This Strawberry Tart is the perfect way to celebrate those beautiful summer berries! Learn how to make a gorgeous and easy strawberry tart with a buttery crust, a creamy pastry cream filling, and a sweet strawberry topping.
This strawberry tart is so easy to make, with stunning results!
So, it’s already autumn and I’m late to the summer party. But during the last weeks of summer, the most beautiful local strawberries made an appearance at our local grocery store. They were calling out to me, and I just couldn’t ignore. I usually whip up some strawberry shortcake, or make a strawberry galette, or even a strawberry shortcake ice cream if it’s the dog days of summer. But this time, I knew I had to make a fresh fruit tart with the remaining strawberries.
And here’s the result! A buttery, rich, sweet tart crust, filled with a luscious, creamy vanilla pastry cream, and topped with sweet strawberries that are lightly brushed with a little jam (you know, for that extra oomph).
Components of this fresh strawberry tart
- Pâte sucrée – The base is a French sweet pastry dough that’s very easy to make.
- Vanilla pastry cream – The tart shell is filled with an ultra creamy pastry cream.
- Fresh strawberries and jam – The tart is topped with halved fresh strawberries. To give the tart that beautiful sheen, I brushed them with a warm strawberry jam mix.
I use my own classic pate sucree recipe for the base of this tart. It tastes like a sweet cookie, but extra buttery and rich.
Some recipes use cold butter and ice water and a food processor to make this. However, my recipe uses soft butter and no water, and egg yolks to make the tart dough. The result is a delicious tart dough that can be served as a cookie on its own!
My recipe makes enough for two 9 inch tart pans, so you only need one half of the recipe. The other half can be wrapped and kept in the freezer for up to 1 month. Or you can make 2 tarts of course.
Tips for making the pate sucree
- Use a tart pan with a removable bottom, so that the pastry shell is easier to remove once made. You can also use a tart ring instead.
- The pate sucree recipe is made with butter, confectioner’s sugar and salt, and with egg yolks and flour. The egg yolks make the crust richer and also more forgiving.
- Add some lemon zest to the crust to enhance the fruity flavors.
- Do not stretch the dough over the tart pan. This will reduce shrinkage.
- Prick the bottom of the shell before blind baking to ensure that no air bubbles get trapped and distort the tart while baking.
- I also brush the pastry shell with egg wash during the last 5 minutes of baking, so that it forms a coating. This will give a beautiful golden brown color to the crust. This will also help keep the crust crisp for longer, preventing it from getting soggy from the filling.
- If you want to keep the pastry shell crisp for even longer, brush the inside of the shell with melted chocolate. White chocolate is the best choice, so that it doesn’t stand out once the tart is cut into.
- You can also make mini tart shells to make multiple fresh strawberry tarts or fresh fruit tarts.
- Make sure the tart is cool completely before filling it with the cooled pastry cream.
Vanilla pastry cream
This is my favorite filling for a strawberry tart. I love the creaminess of a classic pastry cream that’s flavored with good quality vanilla. This filling is even better because I add whipped butter to the pastry cream to make it buttery as well.
If I’m making this for my family, I usually only thicken the pastry cream with eggs and cornstarch. However, if I’m serving this to guests, I might add a little gelatin to make the pastry cream set better in the tart crust.
I use my own pastry cream recipe, but add a little extra cornstarch and extra butter so that the custard is able to hold up all the strawberries that are placed on top.
You can also do other variations of the pastry cream if you like as well.
- Chocolate pastry cream.
- Whisk in some cream cheese instead of butter at the end.
- Replace some of the milk with sour cream for a tangy vanilla pastry cream.
- Add some lemon zest to give it a lemony flavor.
- Instead of granulated sugar, use brown sugar or honey to add deeper flavor to the pastry cream.
There are other filling options as well, like a sweetened mascarpone filling, or a cheesecake filling made with cream cheese. But a vanilla pastry cream filling is my favorite.
Try to use the best strawberries you can find. Since you’ll be using fresh strawberries, you want to make sure they are sweet.
You can choose the best strawberries by smelling them. The sweetest strawberries have that distinct sweet strawberry smell. They are usually very red inside (and not white).
