This stunning fruit custard tart, loaded with fresh berries is somehow light and fresh whilst being completely creamy and indulgent too. Top it with seasonal fruit and you can have this any time of year.

Love a gorgeous fruit tart as much as I do? Try this mango tart or this simple strawberry flan.

A slice of fruit custard tart on a small dessert plate.

Why you’ll love it

This custard tart, based on a classic French fruit tart, is layer after layer of deliciousness and one of my favourites.

  • Crisp buttery tart shell
  • Creamy, vanilla custard filling
  • Your favourite fresh seasonal fruit

While fruit custard tart looks (and is) totally perfect for spring or summer, you can absolutely indulge in winter too – just try topping it with these cinnamon apples.

The just-barely-set filling is smooth, soft and melts on the tongue but it sets enough to cut perfect slices. This filling is essentially a form of crème patissiere (or pastry cream) and it tastes vanilla-y and oh-so-creamy.

Handy tools to have

  • Rolling pin
  • A 9 inch fluted tart tin with removable bottom (this is the base measurement)
  • A heavy-based saucepan
  • Balloon whisk
  • Mixing bowl
  • Offset spatula

Ingredients you’ll need

Who knew something so beautiful could have just 9 ingredients.

Ingredients for fruit custard tart on a marble worktop.

Detailed quantities and instructions in the recipe card below.

  • Flour: Just regular plain flour / all-purpose flour is all you need.
  • Butter: Use unsalted butter so that you can control the amount of salt.
  • Sugars: You’ll need icing sugar (powdered sugar) for the pastry and just regular white sugar for the filling.
  • Egg: Use large eggs, free-range if you can.
  • Milk: Whole milk (full cream milk) is what you need for the custard filling.
  • Cornflour: Cornflour (aka cornstarch) is a fine flour used for thickening.
  • Vanilla: Use a pure vanilla extract as opposed to vanilla essence as it’s a natural flavouring and tastes so much better. If you want to be extra fancy, use vanilla bean paste, or fresh vanilla from the pod so you can see the little specks of vanilla seeds throughout the custard.
  • Berries: While the classic fruit custard tart is topped with loads of fresh berries, just like this one, you can certainly use whatever is in season. Choose your favourite fresh fruit and get creative. I used a combination of blueberries, raspberries, strawberries and blackberries.

How to make custard tart

Ok, so there are 3 layers, and you will need a little time for resting the dough but this couldn’t be simpler to make.

A collage of 6 images showing how to make and prep the tart dough.

Detailed instructions in the recipe card below.

  1. Make the pastry: Place the flour, icing sugar and butter in a food processor and process until it looks a bit like breadcrumbs. Add an egg yolk (photo 1) and process to combine. With the processor running, slowly drizzle in water until it starts to clump (photo 2). Wrap the dough in baking paper (photo 3) or plastic wrap and chill for ½ an hour.
  2. Prepare and bake the tart shell: Roll the dough out between 2 sheets of baking paper (photo 4) to roughly 11 inches / 27.5cm. Peel away the paper and transfer the dough to the tart pan. Press it into the corners and prick all over with a fork (photo 5). Chill in the freezer for another ½ an hour before lining it with baking paper, filling with pie weights or rice (photo 6) and baking. Remove the paper and weights and bake for another 15 minutes until the base is just starting to colour and the edges look pale golden brown.
A collage of 4 images showing how to make the custard tart filling.
  1. Make the custard: In a saucepan, combine milk, butter, sugar and vanilla (photo 7) then heat until fully combined and steaming. Whisk together some eggs and cornflour in a large bowl (photo 8) then slowly add in the milk mixture (photo 9), whisking the whole time so the eggs don’t scramble. Now pour it back into the pan and heat, stirring constantly for another 5-6 minutes or so.
  2. Assemble: Pour the custard into the cooled tart shell (photo 10) and level it out. Let it chill for 2-3 hours before topping and serving.  Whilst optional, you can brush a little warm strawberry or apricot jam mixed with a dash of water, over the fruits to give them a shine.
Top down view of a berry topped custard tart.

Custard tart tips

  • Weigh your ingredients: Just a little too much or too little flour can have a big effect on baking recipes. Make sure to weigh your ingredients for best results.
  • Don’t skip chilling: The pastry dough will keep it’s shape better and be a much crisper result if you make sure to chill the dough where stated. Pastry always works best when kept cool.
  • Trimming the pastry: Trim the excess pastry crust edges away right before the first bake, but after freezing. This will give you a nice square edge.
  • Don’t rush tempering the eggs: When you add a hot liquid to eggs, you need to do it slowly so they don’t scramble. This process is called tempering. Make sure to pour it in gradually, whisking the entire time to keep it smooth.
  • Stir frequently: When you return the custard mixture to the pan, make sure to keep an eye on it and stir frequently, so you don’t get lumps. As soon as you see it begin thickening, don’t stop stirring. If it’s happening too quickly, take it off the heat and whisk vigorously until smooth again.
  • Lumpy custard: If you’re concerned you may have some little lumps in the custard, you can strain it before adding it to the tart shell.

