Crostata di Frutta (Italian Fruit Tart Pastry Cream)

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Crostata di Frutta (Italian Fruit Tart Pastry Cream)- the perfect dessert for any occasion! The perfect cookie-like pie shell filled with velvety pastry cream and topped with any seasonal fruit make this an exceptional dessert. This is a reliable recipe you’ll make again and again!

You’ll also love Jam Tart and Torta Della Nonna.

finished crostata di frutta Italian fruit tart on a serving tray ready to serve.
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Best Italian Crostata di Frutta (Fruit Tart)

Growing up in Italy, this classic Italian dessert has been my birthday party treat for as long as I can remember! Let me tell you why this crostata di frutta recipe is fantastic, here’s why you’ll love it:

  • This recipe stays true to Italian tradition, using ingredients and techniques from our beloved pastry shop in Italy.
  • The traditional cookie crust has flour, sugar, butter, lemon zest, and egg. It’s a perfectly tender and buttery sweet shortcrust pastry.
  • The delicious crema pasticcera (pastry cream) is a velvety custard cream with a hint of lemon.
  • You can use all sorts of fresh seasonal fruits like strawberries, blueberries, kiwis, and peaches for the topping! It’s like a burst of sunshine in every bite.
  • The apricot glaze makes this tart shine. It’s like a secret weapon! It adds a glossy finish, enhances the sweetness of the fruit, and makes it look beautiful.

Trust me, this Italian fruit tart will have you saying “bellissimo” after every bite! It’s a taste of Italy right in your own kitchen. You’ve got to try it! You’ll also love this custard tart: Pastry Cream Sbriciolata (Italian Cream Cake).

finished crostata di frutta Italian fruit tart on a serving tray ready to serve. Cutting a slice out of the tart.

Simple Ingredients

ingredients for pasta frolla crust.

Pasta Frolla (Shortcrust Pastry or Pasta Frolla):

  • All-purpose flour: Provides the base for the pastry, giving it structure.
  • Granulated sugar: Adds sweetness to the pastry.
  • Salt: Enhances the flavor and balances the sweetness.
  • Baking Powder: leavening agent
  • Butter: Contributes to the flakiness and richness of the pastry.
  • Egg: Binds the ingredients together and adds moisture.
  • Vanilla extract or Lemon zest (optional): Adds a subtle flavor to the pastry.
  • Cold water: Used as needed to adjust the dough consistency.
ingredients for pastry cream.

Itlaian Pastry Cream (Crema Pasticcera):

  • Egg yolks: Provide richness and help thicken the custard.
  • Granulated sugar: Sweetens the pastry cream.
  • Cornstarch: Acts as a thickening agent for the custard.
  • Whole milk: Forms the base of the custard, making it creamy.
  • Vanilla bean or Vanilla extract: Infuses the custard with a delightful vanilla flavor.
  • Zest of half a lemon: Adds a hint of citrus brightness to the custard.

See the recipe card for quantities.

How to Make Crostata di Frutta Step-by-Step Instructions

Pastry Cream (Crema Pasticera)

How to make Italian pastry cream- add egg yolks and sugar to a bowl.

Mix the egg yolks with the sugar, add the cornstarch, and mix until thick.

How to make pastry cream- adding cornstarch to the egg and sugar mixture.

how to make Italian pastry cream step-by-step photos- heating the milk on the stove.

Heat the milk until warm.

how to make Italian pastry cream step-by-step photos- making the custard on the stove.

Add the egg yolk and cornstarch mixture and thicken with the milk.

Pastry Dough (Pasta Frolla)

How to make pasta frolla step-by-step photos- blending ingredients in the stand mixer.

Make the pasta frolla dough.

How to make pasta frolla step-by-step photos- all ingredients blended.

Mix ingredients until well combined.

How to make pasta frolla step-by-step photos- rolling out the dough and placing it

Roll out the dough and put it into the pie shell.

How to make pasta frolla step-by-step photos- trimming the edges of the dough once in the tart pan.

Place the dough in the pie shell and blind bake.

blind bake the pie crust with baking beads.

Assemble Italian Fruit Tart

pie crust that is blind baked.

Cool the pasta frolla pie shell.

Adding pastry cream to the pie shell.

