26 In Desserts/ Italian Inspired

Italian Fruit Tart: Crostata di Frutta

Crostata di Frutta

When we were in Tuscany over the Summer I learned how to make the pasta frolla which is a basic Italian pie crust.

You will see many desserts with the name Crostata in Italy. They are filled with jam and layered with fruit and baked all together.

With this pasta frolla dough I was able to make a fruit tart also known as Crostata di Frutta that is baked blind (meaning without a filling) and then filled afterwards with a whipped cream custard also called a crema pasticcera.

tray of tarts

I made this one for my son’s birthday. He doesn’t like cake, icing or anything overly sweet. He would rather have a pie with jam or some sort of baked treat.

For the last couple of birthdays Adrian likes me to make the dessert for him, which is an honor for me! One year it was peanut butter muffins with Nutella icing.

This year the request was for a dessert we had while visiting Italy over the summer. From my conversations with Flavia from Villia Baggine I was able to pull it together for his 10th birthday.

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For me the challenging part is the dough, but if you follow this recipe you will be fine.

You will need to bake the crust first. After you mold it to your pan take a fork and pork holes along the bottom so it doesn’t puff up.

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I also like to put parchment paper on top of the crust and use beans to hold it place. This helps to insure that your pie crust doesn’t try to rise in the middle where your filling is going.

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For the filling I made a vanilla custard with a fresh whipped cream to lighten it up. You fold the whipped cream into the custard and this becomes the mixture that you use to fill the pie crust.

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At this point you can decorate it with what sounds good to you. I used raspberries and blueberries and for garnish I sprinkled over the top edible flowers. It was really a sight to see!

Crostata with Fresh Cream and Custard

For the Itailan Pie Crust: Pasta Frolla

2 Cups (500 grams) of white flour
1 Cup (250 grams) of unsalted butter cubed at room temperature
1/3 cup (80 grams) of sugar
4 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon of lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon of salt

1. In a large bowl cream together the sugar with the egg yolks, next add unsalted butter (cubed at room temperature). 
Note: It will become a yellow gooey mixture

2.  Add lemon zest, vanilla extract, and salt. 

3. Using a fork start to fold in the flour at a certain point you can use your hands and form a round ball. 

4. Using your hands knead the dough gently with your fingertips. 

5.  Wrap the ball of dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, otherwise you can use it the next day. 

6. Roll the pastry on a lightly floured counter into a circle, take the pastry and lay it inside a 9″ tart pan. 

7.  Next take the excess of the pastry  and roll into a rope. Place it around the edges of the tart pan pressing down to make an edge. 

8.  With a fork poke holes at the bottom of the pan, and place parchment with some beans or pie weights on top. 

9. Bake at 375 Degrees for about 10 to 15 minutes Note: If you need more time keep an eye on it in increments of 3 minutes until the dough is baked. 

What you will need for the Custard

1 cup plus 2 tbsp of Milk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3 Egg Yolks, slightly beaten
1/2 cup of sugar
1 1/2 tbsp of flour

1. In a bowl mix sugar, flour and the egg yolks until smooth.

2. In a sauce pan bring the milk to a boil.

3.  Whisk in the egg yolk mixture into the sauce pan.

4.  Continue to whisk while bringing it to a boil.

5.  Simmer for 2 minutes stirring until it becomes smooth and thick.

6.  Stir in the vanilla extract.

7.  Pour into a bowl and press plastic or wax paper to the surface. Let it cool before you fold in the whipped cream.

For the Fresh Whipped Cream

3 cups of heavy whipping cream
3/4 cup of powdered sugar
3 tsp of vanilla

1. Add heavy whipping cream into a bowl of a stand mixer or use a hand mixer

2.  Begin to whip the cream on high until peaks begin to form

3. If you are using a hand mixer, rotate the mixer around the bowl

4.  Add 3 tsp of vanilla

5.  Add 3/4 cup of powdered sugar

6. Continue whipping until cream near firm

For the Filling: Combine the Custard with Whipped Cream

Once your custard is cooled off in the refrigerator you can take the whipped cream and slowly add it to the custard. Put back in the fridge until your pie crust is cooled down from baking and ready to be filled.

Assemble the Crostata di Frutta!

1. Let your pie crust cool down before you add the filling. 
2. Once it is cool spoon in the filling and smooth right below the top of the crust. 
3. Next you can top with fruit like berries and create a design. 
4. I like garnished mine with edible flowers. 

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26 Comments

  • Reply
    Simply Tia
    January 4, 2012 at 5:18 am

    I am so saving this to try. It looks so elegant, rich and delicious all at once!!

  • Reply
    maureenfox
    April 5, 2015 at 11:04 am

    this is so elegant and so delicious my grandaughter gracie is making this dessert for Easter dinner today and will decorate she is 13 years old and so creative and artistic.

    Thankyou so much for this recipe

    • Reply
      Carrie Pacini
      April 9, 2015 at 2:12 pm

      Thank you!

  • Reply
    maureenfox
    April 5, 2015 at 11:06 am

    Thankyou so much for this elegant recipe we cant wait to celebrate our
    Easter dessert

    • Reply
      Carrie Pacini
      April 9, 2015 at 2:12 pm

      You are welcome!

  • Reply
    cindy
    April 29, 2015 at 12:04 am

    How do u convert the pounds and ounces to cups?

    • Reply
      Carrie Pacini
      May 6, 2015 at 2:23 pm

      Hi Cindy, I just updated the measurements so it’s easier to follow.

  • Reply
    Leah
    April 29, 2015 at 2:50 pm

    does this make one or two tarts?

    • Reply
      Carrie Pacini
      May 6, 2015 at 2:22 pm

      It makes 1 tart and I just updated the recipe with cups and grams to make it easier.

