This rainbow fruit tart is made with brightly colored seasonal fruit arranged in a spiral pattern. It’s a showstopper dessert for all of your summer get-togethers.
Some of my recipe posts are things that I have made over and over for decades. Some posts are driven by the SEO overlords. And then there are times when everything comes together perfectly.
This rainbow fruit tart was one of those times.
The first requirement was to satisfy the reddit 52 week baking challenge: week 24 – tarts.
The second force was Pride. I’ve already made Rainbow Bread and a Rainbow Poke Bowl, and I’ve been looking for new ways to cook or bake rainbow-colored things all month. Only, for a round tart, I needed a shape other than a rainbow.
There are examples of rainbow fruit tarts out there that are arranged in concentric circles or as vertical stripes of fruit. But I was really hoping to make something different.
I started looking at spirals. I asked for mathematical formulas for spirals from my Facebook friends who had been math majors. Someone sent me stuff about the golden spiral.
The problem is that my freehand drawing is horrible. And I’m not sure that I could have created a drawing for a spiral tart on my own with the protractor and compass that I’ve had forever.
And then found this coloring page with the perfect six-color spiral. Kismet.
Tips and tricks for this rainbow fruit tart
This recipe is a little tricky with timing because of the time needed to cool the crust and curd and because fresh fruit tarts are best on the day they are constructed. If you can, make the nut dough and lime curd the night before you are planning to serve the tart. Then prebake the tart dough the next morning and let it cool.
Making the fruit curd
If you are not an expert in egg separating, and you are planning to use the egg whites for something like macarons where it is important they are perfectly clean, separate each egg over a small, clean bowl. If you get a clean separation, save that egg white into your egg white container and repeat.
If you don’t, even if there’s just a tiny bit of yolk in your white, either toss the white or save it for something less fussy like granola. Separate the next egg over a new small, clean bowl.
It’s easiest to make curd in a pan with a sloped side like a saucier. That way you don’t have to worry constantly about scraping out where the side meets the bottom of the pan.
Making the pecan crust
I roll out nut crusts between two pieces of wax paper. To transfer the crust to the tart pan, remove the top piece of wax paper and invert the dough onto the pan (Panel #1, below).
Carefully remove the other piece of wax paper and settle the tart crust into the pan, folding over any extra to make an edge of double thickness (Panel #2). You can cover any holes or tears with extra dough.
Pre-bake (Panel #3) and allow it to cool to room temperature. Then fill the shell with the lime curd (Panel #4).
Constructing the tart
For this rainbow spiral design, it’s helpful to stage the fruit before putting it atop the curd in the tart pan. That way it’s easy to make adjustments like slicing the fruit differently or changing its orientation. If you have a glass pie pan, you can see through the pie pan how to pattern the fruit.
FAQs about this rainbow fruit tart recipe
Custard is a generic term for a mixture thickened with eggs. Pastry cream (crème pâtissière in French) is a subset of custard that contains milk or cream and is thickened with a starch (e.g. cornstarch). Fruit curds, like this lime curd or my lemon apple curd, are another custard subset that prominently feature fruit juice or zest. Any thick custard would work well in this tart.
So many options in the summertime! Just go to your store and explore. Make sure to use whatever is most in season, because there’s no hiding unripe fruit in this tart. Here are some other possibilities:
Red: cherries, raspberries
Orange: peaches, orange raspberries, papaya
Yellow: salmonberries or other berries, pineapple
Green: grapes, figs
Blue: so few truly blue foods!
Purple: grapes, plums, figs
It does take time to put together all of the parts and let things cool before you construct the tart. But if you just want to have a beautiful plate of fruit, you could assemble a rainbow fruit platter in a tart or pie pan with some fruit curd or custard on the side.
Yes. Please do this to remove any debris, bugs, or pesticides that may be on your fruit. If a fruit can be peeled (e.g. kiwi, mango), you can skip washing. But you should wash your citrus prior to zesting to remove the wax.
There are several ways to peel a mango, including the way shown in my mango pico de gallo recipe. My favorite way is to slice the mango vertically on either side of the pit. I run the tip of a pairing knife between the flesh and skin of the two halves and then use my fingers to separate the rest of the peel from the fruit. Cut away the peel around the pit and then there’s often some fruit to cut into small chunks. (Or you can chew at it like a caveman. Over the sink, please!)
Nope, the tart pan does not need greasing for this rainbow fruit tart.
Sure, use my mini pie shell recipe and add a little bit of the curd and fruit to each.