Add the pastry cream to the pie shell.

decorating the crostata di frutta Italian fruit tart with fruit in a beautiful pattern on top of the pastry cream.

Decorate the top with fruit in a unique pattern of your choice.

decorating the crostata di frutta Italian fruit tart with fruit in a beautiful pattern on top of the pastry cream.

You can vary the fruit with what is in season!

decorating the crostata di frutta Italian fruit tart with fruit in a beautiful pattern on top of the pastry cream. Brush the top with jam mixture.

Enjoy your beautiful fresh fruit tart!

finished crostata di frutta Italian fruit tart on a serving tray ready to serve.

Substitutions

  • Fruit: Feel free to customize the fruit filling based on your preferences and seasonal availability. You can use a variety of fruits such as apples, pears, raspberries, blackberries, or cherries.
  • Apricot Glaze: If you don’t have apricot preserves or jam, you can use other fruit preserves such as peach, raspberry, or strawberry. Alternatively, you can make a simple syrup by boiling equal parts of water and sugar until thickened and use it as a glaze.

Variations

Try these filling variations:

One Slice of Crostata di Frutta (Italian Fruit Tart with Pastry Cream) on a plate with a fork.

Equipment

Storage

To store your Italian Fruit Tart, cover it loosely with plastic wrap or aluminum foil and refrigerate. It can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 days.

Top tips

Here are some top tips to ensure your Italian Fruit Tart turns out perfectly:

  • Chill Your Ingredients: Ensure your butter and egg are cold before incorporating them into the crust dough. This helps maintain the desired texture of the crust.
  • Don’t Overwork the Dough: When mixing the dough for the crust, avoid overworking it. Mix until just combined to prevent toughness in the finished crust.
  • Chill the Dough: After forming the dough into a disk, refrigerate it for at least 30 minutes before rolling it out. This allows the gluten to relax and makes the dough easier to handle.
  • Blind Bake the Crust: Blind baking the crust before adding the fruit filling helps prevent it from becoming soggy. Use pie weights or dried beans to weigh down the parchment paper while baking.
  • Use a Variety of Fruits: Incorporate a diverse selection of fresh fruits for a visually appealing and flavorful tart. Mix colors and textures for the best presentation.
  • Apply the Glaze Gently: When brushing the apricot glaze over the fruit, do so gently to avoid disturbing the arrangement of the fruit slices.
  • Refrigerate Before Serving: After assembling the tart, refrigerate it for about 30 minutes to allow the glaze to set and the flavors to meld together.
  • Serve Chilled or at Room Temperature: Depending on your preference, you can serve the tart chilled straight from the refrigerator for a refreshing treat, or let it come to room temperature for a softer texture and more intense flavors.
One Slice of Crostata di Frutta (Italian Fruit Tart with Pastry Cream) on a plate with a fork. Bite taken out of the slice.

FAQs

What does Crostata mean in English?

“Crostata” translates to “tart” or “pie” in English.

Can I make the tart dough ahead of time?

Yes, you can prepare the tart dough ahead of time and refrigerate it for up to 2 days or freeze it for up to 1 month. Thaw frozen dough in the refrigerator overnight before rolling it out. Continue with recipe for the tart shell.

Can I make the tart ahead of time?

Yes, you can assemble the tart beforehand, but it’s best to add the fruit and glaze shortly before serving to maintain freshness and appearance.

Looking for more Italian recipes? Try these:

What to Serve with Crostata di Frutta

These are my favorite dishes to serve with :

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Crostata di Frutta (Italian Fruit Tart Pastry Cream)

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5 from 2 reviews

Crostata di Frutta (Italian Fruit Tart Pastry Cream)- the perfect dessert for any occasion! The perfect cookie-like pie shell filled with velvety pastry cream and topped with any seasonal fruit make this an exceptional dessert. This is a reliable recipe you’ll make again and again!

