How to Make a Rainbow Fruit Tart
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 multiple forces collide, and 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 Milk 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 maybe also the lime curd the night before you are planning to serve the rainbow tart. Then prebake the tart dough the next morning and let it cool.
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 whites – either toss the white or save it for something where the white doesn’t need to be perfectly clean (e.g. 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, if you have one. That way you don’t have to worry constantly about scraping out where the side meets the bottom of the pan.
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 (#1). 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 (#2). You can cover any holes or tears with extra dough. Pre-bake (#3), allow to cool, and then fill with lime curd (#4).
For this design, I found it 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 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.
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.
No. But there is so much variation in how people measure that you are much more likely to get a reliable result if you weigh your ingredients.
Rainbow fruit tart with pecan cookie crust and lime or lemon curd
- Food processor
Pecan cookie tart dough
- ½ cup pecans (or other nuts)
- 3 tbsp confectioner's sugar
- 1 cup (4.4oz/125g) bleached, all-purpose flour
- ⅛ tsp salt
- 8 tbsp (4oz/113g) unsalted butter, cold, cut into 1/2" cubes
- 1 tbsp heavy cream
- 1 egg yolk
Lime or lemon curd
- 4 egg yolks
- ¾ cup (5.3oz/150g) granulated sugar
- zest of one lemon or two limes
- ⅓ cup lemon or lime juice from 1 1/2 lemons or four limes
- 1 pinch salt
- 4 tbsp (2oz/57g) unsalted butter, cut into cubes
- 10-12 strawberries, sliced in half lengthwise
- 3 apricots, pitted, and sliced 1/4" thick
- ½ mango, pitted and sliced 1/4" thick
- 3 kiwi, peeled and sliced 1/4" thick
- ¼ cup blueberries
- ¼ cup blackberries
- 2 tbsp apricot jam
Pecan cookie tart dough
- In a food processor, add the pecans and sugar and process until the nuts are finely chopped.1/2 cup pecans (or other nuts), 3 tbsp confectioner's sugar
- Add the flour and salt and process until mixed.1 cup (4.4oz/125g) bleached, all-purpose flour, 1/8 tsp salt
- Add the butter cubes and pulse 10 times.8 tbsp (4oz/113g) unsalted butter, cold, cut into 1/2" 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 tbsp 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 10-15 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.1/8 tsp salt, 4 egg yolks, 3/4 cup (5.3oz/150g) granulated sugar, zest of one lemon or two limes, 1/3 cup lemon or lime juice, 4 tbsp (2oz/57g) 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.10-12 strawberries, sliced in half lengthwise, 3 apricots, pitted, and sliced 1/4" thick, 1/2 mango, pitted and sliced 1/4" thick, 3 kiwi, peeled and sliced 1/4" thick, 1/4 cup blueberries, 1/4 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 tbsp 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.
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Week 1: New Year new recipe – blueberry galette
Week 2: seasonal – Smitten Kitchen’s grapefruit pound cake
Week 3: Great British Bake Off – Kate’s sticky toffee apple caramel cake
Week 4: Australia – sausage rolls
Week 5: bite sized – cookies
Week 6: Chinese New Year – mushroom bao
Week 7: new tool – baguette baker
Week 8: chocolate – chocolate peanut butter bonbons
Week 9: timed bake – under 1 hour! chocolate chip scones
Week 10: allergy/diet restriction – macarons
Week 11: quick breads – kale and cheese quick bread
Week 12: signature bake – purple cow bread
Week 13: enriched breads (kale and cheese babka fail)
Week 14: childhood favorite –fudgy triple layer chocolate cake with chocolate ganache frosting
Week 15: decorating challenge – purple velvet cake
Week 16: crispy crunchy – bacon cheddar popcorn
Week 17: p52 of your favorite cookbook, or your favorite blog – chocolate peanut butter drip cake
Week 18: pâte à choux – bacon cheese puffs
Week 19: veggies turned sweet – red velvet beet waffles
Week 20: plating – chocolate chip cookie (butter challenge)
Week 21: Birthday Party! – chocolate orange cake
Weed 22: Scandinavian – Swedish apple cake (plus a bonus sourdough discard apple cake)
Week 23: Layers – Pecan apple oat bars (post is pending)
Next week: Bagels and doughnuts