  • Reply
    Dani
    June 5, 2015 at 3:59 pm

    Hi Carrie, I made this last night the flavours are divine. Just a couple of questions, do I need to use unsalted butter? Also there is a lot of dough and the base is quite thick, should I use half the dough in the pie tray? Withe the custard the ingredients states to use both flour and corn flour but the method does not state to add the flour I used both and my custard turned out very thick. One last question, once the custard is in the base and ready should it go back in the fridge until ready to serve? Thank you very much.

    • Reply
      Carrie Pacini
      June 6, 2015 at 8:20 am

      Hi Dani, Yes use unsalted butter (updated this in the recipe). The crust is thick – I like a thick crust especially when I am using this recipe for a Jam Tart. You could divide the dough and make it into two if needed and you wanted to thin it out. Use flour I’ve updated the directions with that. Once you have the custard in the base put it back in the fridge until you are ready to serve it. So glad you liked the flavor of it. It’s such a great dessert for the Summer.

  • Reply
    Kristine
    June 25, 2015 at 6:18 pm

    Hi Carrie, I had a few questions about the custard. With the egg yoke mixture, is it best to mix that in an electric mixer or by hand? Should it be mixed until fluffy or just well combined? And how long can you let the custard sit in the refrigerator before you mix it with the whipped cream? Thank you!

    • Reply
      Carrie Pacini
      July 13, 2015 at 7:27 am

      Hi Kristine, I usually mix it with a hand mixer and mixed until well combined. I let it sit for about 45 min until it is cool.

  • Reply
    Alina
    March 25, 2016 at 6:03 pm

    Can you please clarify step 7 in the custard making process. Also can you make the custard and whipping cream over night?

    • Reply
      Carrie Pacini
      March 25, 2016 at 6:17 pm

      Hi Alina, Once the custard is made pour it into a bowl and cover it with plastic wrap (making sure that it touches the custard) and place it in the fridge to cool. The reason why you place the plastic on top of the custard is so it doesn’t form a skin. You can leave the custard overnight and make your whipped cream the next day to add to the custard. Let me know if this helps!

      • Reply
        Alina
        March 25, 2016 at 6:35 pm

        Awesome thank you so much. It does.

  • Reply
    Tammy Evans
    May 13, 2016 at 12:09 pm

    I am confused by the cup to grams conversion in your recipe. For instance, the sugar listed in the crust states 3/4 cup (80 grams), there is quite a difference between the measurements. 3/4 cup granulated sugar = 150 grams. The recipe sounds amazing and am anxious to make it, but don’t want to add incorrect amounts. Please help.

    • Reply
      Carrie Pacini
      May 14, 2016 at 2:03 pm

      Hi Tammy, This has beed edited it is 1/3 cup of sugar ~80g of sugar. Thanks, Clp

      • Reply
        Tammy Evans
        May 15, 2016 at 2:53 pm

        Carrie, thank you for your reply. I made this according to the recipe, although I made the crust with 3/4 cup of sugar, it turned out OK. The custard I made the same day and left it in the fridge covered in plastic over night. It came out nice and thick according to plan. ? I whipped up the 3 cups of heavy whipping cream to stiff peaks, completely mixed in the custard and thought it looked too soft and more like a whipped topping. I had hoped it would firm up after being refrigerated overnight, it didn’t. ? I’m certain that I followed the recipe exactly and am wondering if the recipe should read 3 cups of “prepared” whipped cream?

        • Reply
          Carrie Pacini
          May 24, 2016 at 12:26 pm

          Hi Tammy, It’s 3 cups of whipping cream that you whip up to fold into the custard. Was the custard cold when you added the whipped cream? If you needed this the next day the process is to make the custard and leave it in the fridge overnight then the next day whip the cream and add it to the custard. Once you add the cream to the custard you will need to use it as it would get flat overnight.

  • Reply
    MEGAN FROST
    May 24, 2016 at 3:16 pm

    HI CARRIE

    IS YOUR DEGREES IN FAHRENHEIT OR CELSIUS

    THANKS

    • Reply
      Carrie Pacini
      May 24, 2016 at 5:16 pm

      Hi Megan, It’s Fahrenheit!

  • Reply
    Jessica
    May 29, 2016 at 3:31 am

    Hi my father in_ law is from italy and his favorite cake is fruit flan and its his 70th birthday is this the right one

    • Reply
      Carrie Pacini
      June 1, 2016 at 3:55 pm

      Hi Jessica, I’ve never called this a flan…so I am not sure. Can you ask him a few questions and let me know so we can figure out if this is the right recipe.
      Find out if it had a crust and ask him if it was filled with a fresh custard and topped with fruit.

  • Reply
    Megan Frost
    May 29, 2016 at 8:36 am

    Hi Carrie

    Sorry to disturb you once again.

    So i tried it today as i am practicing it for my final cooking exam.

    I struggled to get the egg yolk, flour and sugar to be smooth. Is it castor sugar or normal sugar… i tried both and both didn’t work. I gave up trying to get it to be smooth. I boiled the milk like it says and the placed the yolk mixture into it and whisked while still on the heat. It seems like my egg split. and didn’t thicken up like i am used to. What do you suggest i do.

    • Reply
      Carrie Pacini
      June 1, 2016 at 4:10 pm

      Hi Megan, I use regular sugar but have also used a finer (caster) sugar as well and they both work for me. My steps are to bring the milk to a boil, then add the egg mixture (yolks + sugar + flour) to the milk. I whisk as I pour the mixture into the milk. At this point it starts to thicken up as a custard. I would try it again BUT make sure the eggs are at room temperature and that the milk is not overly boiling. Once the milk starts to heat up then set it to low heat and add the egg mixture with the eggs at room temperature.

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