French Tart Recipe: Classic Apple or Berry Pastry with Cream

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There’s something about the idea of a classic French tart recipe that sends your taste buds tingling, doesn’t it? The delicious combination of a buttery crust, filled with rich pastry cream, and topped with a rainbow of fresh fruit is a sight to behold and a taste to savor.

Whether it’s a tarte aux pommes with its delicate apple slices arranged in concentric circles, or a classic french fruit tart adorned with fresh berries and juicy fruit slices, the French sure know their way around a tart tin.

french tart with berries

Today, we’re going to dive into the wonderful world of French tarts, particularly the French apple tart, and explore the techniques and tips that can make your tart recipe a success.

Understanding the Basis of French Tart Recipes

At the heart of any good French tart recipe, you’ll find two crucial elements – a tart shell and the filling. The tart shell, often made of pâte sucrée or pâte sablée, is the equivalent of a pie crust.

However, these French versions are sweet shortcrust pastries, more like a cookie than a traditional pie crust. The filling is typically a crème pâtissière, a rich pastry cream that forms the base for the fresh fruit topping.

Creating the Perfect Tart Shell

Creating the perfect tart shell starts with cold butter (or a butter substitute), all-purpose flour, and sometimes, almond flour. The butter should be cut into the flour mixture using a food processor until the mixture resembles the size of peas.

Then, a combination of egg yolks and ice water is added to bring the tart dough together. The dough is then chilled before being rolled out on a lightly floured surface using a rolling pin.

tart ingredients with cut butter in bowl

Blind Baking the Tart Shell

After the tart dough has been rolled out, it’s placed into a tart tin with a removable bottom. Excess dough is trimmed away and the tart shell is then chilled again before being blind baked.

Blind baking, simply put, is pre-baking the tart shell with pie weights or parchment paper filled with beans to prevent it from puffing up. This gives your tart crust a head start and ensures a crisp, golden brown finish.

tart crust in pan

Preparing the Rich Pastry Cream

The crème pâtissière, or rich pastry cream, is typically made by whisking egg yolks and sugar in a large bowl until they turn a pale yellow color. A tablespoon of flour is then added to the egg mixture. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, milk is heated over medium heat. The hot milk is then slowly whisked into the egg mixture. The combined mixture is returned to the saucepan and cooked over low heat until it thickens. Vanilla extract or a vanilla bean can be added for flavor.

pastry cream in a bowl

Assembling the French Tart

With the tart shell baked and the pastry cream prepared, it’s time for the exciting part – assembling your French tart. The cooled pastry cream is spread over the bottom of the tart pan in an even layer using an offset spatula. Then comes the fun part – arranging your fresh fruit. Whether you opt for apple slices, fresh strawberries, or even kiwi slices, ensure they are arranged in a decorative manner.

Finishing Touches to Your French Tart Recipe

The final touch to any classic French tart recipe is a glaze for that glossy finish. An apricot jam or glaze, gently heated to liquefy, is a popular choice. Simply brush this glaze over your arranged fruit using a pastry brush. This not only adds a shiny finish but also helps to preserve the fruit. And voila! Your French tart is ready to impress.

Serving and Storing Your French Tart

Once your tart has completely cooled, carefully remove it from the tart tin and place it on a serving plate. French tarts are best served the day they are made, but they can also be stored in the fridge for 3-4 days. Just remember to bring it back to room temperature before serving to ensure the best flavor and texture.

Love tarts?

Try my adorable Mini Fruit Tart Pies or these beautiful Rainbow Fruit Tartlets.

Rainbow Fruit Tartlets |

Classic French Tart Recipe

Classic French Tart Recipe

Yield: 8 servings
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

This classic French tart is the perfect dessert for any occasion. It's simply divine with its buttery crust, creamy filling, and fresh fruity topping. It's a dessert that's sure to impress!


Tart Dough

  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 9 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 large egg yolk


  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups fresh fruit
  • Powdered sugar, for dusting


  1. Begin by making the tart dough. In a food processor, combine the flour, sugar, and salt. Add the chilled butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the egg yolk and pulse until the dough comes together.
  2. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead it a few times to bring it together. Then, press the dough into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch tart pan. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C). Prick the bottom of the tart shell with a fork, line it with parchment paper, and fill it with pie weights or dried beans. Bake for 20 minutes.
  4. Carefully remove the weights and parchment and bake for another 10 minutes, or until golden. Let the tart shell cool completely.
  5. To make the filling, whisk together the heavy cream, egg, vanilla extract, and sugar in a large bowl. Pour the mixture into the cooled tart shell.
  6. Arrange the fresh fruit on top of the filling.
  7. Bake for about 25-30 minutes, or until the filling is set and the fruit is soft. Allow the tart to cool before dusting with powdered sugar.
  8. Slice and serve at room temperature or chilled. Enjoy this little piece of France in your own home!


Serve this dessert at room temperature or chilled for the best experience.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 400Total Fat: 24gSaturated Fat: 15gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 110mgSodium: 200mgCarbohydrates: 40gNet Carbohydrates: 38gFiber: 2gSugar: 20gSugar Alcohols: 0gProtein: 5g
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