Baker Bettie

Classic Fruit Tart with Custard

This classic fruit tart is made with a buttery shortbread tart shell, a custard filling made with vanilla pastry cream, and topped with fresh fruits and a fruit glaze. This is the kind of tart you would find in a French pastry shop but you can make it right at home! Pin it for Later »

Fruit tart with custard and strawberries, kiwi, blueberries, and peaches

Classic Fruit Tart Overview

A classic fruit tart is made with a shortbread crust (also known as sable breton) and a custard filling that is a traditional vanilla pastry cream. The tart is then topped with fresh fruit and glazed with a simple fruit glaze to create a beautiful shiny finish.

A classic fruit tart is made with a variety of fruits, but can be made with any fruit according to what is in season or your preferences.

Fruit tart with mini fruit tarts made with custard

How to Make a Fruit Tart with Custard

The crust and the filling for this tart can be made  the day before serving and kept separate. On the day of serving, you can assemble the components and top with you fruit. Fruit tarts are best eaten within the first 24 hours as the crust will start to become soggy. (Note: I have kept it in my refrigerator for up to 3 days and it is still pretty delicious! But it starts to lose quality after the first day). 

Make the Pastry Cream Filling

I like to start with the pastry cream so it has time to chill before assembling the tart. If you have never made pastry cream before, it is relatively simple and you can find a full detailed pastry cream tutorial here.

Whisk the egg yolks and sugar until double in size then whisk in the cornstarch.

Heat the milk and vanilla until boiling. Slowly stream some of the hot cream into the egg yolks to temper them (so they don’t scramble). Put all of the mixture back into the pot and cook over medium heat.

Once thickened, strain the pastry cream and mix in the butter. Place a piece of plastic wrap right on top of the cream and cool completely in the refrigerator.

Make the Shortbread Crust

For the crust of the tart we are making a shortbread crust. This is a simple, cookie style, crust that requires very few ingredients.

Butter and sugar are mixed together with salt, vanilla, and flour. Press the crust into your tart pan and then use a fork to dock it all over. This can be made in a 14 x 4.5″ (35.5 x 11.4 cm) rectangular tart pan like the one pictured, or in a 9″ (23 cm) round tart pan. You can also make it as mini tarts using 3- 5″ or 5- 4″ tart pans.

Bake the crust until golden brown and crispy and cool completely before assembling.

Arrange the Fruit & Glaze

No more than 24 hours before serving, assemble the tart. Spread the pastry cream over the crust. Top the tart with sliced fruit and arrange in a pretty pattern. You can use any variety of fruit that is in season and you like.

Prepare the fruit glaze by warming jelly or jam with a bit of water or orange liqueur. Strain the glaze if you used jam so that you have a smooth consistency. Gently brush the glaze over the fruit so that it has a nice shiny finish.

Tips, Tricks, & Techniques

  • The crust and the pastry cream can be prepared the day before assembling. Keep the pastry cream in the refrigerator and the crust at room temperature until it is time to assemble.
  • I would recommend assembling the tart no more than 24 hours before serving. It will keep for up to 3 days in the refrigerator, but after the first 24 hours it begins losing quality.
  • Another delicious variation to a classic fruit tart would be to use lemon curd or strawberry lemon curd as the filling in place of the pastry cream!
Classic Fruit Tart with Custard Filling

Classic Fruit Tart with Custard Filling

Yield: 8 Servings
Prep Time: 2 hours
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Additional Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours 15 minutes

This classic fruit tart is made with a buttery shortbread tart shell, a custard filling made with vanilla pastry cream, and topped with fresh fruits and a fruit glaze. This is the kind of tart you would find in a French pastry shop but you can make it right at home!


For the Custard

  • 1/4 cup (50 gr) granulated sugar
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 2 TBSP (14 gr) cornstarch
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup (237 ml) whole milk
  • 1/3 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla paste
  • 1 TBSP (14 gr) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

For the Shortbread Crust

  • 1/2 cup (112 gr) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup (65 gr) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup + 2 TBSP (134 gr) all-purpose flour

For the Fruit & Glaze

  • 1/2 cup (125 gr) jelly or jam (apricot is traditional but red currant, strawberry, or apple can be used)
  • 1 TBSP (14 ml) water or orange liqueur
  • about 4 cups of fruit (a variety of fruits such as strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, peaches, and kiwi works well)


Make the Custard (can be done up to 24 hrs before assembling)

  1. In a mixing bowl, beat the egg yolks with the sugar either with a whisk or an electric mixer until foamy and about double in size. Whisk the cornstarch and salt into the egg/sugar mixture.
  2. In a saucepan, heat the milk and vanilla until they come to a boil. Slowly pour about half of the milk into the egg/cornstarch mixture while whisking continuously. It can be helpful to nestle the mixing bowl in a damp kitchen towel to stabilize the bowl so you can whisk with one hand.
  3. Pour the milk/egg mixture back into the pot with the remainder of the milk and cook over medium/low heat, whisking continuously, until the mixture thickens and comes to a boil.
  4. Pour the hot custard through a fine mesh sieve. Add the cold butter and whisk in. Place a piece of plastic wrap right on top of the custard and refrigerate until completely chilled before using, about 2 hours.