  • Total Time: 2 hours
  • Yield: 12 servings 1x

Ingredients

Units Scale

Pastry Cream (crema pasticcera):

  • 4 medium egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup of cornstarch
  • 2 cups of whole milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla bean (scrape the inside of a vanilla bean pod). You can also use 1 tsp of good quality pure vanilla extract (optional substitute: almond extract)
    zest of half lemon

Pasta Frolla (Shortcrust Pastry):

  • 2 cups (250g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 9 tablespoons (~120g) butter, cold and cut into small pieces
  • 1 large egg
  • Zest of half a lemon (optional)

Toppings:

  • Mixed fresh fruit (strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, pineapple, plum, peach, mandarins, grapes, kiwi)
  • 2 tablespoon Apricot jam
  • 1 tablespoon water

Instructions

Pastry Cream

  1. In a bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until pale yellow and creamy; use an electric mixer. Add the cornstarch and mix well.
  2. In a saucepan, heat the milk with vanilla bean (or extract) and lemon zest until it just starts to simmer. Remove from heat.
  3. Slowly pour the hot milk into the egg mixture, whisking constantly to avoid curdling.
  4. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring continuously until the custard thickens. This should take about 5-7 minutes. Once thickened, remove from heat and transfer the pastry cream to a clean bowl. Place plastic wrap directly on top of the cream so skin doesn’t form.
  5. Let the mixture cool then place in the fridge until ready to use.

Pastry Dough

  1. Combine the flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt in a large bowl, whisking to combine. 
  2. Beat the egg in a small bowl with the lemon zest.
  3. Add the egg and butter and cut them into the flour mixture in a food processor or with a fork or pastry cutter until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs.
  4. Mix the ingredients until the dough comes together. If the dough is too dry, add some cold water, one teaspoon at a time, until it forms a cohesive ball.
  5. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead it gently until a smooth dough ball forms. Roll the dough out using a rolling pin until about ¼ inch (½ cm) thick.
  6. Grease an 8-10 inch tart pan with/a removable bottom with butter or cooking spray, lay the pastry over the pan, and tuck the edges until it fits evenly. Roll the rolling pin over the tart pan to discard any excess dough from the edges (you can also trim the edge with a knife). Poke the base with a fork, cover with plastic wrap, and place it back in the fridge for 30 minutes. 
  7. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Fill the tart with baking beads, weigh the pastry down, and bake for 30 minutes until golden brown. Let the pastry case cool completely.

Assemble Fruit Tart

  1. Fill the cooled pastry case with the pastry cream, smooth the top with a spatula, and arrange your fruit of choice all over the top of the tart.
  2. Heat the jam and water in a saucepan until it has melted. Let it cool for a minute, and then brush it over the fruit with a pastry brush. Let cool in the fridge for a few hours. 
  3. Keep the tart in the fridge until ready to serve.

Notes

Chill Your Ingredients: Ensure your butter and egg are cold before incorporating them into the crust dough. This helps maintain the desired texture of the crust.

Don’t Overwork the Dough: When mixing the dough for the crust, avoid overworking it. Mix until just combined to prevent toughness in the finished crust.

Chill the Dough: After forming the dough into a disk, refrigerate it for at least 30 minutes before rolling it out. This allows the gluten to relax and makes the dough easier to handle.

Blind Bake the Crust: Blind baking the crust before adding the fruit filling helps prevent it from becoming soggy. Use pie weights or dried beans to weigh down the parchment paper while baking.

Use a Variety of Fruits: Incorporate a diverse selection of fresh fruits for a visually appealing and flavorful tart. Mix colors and textures for the best presentation.

Apply the Glaze Gently: When brushing the apricot glaze over the fruit, do so gently to avoid disturbing the arrangement of the fruit slices.

Refrigerate Before Serving: After assembling the tart, refrigerate it for about 30 minutes to allow the glaze to set and the flavors to meld together.

Serve Chilled or at Room Temperature: Depending on your preference, you can serve the tart chilled straight from the refrigerator for a refreshing treat, or let it come to room temperature for a softer texture and more intense flavors.

  • Author: Elena
  • Prep Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30-35 minutes
  • Category: Sweet
  • Method: Italian
  • Cuisine: Italian

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About Elena

My dream is to share delicious wholesome recipes that you will share around the table with all your loved ones. The memories surrounded by food are the heart and soul of CucinaByElena.

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3 Comments

  1. This is the perfect dessert-especially in Summer , with many fresh fruits available. It also looks too good to eat!!






  2. I grew up eating this every year for my birthday in Italy. It is bright and beautiful and you can vary the fruit!