Small Fruit Tarts Recipe

Is anything more classic than small fruit tarts made with delicious cream and berries? This is a classic French dessert that’s simple but incredibly delicious and beautiful.

Read below for more details on becoming a pro at making this recipe.

small fruit tarts with pastry cream, paste sucree, and raspberries

What Type of Crust Should I Use for Fruit Tartlets?

There are two types of crust that I recommend for tartlets.

When I taught this recipe in my course, The Art of Tarts, bakers learned all about tart crusts and the importance of having a solid foundation before moving onto fillings (because a bad crust still won’t taste good even with a good filling).

You can use either pate sucree (sweet crust) or pate sablee (short crust pastry). Both crusts taste delicious, are slightly sweet, and work well for tarts.

Because of the mixing method we use, pate sucree tends to hold up better to the moisture of pastry cream, so that’s what we’ll be using for these small fruit tarts.

Did you know that how you mix the dough is vital in how the crust turns out? Yep! It makes a difference in the texture and structure of the finished product.

mini fruit tarts with various berries, pastry cream, and pate sucree crust

How do I Prevent My Fruit Tarts from Becoming Soggy?

Ahhh the soggy bottom. The gross, disappointing problem that can ruin all your hard work.

Not to worry. Here are four tips that will help you to avoid soggy bottoms with your small fruit tarts:

1. Fully Bake the Small Tart Crusts

Seems simple, right?

But if the crusts are not fully baked, they are more susceptible to absorbing moisture because they are already soft.

So, bake the tart shells until they are golden brown.

2. Fill the Tart Shells Within a Few Hours

While it’s possible to fill tart shells ahead of time with some fillings, I don’t recommend this with pastry cream and small tart shells.

Fill them within 12 hours of use. That will be a fairly foolproof rule for keeping the crusts nice and crisp.

3. Keep the Fruit off the Crust

Another really important note is to make sure that cut fruit (think strawberry slices, kiwi slices, mango, etc) doesn’t sit on the edge of the tart crust.

If you want to do a design like my strawberry tart above, add the strawberries within a 2-4 hours so the crust doesn’t get soggy. The crust wants to absorb the moisture from the berries, so it’s best to add them at the last minute.

Once the fruit has been added, eat within 2-4 hours so the crust is still crisp.

4. Paint the Small Tart Crusts

Lastly, you can paint the interior of the tartlets with melted chocolate before adding the pastry cream. This method allows you to fill the tarts a day or two ahead without making the crust soggy!

Essentially, the chocolate hardens inside the tart and acts as a barrier from the moisture in the pastry cream.

How do I Glaze a Fruit Tart?

Cut fruit won’t look shiny and beautiful for long because the air tends to dry the fruit out.

I left a tart in the fridge with sliced fruit for two days to see what would happen. The mangoes looked dry and shrunken, and the strawberries were dull and unattractive.

When I went to Le Cordon Bleu, I learned a “secret” pastry chef trick. If you want to add that extra “wow” factor while preserving the fruit, make a fruit glaze.

? To make a fruit glaze, combine apricot preserves and water in a small pot and warm to melt the preserves until thin like a syrup (see recipe below for exact amounts).

? Use a pastry brush, dip it in the warm fruit glaze syrup, and gently brush onto the small fruit tarts (not on the crust, just on top of the fruit).

You can also use the glaze on whole fruits, such as raspberries, strawberries, and blackberries.

Whole, uncut fruits naturally look beautiful and don’t look dull (unlike sliced fruit). So, while adding a glaze on top of whole fruits is unnecessary, the glaze still adds a beautiful touch.

*Note* Apricot is the optimal choice for both its mild flavor and almost clear color once applied to the fruit.

close up of classic fruit tartlet made with pastry cream and raspberries

A Word of Wisdom for Designing Small Fruit Tarts

Do you ever see tarts on Instagram and wonder how you can make yours look that beautiful?

Instagram is not a good representation of reality.

Often, photos have been edited, and all the little flaws go unseen. Or you may be looking at tarts made by professionals. (You know, those bakers who spend 40+ hours a week creating pastries day in and day out to make a living. They should be good at what they do!)

Let me just say that I believe anyone is capable of making beautiful desserts.

BUT it takes time, practice, and the courage to mess up.

So be okay starting where you are at in your journey, and work from there.

When I worked on fruit tartlet designs for my class, I played around with 8 different designs.

Some were beautiful, and some were not.

