This beautiful vegan friendly fruit tart has a tender gluten-free crust and a delicious dairy & refined sugar free vanilla custard filling. It can easily be customized by using your fruit of choice!
Fourth of July is a big deal in the United States. Many people get the day off and just about every city and town has festivities planned to celebrate our nation’s day of Independence. People all over get together with family and friends with lots of food and maybe some games. You can hear fireworks going off day and night for several days before, during, and even after the fourth.
While in North Carolina, we lived in a big military town. Each year, my family and I would pack up coolers of food, lawn chairs, blankets, boxes of sparklers, etc., and head down to the local Army base for the big outdoor event they hosted each year. It was kind of like a mini carnival with rides and food venders.
There would be thousands of people camped out for the day to watch the outdoor concerts, parachuters, and air show, which featured synchronized jets speeding across the sky. At dusk, they would fire the canons, one for each state, and people would cheer and holler as their home state was called, while little kids tucked their heads into their parents’ chest, holding their ears tightly to protect them from the loud, booming sound.
As we waited for the fireworks to begin, my mom would light up our sparklers and we would wave our hands excitedly watching the sparks fly in the darkness. You could hear the buzz of loud chatter and laughter throughout the field as we all waited patiently for the fireworks to begin.
The first thunderous explosion in the sky would startle everyone quiet and then we’d sit back and watch the bright sparkles light up the night sky. It was nothing short of amazing each year! They were kind of like the Disney fireworks, if you’ve ever seen them.
After the big finale, the sky returned to darkness with nothing but thick clouds of smoke to wish us farewell. We packed up our little camp and everyone helped to carry our mostly empty coolers, bags of trash, dirty blankets, and lawn chairs back to the car. Then we’d wait for an hour or so in the traffic jam of cars who all packed into narrow streets like sardines in a can to get home.
Even through the nuisance of waiting in traffic and having to unpack everything when we got home, we were already looking forward to next year’s celebration.
Each year, my mom would make some amazing dessert for the fourth. Like mom, I go all out with desserts. This tart would make a delicious and festive addition any get together or celebration. It can easily be customized to use any fruit you have on hand and can be decorated any way you want.
If you’re making it for another occasion, place the fruit in a circle instead of a star…the possibilities are endless! Best of all, the crust and filling can each be made ahead of time and assembled shortly before serving. Wouldn’t this make a lovely addition to your get together?!
- single pie/tart crust or pâte brisée recipe (gluten-free crust recipe below)
- pastry cream (recipe below)
- mixed fruit of choice (I used strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries)
- 1½ cup gluten-free flour (I use Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour, the blue bag)
- 1 tablespoon coconut sugar (or regular sugar)
- pinch of salt
- ½ cup palm shortening (or cold butter, if not dairy-free)
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice or distilled white vinegar
- 4–6 tablespoons ice cold water, just enough to form a dough
- Blend flour, coconut sugar, and salt together in a large mixing bowl or food processor. Cut in or blend in shortening/butter until mixture is crumbly. Blend in lemon juice/vinegar and water 1 tablespoon at a time, just until dough comes together and is soft, but not sticky. Dough shouldn't be crumbly, if it is add a little more water until it's pliable.
- Roll dough out in between 2 sheets of parchment paper (to prevent sticking) a couple inches larger than your pan (mine is a 10.25-inch tart pan).
- Invert the crust into the tart pan using the parchment paper. Carefully fit the dough into the pan, along the corners and up the edge. Fold in excess dough to reinforce the sides then trim any extra dough. Prick the bottom of the crust and place into the fridge or freezer to chill. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375ºF.
- After the dough has chilled for 15–20 minutes, line the crust with parchment and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Place pan onto a baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes. Remove pie weights and parchment and bake for an additional 10–15 minutes until golden brown. Let cool completely before filling. Crust can be made 1–2 days ahead of time, cooled completely, and loosely wrapped in plastic wrap. Assemble the tart shortly before serving.
- Pour 1½ cups milk into a medium saucepan. In a separate dish, whisk together remaining ½ cup milk and the cornstarch to make a slurry. Stir in sweetener and salt.
- Slowly pour slurry mixture into the pot of milk and whisk until well blended.
- If using a vanilla bean, cut it lengthwise done the center and use the back of your knife to scrape out all of the seeds. Stir the seeds and the vanilla bean pod into the milk mixture.
- Place saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer, whisking often to avoid clumps.
- Custard will thicken as it cooks. Watch it closely and stir often as it can burn easily. Adjust heat as needed.
- After a couple minutes of cooking and stirring, the mixture should begin to thicken, like pudding. It will thicken more as it chills, but when it's ready it should be thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon. If custard gets too thick, just stir in a splash more milk.
- Turn off the heat and stir in vanilla.
- Strain cream, to catch any lumps and vanilla bean, through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl. Place plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the custard to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until fully chilled, several hours or overnight. Can be made 1–2 days in advance and refrigerated until ready to use. Before using, whisk again until smooth.
- Pour chilled custard into the cooled tart shell (remove shell from the pan before filling) and smooth the top with an offset spatula.
- Decorate the top with fresh berries or other fruit of choice. Chill for 30 minutes and serve. Best if eaten within a few hours of assembling. Store leftovers in the refrigerator.
- Inspired by this tart from marthastewart.com