Italian Fruit Tart Recipe
Italian fresh fruit tart is a classic pastry dish and is a really simple and quick recipe that can be personalized according to the season and fruit available.
There are many types of fruit tart: some people prepare it with shortcrust pastry, some with a French pate brisée and others with a sponge. What all these recipes have in common is the cream which is a classic patisserie cream, although you can use any kind of cream as a base for arranging fruit.
In this version, I’m preparing the fresh fruit tart by using a thin sponge base for a softer and lighter flan. Why do we call it Italian? Because in Italy it is not hard to find it in any pastry shop, and very often it’s served as a dessert, in mini portions. Do not confuse it with the Italian crostata, a different one which according to the traditional recipe can only be made with jam.
Before the recipe, here a few advice for you so that your Italian Fruit Tart will be perfect:
- Never use fruit in syrup: even if it can seem like the best way to prepare a quick fruit flan, the final flavor will suffer and the end result will be very different from the original;
- Instead of gelatin, spread jam over the fruit: it’s a much more natural ingredient and most importantly contributes to the general flavor of the flan;
- Instead of jam, you can use a liqueur to soak the base, possibly a lemon flavored one to complement the flavor of the cream.
- You can buy readymade sponge bases at the supermarket. If you use one for your flan make sure you cover it in enough liquid so it isn’t too dry.
- It will keep in the fridge for at least 4 days ensuring that you take it out at least 30 minutes before serving so the fruit isn’t too cold.
Ingredients for a 20cm cake tin
For the base
- 2 medium eggs
- 50g caster sugar
- 50g flour
- Pinch of salt
For the cream
- 2 medium egg yolks
- 20g flour
- 1 tsp potato starch
- 50g sugar
- 200ml milk
- Zest of ½ lemon
Fresh fruit of your choice
Lemon curd/ marmalade/ apricot jam
- Whisk the eggs with the sugar and salt. Mix in the flour stirring in an upwards direction.
- Pour the mixture into the cake tin and bake for 30 minutes in a fan oven at 150°C/300°F.
- Remove from the oven and push down the center of the sponge to form a shell. Leave to cool on a worktop.
- Prepare the cream by beating the eggs and sugar, and then add the flour and potato starch. Continue to mix adding the cold milk and grated lemon zest.
- Cook on a low heat for around 5 minutes mixing continuously, and then once the cream is ready, leave to cool.
- Melt a few teaspoons of jam in cold water and use to brush onto the base.
- Pour the cream onto the sponge being careful not to let it spill over the edges and the hollowed out part, then arrange the sliced fruit on top.
- Spread with two tablespoons of jam diluted with a little water so the fruit doesn’t go brown.
- Chill in the fridge for 1 hour and serve.
Preparation time: 2 hours
(Pic by Giuseppe Milo)