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Fresh Fruit Tart with Lemon Mascarpone Cream

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3.67 from 9 votes

This fresh fruit tart is bursting with vibrant, juicy berries, lemon mascarpone cream filling and a sweet buttery crust. A beautiful spring or summer dessert!

Overhead shot of a beautiful colorful fruit tart

Quick personal note

If you’d like to skip this, just scroll down to the next heading for recipe details.

I just want to acknowledge that it feels a bit uncomfortable to be posting new recipes like the world isn’t on fire right now. There is tremendous pain, injustice, and volatility that has shaken much of the world to its core.

I’ve personally and professionally donated funds to healthcare and civil rights groups that I strongly support, will continue to do the work to be an ally to those who need their voices heard, and contribute to causes that I care about. I hope that you’ll be doing the same.

Now, back to the food – specifically this gorgeous, delicious fresh fruit tart.

A colorful fruit tart with a sliced removed on white plates

It’s colorful, it’s light, it has a buttery crust that I could seriously just eat all on its own.

Fruit tarts are great for a summery dessert when cake feels too heavy, but could also be easily turned into a cold weather dessert by using more wintery berries and omitting the lemon in the cream.

Four photos showing the process of making a tart crust in a food processor

Why use 2 eggs yolks instead of 1 whole egg for the crust?

Rather than simply using one whole egg, I ask you to separate the yolks from the whites to only use the yolks for this recipe.

Egg whites are mostly protein and help create structure. Egg yolks are mostly fats, vitamins and minerals (with some protein) that provide moisture.

Golden tart crust being pressed into tart pan

Since we’re not trying to make a fluffy cake (and we’re even taking the step of poking holes in the crust to prevent that sort of thing), we’re going to leave the whites out.

We’re looking for a flaky crust and not a crumbly one, so the moisture that the yolks provide will help hold things together with provide a nice depth of flavor as well.

Tip: Save the whites to make a beautiful pavlova later!

A tart crust with holes poked in the bottom

Why do you poke holes in the crust?

Because it’s fun! Just kidding. Well, not really, because to me it is fun – but that’s not the reason.

The process of poking holes in the crust is called “docking”, and it allows the steam to escape while it bakes.

If you didn’t do it, the steam would cause your crust to have pockets of air and bubbles all over the place. This would result in uneven baking, with some parts of the crust more cooked than others, and an uneven surface for that delicious filling you’re going to add later.

Four photos showing the process of whipping lemon mascarpone cream

Making the lemon mascarpone cream filling

My favorite thing about this filling is that it’s thicker than whipped cream, but it’s not a curd. And also that I’m making it “wrong”… on purpose. [gasp]

Typically when you’re adding citrus to dairy, you want to follow a very precise order of operations to prevent the cream from curdling. But for this, I’m actually forcing it to start to curdle a bit on purpose to get a fluffy, thick texture. Don’t worry, you’re not doing anything to it that’s making it unsafe to eat or anything like that!

Method #1 (my favorite)

  1. We start by beating the heavy cream to stiff peaks, and then set it aside to fold in near the end. Then we beat the mascarpone, adding the powdered sugar and extracts.
  2. Now we add the lemon juice and lemon zest and give it a very quick pulse with the mixer – it will thicken very quickly and you’ll stop mixing as soon as it happens (only a couple seconds).
  3. Then we fold in the whipped heavy cream until just combined, and it’s ready to be spread into your cool crust.
Closeup of a colorful fruit tart with a slice removed

Method #2 (less fluffy, more creamy)

I love making it this way, but if you find the texture not to your liking, you can follow this method instead for a creamier, more whipped cream texture:

  1. In the large bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment or using a hand mixer (aff link), combine mascarpone cheese and powdered sugar on high speed until completely combined.
  2. Add almond extract, vanilla extract and heavy cream and mix on a low setting until mostly combined. Increase speed to high and whip until stiff peaks form.
  3. Fold in lemon juice and lemon zest until combined.
Pitted and sliced cherries on a cutting board

How to pit fresh cherries

Side note: You don’t have to use cherries in this fruit tart recipe – it’s just my personal preference!

If you own a cherry pitter, you’re golden. If not, there are a few ways you can remove the hard pit in the center.

And for the record, no matter what method you use, I recommend doing this over a sink (and wearing an apron) because you could get splattered with cherry juice.

  1. Bottle and chopstick method: Remove the stem and place the cherry centered on top of a bottle (wine or soda) with the top facing up. While holding the cherry in place, place the flat end of a chopstick above the cherry where the stem used to be. Push the chopstick down into the cherry until you can feel the pit and push it through the bottom until the pit drops into the bottle.
  2. Chopstick method. You’d follow the same process as above, just without the bottle! Hold it in your hand so that the bottom center of the cherry is between two fingers, then poke the chopstick down the center and out the bottom.
  3. Knife and spin method. Remove the stem and run a pairing knife around the pit until you’ve sliced it all the way around. Then gently turn each cherry side in opposite directions until they’ve separated, and remove the pit with your fingers.
A colorful fruit tart slice being removed with a pie server

How much fruit should I use?

It depends on the types of fruit you’re using.

If you’re sticking to blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, and/or cherries, 1.5 to 2 pints (or 3-4 dry cups) works best.