Make the Shortbread Crust

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F (177 C). Prepare 9" (23 cm) round or an 14 x 4.5" (35.5 x 11.4 cm) rectangular tart pan with non-stick spray.
  2. In the bowl or a stand mixer fit with a paddle attachment, or a large bowl with a hand mixer, mix together all of the ingredients at once. The mixture will be very crumbly. Using damp hands, transfer the dough crumbs into the prepared dish and pat down evenly. Use a fork to dock the dough all over.
  3. Bake on the middle rack at 350 F (177 C) for 30-33 minutes until the crust is completely cooked and let cool completely.

Prepare the Fruit and Fruit Glaze

  1. Wash and slice the fruit you have selected for your tart.
  2. Combine the jelly or jam in a small saucepan with the water or liqueur. Heat over medium heat until the mixture is liquefied. If you used jam, strain the mixture through a fine mesh strainer to remove any lumps or seeds.


  1. No more than 24 hours before serving, assemble the tart. Spread the pastry cream over the tart shell. Arrange the fruit over the top in a pretty pattern. Lightly brush the top of the tart with the fruit glaze. Alternatively, you can toss the fruit in the glaze before arranging it over the tart.
  2. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. For the best quality, eat the tart within 24 hours.


  • This can be made in a 14 x 4.5" (35.5 x 11.4 cm) rectangular tart pan like the one pictured, or in a 9" (23 cm) round tart pan. You can also make it as mini tarts using 3- 5" or 5- 4" tart pans.

Nutrition Information:

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 350

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17 comments on “Classic Fruit Tart with Custard”

  1. I saw a beautiful tart with pears on top. Would you need to cook the pears first or just prepare them like you have in this tart? It had the pears sliced thin and arrange in a round tart pan with the custard as the base over the shell. Just a photo that was so pretty but, didn’t get the recipe. The pears looked like maybe cinnamon or spices were used on them. Hope you can help love pears in season and this one looks beautiful.

  2. Looking so good! I love tarts and this one is so tasty!

  3. Hi Bettie
    I just made the custard and the crust. i may have to redo the crust, (it’s cooling now), Having never used removable  bottom tart pan,I wasn’t sure if I should try to get dough all the way up to top, (I didn’t seem to have sufficient for that). Followed your recipe exactly, and weighed flour. Perhaps others have this question? I used Wilton 9″ tart pan.
    Also , could the bottom of a measuring cup be used to tamp down shortbread ?bottom dislodges easily. 
    A warning to any other tart pan newbies, be careful when you pick it up…
    Would cooking time be different if put on a baking sheet?
    Custard issue was  that either my strainer was too fine, or I possibly went a shade too far in the cooking process, as I couldn’t easily get custard through strainer. It tasted great, though and lumps not a problem. 

    True success so far is that I conquered a silly fear of tempering eggs! It was so easy, and surprising I had never done this before. lol. 

    Hopefully these questions are not too frivolous, and thank you for this lesson on fruit tarts.

    • Hi Carol! I will definitely update the recipe to specify to push the crust up the sides of the pan. And yes, you can definitely use a measuring cup to tamp down the crust. I find that damp fingers work well, but whatever works for you! Cook time on a sheet pan will be about the same as directly in an oven. I will also update the recipe to suggest that you use a whisk or a spoon to sort of force the custard through the strainer. That is what I usually have to do. It is thick but if you use a tool to sort of move it around in the strainer it will go through. Hope this helps and hope you enjoyed the tart!

  4. Fruit Tart Update:
    Although unsure while making this, the final result tasted fantastic.  The flavors were pure and far surpasse the usual store bought fruit tart. 
    Thank you for your tips, and love your site. 
    Really appreciate the food science info.
    Baker Bettie rocks;)

  5. I’m giving an afternoon tea for a new bride and need to get as much as possible done beforehand. Could I freeze crust and if so, before or after baking? If not, any suggestions on delicious crust that can be frozen?

    • Hi Claudia, you can definitely freeze the crust. It would work best to freeze it raw and then bake it when you are closer to time, but you can freeze the already baked crust as well.

  6. Dear Bettie, I just found your site looking for a simple sugar glaze for a fruit topped cheesecake. It’s fantastic! Simple and concise and the “you may also like…”was right in sinc with my line of thought. I will be visiting frequently, than you!

  7. Could i use the baking weights?? The little beads to hold down the crust so it dosent bubble or would using the fork be a better option?

    • Hi Heather, yes you can! Just make sure to use a layer of parchment paper on top of the tart and under the weights. Remove the weights for the last 5-8 minutes of baking so that you get the crust nice and browned.

  8. I made the custard tonight for my talk tomorrow and I feel like I have very little amount of custard. I used exactly the same ingredients what went wrong?

  9. In the past I have brushed the bottom and sides of the baked crust with either white or dark chocolate depending on the fruits used. This does a good job in delaying a soggy bottom as Mary Berry would say. What do you think? It doesn’t seem to change the taste much.

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