Italian Fruit Tart Recipe

crostata frutta

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

Method

  1. Whisk the eggs with the sugar and salt. Mix in the flour stirring in an upwards direction.
  2. Pour the mixture into the cake tin and bake for 30 minutes in a fan oven at 150°C/300°F.
  3. Remove from the oven and push down the center of the sponge to form a shell. Leave to cool on a worktop.
  4. 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.
  5. Cook on a low heat for around 5 minutes mixing continuously, and then once the cream is ready, leave to cool.
  6. Melt a few teaspoons of jam in cold water and use to brush onto the base.
  7. 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.
  8. Spread with two tablespoons of jam diluted with a little water so the fruit doesn’t go brown.
  9. Chill in the fridge for 1 hour and serve.

Preparation time: 2 hours

(Pic by Giuseppe Milo)