I was able to get my hands on some fresh and delicious local strawberries last month, and some of them were small and some were bigger. So I tried to use the smaller ones for the center of the strawberry tart, and the larger ones on the outside.
You could also use sliced or whole strawberries instead of halved strawberries.
You can also use a mixture of different fresh fruits. Mango and strawberry are a great combination. You can also use raspberries, kiwi fruit, peaches or even plums. Use whatever fruit(s) you like to customize this fruit tart to your liking!
All that this tart needs for a finishing touch is a dusting of confectioner’s sugar (powdered sugar). OR if you’d like to jazz it up further, you can brush them with a little strawberry jam.
This gives the tart a beautiful sheen and more of a fruit flavor. I also added some chopped pistachios as a garnish, but that is optional.
Make sure the strawberry tart is chilled well before serving it. It will keep in the fridge for up to 24 hours, but can slowly get soggy beyond that (unless you have brushed your tart with melted chocolate as I mentioned before).
How to serve the fresh strawberry tart
Make sure to use a sharp knife to slice the tart. The fewer strawberries on top, the easier it will be to slice.
You can make mini strawberry tarts as well, and serve individual ones per person. The mini versions are just as stunning as the large tart as you can see in these pictures!
These are best served chilled. Serve a slice of strawberry tart as is, or with a dollop of whipped cream, sour cream or yogurt.
Strawberry Tart with Pastry Cream
- 1 crust of pate sucree from this recipe the recipe makes two crusts
- Egg wash or melted white chocolate
Vanilla pastry cream filling
- 5 egg yolks
- 4 tbsp cornstarch
- 2 cups milk
- ⅓ cup granulated white sugar
- ¼ tsp salt
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 1 stick unsalted butter
- 1 lb strawberries, halved
- ⅓ cup warm strawberry jam with no whole fruits you can also use apricot jam or any fruit jam with no seeds
- Chopped pistachios
Pate sucree crust – can be made the day before
- Make one 9 inch tart crust following the recipe here. Please note that the recipe makes two crusts, so keep the extra dough wrapped in the fridge for a different recipe.
- Brush the tart crust with egg wash before the last 5 minutes of bake time. If not, you can also brush the inside of the crust with melted white chocolate when the crust has cooled down. This creates a barrier between the crust and the filling to prevent the crust from getting soggy.
Vanilla pastry cream
- Place the egg yolk and cornstarch in a bowl. Whisk the yolk and cornstarch well until you have a smooth paste. Set aside.
- Place the milk, sugar, salt, and vanilla in a saucepan. Heat over medium heat until the milk is steaming.
- Temper the egg mixture with some of the hot milk while stirring constantly. When the egg mixture is warm, add it back to the warm milk.
- While whisking frequently, warm the custard base until it comes to a boil. Make sure to whisk and scrape the bottom of the saucepan as the custard thickens to prevent the eggs from curdling.
- If needed, remove the pot from the heat to whisk the custard, then return it to the stove to continue cooking.
- The custard will start to release bubbles at the surface when it starts to boil. Remove it from the heat at this point, and whisk to make sure the custard is smooth and thick. When whisked, it should leave behind tracks from the whisk.
- Cover the custard with plastic wrap, making sure the plastic wrap is touching the entire surface of the custard to prevent a skin from forming on top. Let it cool down to room temperature.
- Place the butter in a bowl and whisk the butter until light and fluffy. The butter should be very soft and airy.
- Add the cooled custard (a little at a time) to the butter, and whisk each addition really well, until you have added all of the custard. You should have a smooth and buttery custard mixture.
- Add the cooled butter custard mixture into the pate sucree shell. It's now ready to be topped with strawberries.
- Wash and dry the fresh strawberries. Slice the tops off of the strawberries (optional, since the green parts are edible too), and then halve the strawberries.
- Starting from the center, place the strawberry halves on the pastry cream topping in any pattern you like.
- When the surface of the tart is covered with strawberries, you can brush the top with jam (optional).
- To do this, warm the ⅓ cup of jam until the mixture has a liquid consistency. Using a pastry brush, brush the tops of the strawberries until they are all coated with the jam. Loosely wrap the tart with plastic wrap, and place the tart in the fridge for a few hours to set.
- Before serving, sprinkle chopped pistachios or garnish with mint leaves (optional).
“This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.”