But that’s how we learn and grow. So, feel free to copy my very simple berry designs here (made with you in mind!), or try something more intricate with thin slices of mango, strawberry, kiwi, etc.

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Small Fruit Tarts Recipe

close up of classic fruit tartlet made with pastry cream and raspberries on a white backdrop

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  • Author: Camille
  • Prep Time: 60 minutes
  • Chill Time: 60 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours 25 minutes
  • Yield: 68 fruit tartlets 1x
  • Category: Tarts

Ingredients

Units Scale

Pate Sucree

  • 113 g unsalted butter, room temperature (63-65 F)

  • 55 g powdered sugar

  • 30 g egg, room temp

  • 1/4 tsp Morton’s kosher salt (coarse)

  • 135 g all-purpose flour

  • 30 g cake flour

  • Pie weights
  • 6 – 4 inch fluted tart pans

Vanilla Pastry Cream

  • 474 ml whole milk (2 c)
  • 100 g granulated sugar
  • 25 g cornstarch
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tsp vanilla or 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 28 g unsalted butter (2 Tbs)
  • 120 ml heavy cream (optional)

Fruit Glaze

  • 75 g apricot preserves/jam
  • 24 Tbs water
  • Fresh fruit for the tarts, whole or sliced
  • Options: Strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, kiwi, mango, blueberries, mandarin oranges

Instructions

To Make Small Tart Shells (Pate Sucree)

  1. Cream the butter and sugar on low in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment for 1-2 minutes until smooth and creamy.
  2. Add the egg and mix until absorbed and creamy (may look slightly curdled here).
  3. Combine the dry ingredients in a small bowl. Add the dry ingredients to the mixer in 2 additions, and mix on medium-low until combined.
  4. Optional step: Remove the dough from the mixer and shape into a flat round disk. Wrap with plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Do this if your dough seems sticky and needs to chill before rolling.**
  5. Lightly flour a pastry mat or work surface, and roll the dough out to 1/8 inch thick with rolling pin guides. Lightly flour the surface of the dough and the rolling pin if needed. Lift and turn the dough 1/4 turn every few rolls so the dough doesn’t stick to the work surface. Add more flour to the mat if needed.
  6. Place six 4-inch fluted tart pans lightly on top of the dough for a size guide, and use a pairing knife to cut all the way around (about 1 inch bigger than the top fluted edge).
  7. Remove tart pans and lift up individual dough pieces from the pastry mat. Press the dough into the small tart pans, and trim the excess dough off the edges with a pairing knife.
  8. Prick the bottom and sides of the dough with a fork about every 1/2 inch.
  9. Place tarts in freezer for 1 hour.
  10. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 C).
  11. Line the tartlets with parchment and add pie weights (or rice) to the top edge of the pans.
  12. Bake for 18-24 minutes, removing the weights and parchment for the last 4-5 minutes. Bake until the edges are golden brown and the inside looks fully cooked.
  13. Allow tartlets to cool completely before filling.

To Make Pastry Cream

  1. See directions here.
  2. If you want a lighter pastry cream, whip the optional heavy cream to stiff peaks, and then fold into the cold pastry cream.

To Assemble the Small Fruit Tarts

  1. Remove tartlets from their pans and set on a serving tray or cooling rack.
  2. Fill a piping bag with pastry cream and fill tart shells 3/4 full and smooth with a small offset spatula. Optionally, use a spoon to add pastry cream to each tart shell and smooth it out.
  3. Chill the pastry cream filled tarts for 30 minutes, and prep fruit in the meantime.
  4. Once the pastry cream is “set” in the shells, top with your favorite fruit. Be careful not to lay fruit on the edges of the crust if you intend to store the tarts for more than a few hours. The tart crusts will absorb the moisture and become soggy.

To Make the Fruit Glaze

  1. Combine the apricot preserves and 2 tbs of water in a small pot. Warm on low and stir until warm and thin. Add more water if the glaze seems thick. It should be similar to honey, but a little thinner.
  2. Use a pastry brush to gently brush the glaze on top of the fruit on the tarts. This adds shine and preserves the fruit.
  3. Eat immediately or store for 1-2 days in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Tarts will naturally soften after 1 day, so they are best filled and eaten within the same day.

Notes

This is a Baker Street Society recipe.

**If the dough chills for more than an hour, let it sit out for 20-30 minutes to make it easier to work with. Can combine leftover scraps to make more small tart shells.

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