Summer fruit bowl tartlets

Summer fruit bowl tartlets

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(8 ratings)

Prep: 45 mins Cook: 35 mins Plus cooling

Moderately easy

Serves 8
Mary Cadogan shows us how to make a classic French crème pâtissière – the perfect filling for these lovely summer fruit tartlets

Nutrition and extra info

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal281
  • fat15g
  • saturates6g
  • carbs32g
  • sugars14g
  • fibre2g
  • protein5g
  • salt0.46g
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For crÈme pÂtissiÈre

  • 300ml milk



    One of the most widely used ingredients, milk is often referred to as a complete food. While cow…

  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 3 large egg yolk
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 1 rounded tbsp plain flour
  • knob of butter



    Butter is made when lactic-acid producing bacteria are added to cream and churned to make an…

For the tarts

  • 300g shortcrust pastry
  • 400g mixed summer fruit, such as small strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and redcurrants
  • icing sugar, for dusting
  • a few chopped pistachios, if you like


  1. To make the crème pâtissière, pour the milk into a pan. Split vanilla pod down its length using a small sharp knife (do not cut in half completely). Twist tip of the knife inside the pod to open out like a book at one end, then run the knife down its length to scrape out seeds. (See step 1)

  2. Put the seeds and empty pod in a medium-sized pan with the milk and bring slowly to a gentle boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for a couple of mins. (Step 2)

  3. Put egg yolks, sugar and flour into a bowl. Whisk with a hand electric mixer until the mixture becomes pale and fluffy – it should leave a trail that stays on the surface momentarily when the whisk blades are lifted. This whisking will take about 2 mins. (Step 3)

  4. Pour about a third of the hot milk into the bowl, whisking on a slow speed all the time until it has all been mixed in. Now whisk in the remaining milk, removing pod. (Step 4)

  5. Return the mixture to the pan, scraping it out of the bowl using a rubber spatula. Bring slowly to the boil, stirring all the time, until the custard is thickened, smooth and glossy. At first, it will look a bit lumpy, but persevere – keep stirring and it will become smooth. Reduce the heat and simmer for 2 mins, stirring. (Step 5)

  6. Remove the crème pâtissière from the heat. Beat in the butter until it has melted, then scrape into a bowl. Cover the surface of the crème pâtissière directly with cling film (this will stop a skin forming). Leave to cool, then chill in the fridge until needed. (Step 6)

  7. Heat oven to 190C/170C fan/gas 5. Divide the pastry into 8 equal pieces. Roll out each one to line a 7-8cm deep fluted tartlet tin, trim leaving a little pastry sticking up above the tin. Line each one with a paper cake case and add a layer of baking beans. Put on a baking tray and bake for 10 mins, then remove the paper and beans and bake for a further 5 mins until the pastry is crisp and golden.

  8. Trim any pastry edges that need it with a small sharp knife. Remove from the tins and leave to cool on a wire rack.

  9. Halve or quarter any large strawberries and remove the stalks from any redcurrants, then mix the fruits together. Fill the pastry cases with crème pâtissière and pile a generous layer of fruits on top. Dust thickly with icing sugar and scatter over some chopped pistachios, if you like.

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Comments, questions and tips

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Comments (13)

lizleicester's picture

This is a lovely treat. I served mine with compote of redcurrants instead of fresh fruit and they were delicious. I had to make mine dairy free which worked perfectly well with soya milk and soya margerine.

pwootton's picture

I have to say this was delicious but I had forgotten how tricky making creme is. Turned out well but I was short of time and wouldn't do it again unless I had the time assured.

Lblundell's picture

I made bitesized tartlets and I made my own sweet shortcrust pastry for a picnic. Everyone loved them and was asking for the recipe! I will definitely be making these again!

depheaddw's picture

Can I freeze anything at any stage or make ahead-I'm catering for 60 guests but there will be 7 desserts to choose from.

pwootton's picture

I made this as one big tart and it turned out beautifully. The creme was particularly delicious. Husband loved it, think he will demand this often!

loorien's picture

I loved the strong vanilla taste of the cream with the sharpness of the fruit-I used raspberries and blackberries. I will definitely do it again, although it is quite time consuming to get it all done. The result though is very impressive, the little tartlets looked like ready bought sweets from a quality cafe.

tinyex900r's picture

Forgot to leave the rating!

tinyex900r's picture

Took 2 attempts to get the creme right ( Ist one a practise run) as there is no indication of how thick the creme is supposed to be. I think I got it right but it was absolutely delicious anyway.
Looks very impressive assembled and tastes divine. With reference to other comments - there's nothing wrong with shortcuts if pushed for time and the filling works well with ready made brandy snap baskets too - but do try it with pastry cases as the recipe shows if you have the time as it so pretty and delicate.

bikerbell's picture

Made this as one large tart. Worked ok, but not in a rush to do it again.

northof40's picture

Live and let live! All of us need short cuts sometimes! And inspiration!

almira's picture

Half the pleasure of these recipes is in the doing. Why would you

want to produce an assembly recipe?

lylamol1's picture

wots the point of doing that when this is a recipe that ur supposed to be following???

donnabarber's picture

You can make this even easier. Buy ready made sweet pastry cases from Morrisons. Take a tub of mascapone grate half an orange zest into it and add icing sugar to taste. fill pastry case with mix then add berries. Yumm.

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