Crostata di frutta moderna (Modern Fruit Tart)

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“Modern cakes” (torte moderne in Italian) have become very popular lately, also thanks to some of the most popular TV shows. My impression is that you need to have a lot of tools (which I do not have – yet! 🙂 ) but I have tried a couple of recipes, with some improvisation. The final result was not as pretty and perfect like the professional ones, but the wow effect was somehow there.

A few weeks ago it was my husband’s birthday. Like me, he loves fruit tarts and I always bake one for him on his birthday. This year, though, I wanted to surprise him and challenge myself with a more modern version of the traditional fruit tart. So I called my sister, who does not bake, but recently bought a cookbook by a popular chef who is very well known for his modern patisserie. We found a recipe for an apple tart, so I’ve revisited and transformed it into a fruit tart and also simplified the decoration…

Therefore, for this recipe you do not need any specific tool, just a regular tart tin, an electric whisk, and some time to prepare the different layers (oh yes, it has layers!). For this cake, you can use a tart tin of 18cm or 20cm in diameter.

Crostata di frutta moderna (Modern Fruit Tart)

Prep Time 30 mins Cook Time 35 mins Rest Time 60 mins Total Time 2 hrs 5 mins
Servings: 8
Best Season: Spring


For the shortcrust base

For the apple cake

For the cream

Additional Ingredients


Prepare the base

  1. Take a large bowl and add the sugar, salt and butter. "Crumble" the butter using your fingerprints. Add the egg, grated lemon zest and work them using a pastry blender or fork until well combined. Add the flours and continue with a blender until you get a dough. Transfer it onto a working surface, lightly dusted with flour, and knead with your hands until the dough does not stick on your hands. Wrap the dough with cling film and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

  2. After 30 minutes, remove the dough from the fridge and roll the dough into a circle (3-4mm high), wide enough to cover the cake pan. Transfer it into the tart tin and use your fingerprints to seal the dough on the sides and cut out any excess dough. Prick the bottom with a fork. Place it in the freezer for 15 minutes (in the meantime start pre-heating the oven (fan) at 180C.

Prepare the apple cake

  1. In a bowl, mix with an electric whisk the softened butter with sugar, vanilla, and grated lemon zest. Add the egg and continue whisking. Finally, add the flour and baking powder and whisk until you obtain a smooth batter. Combine the apple dices with a spatula.

Assemble the tart

  1. Remove the tart base from the freezer. Add 2 or 3 tbsp of apricot jam on the bottom and spread evenly. Pour over the jam the apple cake batter and create an even layer. Place the tart in the preheated oven and bake at 180C (fan) for 30-35, or until thoroughly cooked. In the meantime, prepare the cream.

Prepare the cream

  1. While the tart is baking in the oven, prepare the custard cream. Pour the milk in a saucepan. Add the vanilla bean paste and, if you wish, the peel of half lemon. Place it on the hob and heat it (do not boil). In the meantime, mix the egg yolks, cornflour, and sugar in a bowl, using a whisk. When the milk is hot, remove the saucepan from the hob, remove the lemon peel, and slowly add the egg mixture. Combine well with a whisk. Place the saucepan back on the hob and bring it to the boil. Whisk continuously until the sauce starts thickening. Cover the saucepan with cling film (even if it is still hot) and set it aside.

Decorate the cake

  1. Once the tart is cooked, remove it from the oven and set it aside to cool down completely. Remove it from the tin and place it on a serving dish or cake stand. Pour the cream, once cold, and spread evenly. Slice your favourite fruit and top the cake with it. Mix a teaspoon of apricot jam with a tablespoon of water, and brush the fruit with it so it remains shiny and preserves better. Enjoy!

Keywords: fruit tart, modern, cake, apple, almond, short crust
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