Storage

Store the custard tart in the fridge for 2-3 days. It will keep best without the fruit on top.

To keep the top of the custard from forming a skin cover with an upside-down plate. This will keep the custard from sticking to anything. If it’s going to be in the fridge for more than just overnight, I’d then wrap all of that in plastic wrap to keep any fridge aromas out.

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A slice of tart on a plate with a forkful sitting just to the side.

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A tart filled with custard and topped with fresh berries.

Fruit Custard Tart

5 from 5 votes
This gorgeous fruit custard tart has a crisp and buttery tart shell filled with creamy vanilla custard and topped with a pile of fresh berries. Fresh, creamy, smooth and crunchy all at once, this classic French tart is a feast for your eyes and your taste buds.

Ingredients

FOR THE PASTRY SHELL

  • 195 g plain (all purp) flour
  • 2 ½ tablespoons icing (powdered) sugar (25g / 0.9oz) (notes 1)
  • 113 g unsalted butter, cubed & chilled (¾ stick / 3oz)
  • 1 egg yolk, from a large egg
  • 1 – 2 tablespoons cold / iced water

FOR THE FILLING AND TOPPING

  • 3 ½ cups milk (875ml / 1.8 pints)
  • 57 g butter
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 100 g granulated white sugar (½ cup / 3.5oz)
  • ½ cup cornflour (cornstarch)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 egg yolks, from large eggs
  • 3 cups berries, strawberries sliced

Instructions
 

FOR THE SHORTCRUST PASTRY

  • Line the base of a 9 inch (base size) fluted tart tin with a removable base, with a baking paper circle. Set aside.
  • Place the flour, icing sugar and chilled butter into the bowl of a food processor. Blitz to a crumb-like texture. Pieces of butter should be visible but smaller than a grain of rice.
  • Add the egg yolk and blitz again until we’ll combined.
  • With the processor running, slowly drizzle in the water, just enough until it comes together into a dough.
  • Pull the pastry dough into a smooth ball – don’t knead it too much. Wrap in baking paper and chill for 15 minutes only (don’t skip chilling).
  • Gently and gradually roll the chilled dough out, between two sheets of baking paper, to about 27.5cm (11 inches) in diameter.
  • Flip the whole thing over, using the baking paper and peel back the baking paper then lay it back over the dough. Flip it back and gently peel away the top layer of paper. Sit your rolling pin in the centre and fold the closest half of pastry over the rolling pin. Peel back the paper and lift it. Transfer it to the tart tin and carefully unroll it again.
    (Don’t worry if the pastry breaks or has holes, you can press it together or patch it up as needed).
  • Gently nudge the pastry into all the corners, leaving any overhang at the top edges, then prick the base all over with a fork. Place a tart tray onto a baking tray (this just makes it easier to handle). Chill in the freezer for another half an hour. (Don’t skip chilling)
  • Preheat oven to 180C / 350F / 160C fan forced.
  • Trim the overhang off the pastry with a sharp knife laid flat along the top of the tart tin. Lay a sheet of baking paper into the shell and fill with rice (or pie weights), nudging them into the corners.
  • Transfer to the preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes then remove the baking paper and rice and bake a further 15 minutes. If the edges are browning too much, cover them with foil. It's done when the base is starting to colour and the edges look a pale golden brown.

FOR THE FILLING

  • Pour the milk into a heavy based saucepan, and add the butter, sugar and vanilla, then heat over medium heat until steaming, stirring regularly.
  • While the milk mixture is heating, whisk together the cornflour, egg and egg yolks until combined.
  • Once the milk mixture is steaming, drizzle it slowly into the eggs while whisking constantly. Don’t pour it too quickly or the heat will scramble the eggs.
  • Return the entire mix to the saucepan. Heat over low-medium heat, stirring with a balloon whisk constantly, until it gets very thick. This will happen quite suddenly after about 5 minutes, so it’s important to keep stirring so you don't get lumpy custard.
  • The custard is thick enough, when it doesn’t settle back into itself in the saucepan when you lift the spoon and let it drop off.
  • Remove from the heat and allow to cool for a couple of minutes before pouring into your tart shell. Level out the top with an offset spatula or knife.
  • Place in the fridge and allow it to set for at least 3 hours before topping and serving.

Notes

  1. I use a standard Australian 20ml tablespoon (4 teaspoons worldwide)
  2. For best results you should always weigh ingredients like flour and sugar. Kitchen scales like these are relatively cheap but if you can’t weigh the ingredients, use the spoon and level method (don’t scoop).
  3. If you like, you can add a glaze to make the fruit shiny. Mix a dash of water with a tablespoon of strawberry or apricot jam, then warm it a little in the microwave. Gently brush over the fruit. I rarely do this but sometimes just add little dots of shine here and there.
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