Rainbow Fruit Tart
- Food processor
Pecan cookie tart dough
- ½ cup pecans (or other nuts)
- 3 tablespoons confectioner's sugar
- 1 cup (125 grams) bleached, all-purpose flour
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 8 tablespoon (113 grams) unsalted butter, cold, cut into ½ inch cubes
- 1 tablespoon heavy cream
- 1 egg yolk
Lime or lemon curd
- 4 egg yolks
- ¾ cup (150 grams) granulated sugar
- zest of 1 lemon or 2 limes
- ⅓ cup lemon or lime juice from about 1½ lemons or four limes
- 1 pinch salt
- 4 tablespoons (57 grams) unsalted butter, cut into cubes
- 10 to 12 strawberries, sliced in half lengthwise
- 3 apricots, pitted, and sliced ¼ inch thick
- ½ mango, pitted and sliced ¼ inch thick
- 3 kiwi, peeled and sliced ¼ inch thick
- ¼ cup blueberries
- ¼ cup blackberries
- 2 tablespoons apricot jam
Pecan cookie tart dough
- In a food processor, add the pecans and sugar and process until the nuts are finely chopped.½ cup pecans (or other nuts), 3 tablespoons confectioner's sugar
- Add the flour and salt and process until mixed.1 cup (125 grams) bleached, all-purpose flour, ⅛ teaspoon salt
- Add the butter cubes and pulse 10 times.8 tablespoon (113 grams) unsalted butter, cold, cut into ½ inch cubes
- Add the cream and egg yolk and pulse until mixed and the dough comes together when pinched between your fingers (about 10 times). You may need to scrape the processor bowl once or twice.1 tablespoon heavy cream, 1 egg yolk
- Transfer the mixture to a clean, gallon sized plastic bag and knead the mixture gently in the bag until it is no longer crumbly. Flatten into a disk and leave in the refrigerator at least one hour to overnight.
- When you are ready to prebake the tart dough, preheat the oven to 425°F. Roll out the tart dough between two pieces of wax paper and transfer the dough to the tart pan. Put it in the freezer for 15-60 minutes in order to set the dough.
- Line the tart with parchment paper and weigh down the dough with pie weights (I use old dry beans).
- Bake for 15 minutes, then remove the pie weights. Turn the oven down to 350°F, prick the tart bottom in a few places with a fork, and bake until the tart shell has browned, another 10 to 15 minutes (depending on how long it was in the freezer). You may need to prick the tart again once or twice during this time if it starts to puff.
- Let cool in the tart pan.
Lime or lemon curd
- Ready a strainer atop a glass bowl next to the stove top.
- In a small to medium saucepan (see note), add all of the ingredients except for the butter (i.e egg yolks, sugar, zest, juice, and salt) and stir to mix. Add the butter cubes.⅛ teaspoon salt, 4 egg yolks, ¾ cup (150 grams) granulated sugar, zest of 1 lemon or 2 limes, ⅓ cup lemon or lime juice, 4 tablespoons (57 grams) unsalted butter, cut into cubes, 1 pinch salt
- Heat the mixture over medium-low heat, about 8-10 minutes, until the curd has thickened and you can draw a line with your finger on the coating on the back of your spatula/spoon. If the curd starts to steam before it gets to this point, remove the pot from the heat and turn down the heat a little. Do not let the mixture boil or you will have scrambled eggs.
- Pour the curd through the strainer into the glass bowl. You can scrape the bottom of the strainer for curd that has passed through, but don't press the mixture through the strainer.
- Cover the curd with plastic wrap, pressing the plastic wrap down onto the curd so a skin cannot form, and let it cool in the refrigerator.
Construction of the rainbow fruit tart
- With the crust still in the tart pan, add the curd and use a knife or off-set spatula to spread it evenly over the bottom.
- Gingerly arrange the fruit over the curd in a spiral or other pattern.10 to 12 strawberries, sliced in half lengthwise, 3 apricots, pitted, and sliced ¼ inch thick, ½ mango, pitted and sliced ¼ inch thick, 3 kiwi, peeled and sliced ¼ inch thick, ¼ cup blueberries, ¼ cup blackberries
- To make the glaze, heat the apricot jam in a small pot with a splash of water, stirring occasionally, until it has thinned and is uniform.2 tablespoons apricot jam
- Brush the glaze over the fruit and let cool.
- To serve, carefully unmold the tart and cut into slices.
If you make this rainbow fruit tart or have any questions about how to make it, please leave a comment or share a pic with me on Instagram.
Check out the Ugly Duckling Bakery pie and pastry archives, including this blackberry curd tart, apple and strawberry pie, or these puff pastry cinnamon twists. Or make more rainbows with these rainbow sugar cookies or rainbow salad bowl.
Are you an adventurous home cook looking for inspiration in your weeknight meals and weekend baking?