If you’re planning to use larger sliced fruits like kiwi, apples, oranges or strawberries, you’ll have to play with the quantities a bit to suit your needs.

I was feeling the dark blues and purples this time around, but a mix of bright colors would be super summery!

A slice of a colorful fruit tart on a white plate

Do I have to add a fruit glaze?

I actually prefer it without! It adds quite a bit of sweetness that I don’t find that I need – but if you enjoy it for that classic glossy appearance you’re used to seeing on fruit tarts, it’s really easy to do.

In a small bowl, whisk to combine 2 Tablespoons fruit preserve of choice with 1 Tablespoon water. Warm in the microwave for about 15 seconds, then give it another whisk to combine. Use a pastry brush to glaze the tops of the fruit and let it set.

That’s it!

A slice of colorful fruit tart with a bite taken out

Behind the scenes

And just in case you ever thought my setup for photos was glamorous, for this recipe I was teetering between the kitchen sink and our Breville because it was the only spot with the right lighting.

Please note the eggs on the drip tray. Classy.

A food processor on a counter with cubed butter and an espresso machine

How to store your fruit tart

Once it’s fully assembled, it’s best served the same day.

But as long as you keep it stored in an airtight container in the fridge, it can last up to 5 days. The crust will get a bit softer as time goes on, but honestly? I think it’s just as delicious on day 5!

A colorful fruit tart with a sliced removed on white plates

After you’ve made this recipe, please consider coming back to share your experience with others by leaving a comment below with a star rating!

Overhead shot of a beautiful colorful fruit tart

Fresh Fruit Tart with Lemon Mascarpone Cream

3.67 from 9 votes
This fresh fruit tart is bursting with vibrant, juicy berries, lemon mascarpone cream filling and a sweet buttery crust. A beautiful spring or summer dessert!
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 8 sliced (9" tart)

Ingredients
  

Crust

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup almond flour, can substitute for another 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, cold and cubed
  • 2 egg yolks, room temperature
  • ½ teaspoon pure almond extract

Cream

  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 8 ounces mascarpone cheese
  • ¼ cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • ½ teaspoon pure almond extract
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest

Fruit and Glaze

  • 1 pint fresh blueberries
  • ½ pint fresh blackberries
  • ½ pint fresh cherries, pitted and sliced in half
  • Fresh mint leaves, optional
  • *Optional: 2 Tablespoons fruit preserves mixed with 1 Tablespoon water

Instructions
 

Crust

  • In a food processor, add all-purpose flour, almond flour, sugar, and salt and pulse a few times to combine.
  • Add cubed butter and pulse until the mixture forms pea-sized crumbs.
  • Add egg and almond extract and pulse to combine until dough comes together and forms a ball.
  • Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and, if needed, knead until dough is well combined and slightly sticky.
  • Press dough into the bottom and up the sides of a 9" tart or springform pan (just make sure it has a removable bottom). Prick the bottom all over with a fork, then freeze until firm (about 30 minutes).
  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake crust until golden brown all over, about 30 minutes. Let cool completely.

Cream*

  • In the large bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment or using a hand mixer, beat heavy cream until stiff peaks form (about 3 minutes). Transfer to separate bowl and set aside.
  • In the same large mixing bowl in which you beat the cream, beat the mascarpone cheese for 1 minute on medium speed.
  • Add powdered sugar, almond extract, and vanilla extract and beat on medium-high speed until combined. Add lemon juice and lemon zest and beat very quickly, only for a second or two, just to combine. Don't freak out when it "curdles" as the mixture thickens quickly - that gives us the texture we want!
  • Gently fold in the whipped heavy cream you set aside earlier until just combined. Spread in an even layer into prepared, cooled crust.
  • Garnish with fresh fruits. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Slice, and enjoy!
  • Optional fruit glaze: If you'd like to glaze the fruit for a glossy finish, whisk to combine 2 Tablespoons fruit preserve with 1 Tablespoon water in a small bowl. Warm in the microwave for about 15 seconds, give it another whisk to combine, then use a pastry brush to glaze the tops of the fruit.

Notes

Choice of fruit: It depends on the types of fruit you're using - but if you're sticking to blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, and/or cherries, 1.5 to 2 pints (or 3-4 dry cups) works best. If you're planning to use larger sliced fruits like kiwi, apples, oranges or strawberries, you'll have to play with the quantities a bit to suit your needs.
*Alternative cream method: If you'd prefer a creamier texture instead of the stiffer texture my recipe above as written provides (I know the "curdling" effect can freak some people out), follow the instructions below:
  1. In the large bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment or using a hand mixer, combine mascarpone cheese and powdered sugar on high speed until completely combined. Add almond extract, vanilla extract and heavy cream and mix on a low setting until mostly combined. Increase speed to high and whip until stiff peaks form.
  2. Fold in lemon juice and lemon zest until combined.
  3. Spread in an even layer into prepared, cooled crust.
  4. Garnish with fresh fruits. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Slice, and enjoy!

Nutrition

Calories: 499kcal | Carbohydrates: 41g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 35g | Saturated Fat: 19g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 128mg | Sodium: 172mg | Potassium: 201mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 22g | Vitamin A: 1150IU | Vitamin C: 16mg | Calcium: 93mg | Iron: 2mg
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
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