lemon peel that you remove after the custard is thick and has gained a lemon-y flavor. I hope this helps 🙂

      Happy baking. Kindest,

      Louise

    1. Indeed, we do! We are working on the conversions as we are remaking these older recipes. Thank you for your feedback. Best,
      Louise

    1. Hi Faye,
      Yes, you can definitely use coconut milk for the custard – it is deliciously creamy!
      In terms of the crust, we have never tested with coconut oil, but it should work in a liquid state (as it substitutes the vegetable oil).
      I am very curious to know how you like it, please let us know what you think 🙂
      Happy baking. Kindest,
      Louise

  3. 5 stars
    Great recipe! Would definitely make this again. 🙂 I would not recommend making the custard ahead of time, however; refrigerating it turned it into a jelly-like block, which requires reheating on stovetop and still leaves tiny lumps/beads. It would be less effort to simply start it from scratch the day needed.

    1. Cheers, srna, thanks for your comment! We’re very happy you liked the fruit tart – you are very right about the custard. Have a good one. Best, Nico

  4. 5 stars
    Excited to make this for a friend’s birthday on Saturday. Was wondering if I can bake the custard with the tart or is it not recommended? I just want the custard to be firm enough as I’m just going to decorate the tops with a few berries. Thanks!

    1. Hi Cassandra, yes, you can definitely bake the custard with the tart. This way the custard will be firmer. The only small downside is that the pie crust will be less crunchy this way. But still delicious!

      1. 5 stars
        I love this tart, I made it in many different ways and it’s so delicious! I was wondering, is it possible to do a chocolate base? Should I replace some amount of flour to cacao powder? Thank you!

        1. Hi Nina,

          I am so happy you like this! To make it with cacao powder, I would reduce the flour slightly (about 2 to 3 tablespoons less) and add 1/3 cup cacao powder.
          If the cacao is bitter you might need an extra tablespoon of sugar too 🙂 Hope this helps!

          Nico

  5. 5 stars
    This my 3rd time making this amazing fruit tart this spring/summer.
    I have substituted all plain flour for combination of buckweet & almond for my friend on a glutan free diet. This kind of dough is very hard to transfer into the tin.
    But otherwise, the cake was a big success at two birthday parties and I believe it will a success today at a welcome new baby too 🙂

    1. Hi Miriamita, thank you for your message. We are so happy you like the fruit tart 🙂 It’s also amazing to know that you managed to do it with buckwheat and almond, completely gluten-free! I can’t wait to try that version myself. Ps. Hope the new baby party was a success!

    2. Hi Miriamita – what measurements did you use for the buckwheat and almond flour? I’m also gluten free and would like to try this recipe!

    1. Hi Amy, if you make small tarts the cooking time should be around 20 to 25 minutes. You can also cook the small tarts without the custard filling for about 20 minutes, then when they have cooled down you can add the custard and the fruit on top.