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Easy Free-Form Mixed Berry Tart

Adventurous recipe
Free-Form Mixed Berry Tart on wood cutting board

This is an easy Free-Form Mixed Berry Tart that you will want to make over and over again.

Why is this tart so easy?

  • The crust can be prepared in the morning or even a couple days ahead of time.
  • Rather than using a tart pan, the dough gets rolled out to make a free-form circle without the stress of trying to move it into a tart pan.
  • You can prepare the pastry cream up to a day ahead as well.
  • The berries are perfect as is, just a simple rinse is all they need.

A simple but splendid tart.

As I’ve mentioned, the crust is easy to make but this Berry Tart is also a show-stopper. Because of the light, flaky crust, the thick, sweet and luscious pastry cream and a mound of berries on top, everyone who tastes it will ask for more.

This berry tart would be an excellent finish to a light meal like Roasted Halibut and Vegetables with Mango Salsa,  or would be wonderful served with a cold coffee like the iced Gibraltar shown below.

Recipe adapted from “The Best Recipe” by the editors of Cook’s Illustrated magazine.

Gibralter Espresso Drink

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Free-Form Berry Tart

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  • Author: Lisa @ My Studio Kitchen
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 6 slices 1x


A simple berry tart.



Free-Form Berry Tart

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting dough
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
  • 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 large egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water

Pastry Cream

  1. 3 tablespoons sugar
  2. 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  3. Pinch of salt
  4. 3/4 cup whole milk
  5. 1 large egg
  6. 1 egg yolk
  7. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  8. 1 tablespoon butter
  9. 2 teaspoons orange liqueur or Kirsch (optional)


  1. 4 cups of mixed berries or other fruit


For the crust

  1. Mix flour, sugar, salt and baking powder in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade.
  2. Scatter butter over the dry ingredients then pulse until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal.
  3. Place mixture into a medium bowl, then add egg mixture and fold the eggs in with a rubber spatula until the dough comes together.
  4. You can add up to an additional tablespoon of water if necessary.
  5. Shape the dough into a ball and squeeze it a few times to bring dough together, then form a disc. Dust it with flour then wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for an hour or up to 2 days before rolling.
  6. Remove dough from refrigerator and let stand for 10 minutes to slightly soften (dough should be pliable).
  7. Roll out dough on a floured piece of parchment paper to a 12-1/2-inch disc, approximately 1/8-inch thick.
  8. Slide parchment with dough onto a baking sheet. Use a plate or disc as a template to trim the dough into a 12-inch circle.
  9. Fold the perimeter up about 1/2-inch and flute the edge using your thumb and 2 fingers. Do this about every 1/2-inch around the edge.
  10. With a fork, pierce the dough in 1/2-inch intervals to keep dough from puffing up when baked.
  11. Place in freezer for 20 minutes.
  12. Preheat oven t o 400º.
  13. Place baking sheet with crust into oven and lower the heat to 350º.
  14. Cook until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely.

Pastry Cream

  1. Whisk sugar, flour and salt together in a small saucepan.
  2. Whisk in milk, then egg and yolk.
  3. Heat mixture over low heat, whisking constantly until pastry cream thickens and comes to a boil then continue to whisk constantly for 15 seconds.
  4. Remove from heat and whisk in butter and vanilla.
  5. Scrape pastry cream into a non-reactive bowl (glass or metal), press a piece of plastic wrap onto the surface of the cream so it doesn’t form a skin. Refrigerate at least an hour.
  6. Assembly
  7. Stir the liqueur into the pastry cream then spread evenly over the tart shell.
  8. Place berries or other fruit on top of pastry cream and serve.
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: Dessert

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