Mid-Summer Fruit Tarts with Cream Cheese
August 18, 2022
I love a personal-sized dessert, especially one that is simple to make, pretty to present, and allows its ingredients to really shine. These mid-summer fruit tarts check all the boxes, with a sweet cream cheese filling and a toppling layer of in-season berries and stone fruits.
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We have been getting the most gorgeous fruit from our local farm stands and farm share this summer, and I just couldn’t bear to bake it up. Luckily, a simple fresh fruit tart has always been one of my favorite ways to enjoy the bounties of this time of year, and highlight their natural goodness.
This recipe keeps it super simple, really putting an emphasis on the berries and stone fruit available in the middle of summer. They are accented only by a sweet-tart cream cheese filling and a very basic pie crust. But this recipe is also super versatile, so feel free to play around with it.
What You Need to Get Started
You can easily find all of the ingredients for these mid-summer fruit tarts at your grocery store:
- Fridge: Pie crust (store bought or homemade), Cream cheese, Heavy cream
- Pantry: Sugar
- Produce: Peach, Apricot, Strawberries, Raspberries, Blueberries
- Equipment: Round or fluted cutter, Mini tart pans, Stand mixer or hand mixer, Piping set (optional)
Let’s Make Mini Tart Shells
This recipe utilizes a premade pie crust, but there are a few options you can use when making it, depending on how in-depth you want to get. I’m not going to go too deep into making the crust itself here, but you can use my super simple pie crust recipe or buy a pre-rolled version from the store.
Another option is to use a graham cracker or other cookie crust. I have a a basic recipe for that as well, and using it can turn this into a completely no-bake dessert – perfect for those hot summer days! If you are doing that, skip the crust shaping and baking steps, and jump right to filling them.
For those of us using a rolled crust, first you should preheat your oven. You’ll need to cut out some smaller circles to make the mini tarts. You could also make this recipe as one large fruit tart, but I really enjoy the personal size of these.
I recommend using a round cutter with either a fluted or smooth edge. It should be slightly larger than the tart pans, allowing for some of the crust to spread up the sides of the pans as well. Press the cutter straight into the dough, just like if you were cutting sugar cookies.
If needed, gather the scraps and reroll the dough. You might find that you can’t get it quite as thin as a store bought crust, but that’s okay. The few tarts with a slightly thicker crust will still taste completely delicious.
Fit the crusts into the tart pans, gently pressing the dough into the ruffled edges and the bottom. You want it to conform to the shape of the pan, but you don’t want to press so hard that you are squishing the dough.
Then, place an empty tart pan on top of the crust, nestled into it. This will help prevent the crusts from puffing up and rising too much. If you’d rather bake all of your tarts at once, without having to double on the tart pans, you can also use pie weights to hold it down.
Bake the crusts for just around ten minutes until they are golden with the edges just starting to brown. If you rerolled and had a couple thicker crusts, they may take a minute or two longer to finish baking.
Set these aside in the molds to cool for at least ten minutes. Then unmold and let them cool completely.
If you’ve never used a tart pan with a removable bottom before, don’t be nervous about unmolding! You just need an item that is smaller than the tart ring, but still large enough to support the base. I used a smaller version of the cutter I had used to make the circles originally.
Place the base on this object, and then gently guide the the ring down so it sits on the table. Then slide the tart shell off the base and onto a cooling rack or plate. Let these cool down completely to room temperature before filling them.
If you are baking in batches (or multiplying this recipe), then continue baking, cooling, and unmolding until all of your tart shells are ready to fill.
And that’s all the baking this recipe requires! The rest is made of all cool ingredients that are not cooked at all. Plus, these are served cold, which makes them great for beating the summer heat.
Let’s get started on the filling by adding cream cheese, sugar, and some heavy cream to your stand mixer bowl, and fit it with the paddle attachment. You can also use a hand mixer here and fit that with the beater attachments.
Mix on a medium-low speed for a couple minutes, allowing the cream cheese to soften. I love the tangy flavor that cream cheese adds here. These fruits are all so sweet, but each has their own tartness as well. Using a sweet-tart cream cheese base helps accentuate that without adding too much of its own flavor.
Once it has softened, add the remaining heavy cream and continue mixing until everything is smooth and combined. The cream here helps soften the texture of the cream cheese, making it feel lighter and fluffier. Plus, it will be easier to pipe or spread. If you’re planning ahead, you can store the cream cheese filling in a sealed container in the fridge for a few days.
Next, transfer the completed cream cheese filling to a piping bag fitted with a tip of your choice. I went with a leaf tip, so I could create some fun ruffles in my tarts. If you prefer, you can skip the piping bag completely, and simply spread the cream cheese into each cooled tart shell.
Now, it’s all about that fruit. I decided to feature some mid-summer produce here, focusing on what is currently in season here in Upstate NY. It’s the beginning of the stone fruit here, which means peaches and apricots have been easy to find and super sweet.
We also are still getting some berries, especially blueberries which are still right at their peak, and raspberries which take a break during the hottest months, but then return towards the middle of August.
We are also getting some strawberries, especially ever-bearing varieties. Our strawberry plants have produced a couple in the past week, which have been delicious! However, the ones I used in these tarts were grown in Canada, which is slightly behind us in the harvest season.
The berries can stay whole, or feel free to halve or quarter any larger raspberries and especially strawberries. However, the stone fruit you will need to cut into slices.
When choosing a peach or apricot for this, you want it to be just ripe: mostly firm with just a slight give when you hold it in the palm of your hand. If it’s too soft, the fruit will be difficult to slice, and may work better in a fruit bake instead.
I don’t bother to peel either my peaches or apricots, which both have a soft skin. A good scrub under some cool running water will help to remove any excess fuzz. And when you are cutting these, be cautious of the pits in the center. Apricots will mostly fall right off theirs, but clingstone variety peaches may require a little more work with a paring knife.
You can arrange the fruit onto your tarts in any way you’d like. I made some with a border of blueberries all the way around, and others with a pile of blueberries in one quadrant, plus everything in between.
Scallop the peach and apricot slices to mimic flower petals or just lay them in a simple pattern. If you have remaining cream cheese (or leave a little bit on purpose), you can add a few finishing touches to the top of each tart as well.
The completed tarts, with the cream cheese filling and fresh fruit, can be stored on a plate or other flat surface in the fridge, covered with plastic wrap. They will stay fresh for a couple days, as long as the fruit itself still looks okay to eat. However, the crusts will be the flakiest the day they are baked.
Celebrate the sweet and juicy fruits of summer with these fun, personal-sized treats! Each mini mid-summer fruit tart is toppling with berries and stone fruit, atop a cream cheese filling.
How to Serve Mid-Summer Fruit Tarts
Any weekend in August or September is a good excuse to serve these adorable treats as part of a fancy, sit-down brunch. They can work well as a starter or dessert to tie the meal together. Feature the fruits in other parts of the meal, like with some blueberry muffin pancakes with streusel or strawberry caprese salad. Or use seasonal veggies instead and serve smoky gouda and cheddar broccoli frittatas.
I could also see these mini tarts as part of a dessert bar or barbecue buffet. Surround them with other fruity treats like blueberry lemon bars, cherry chocolate chip cookies, and plum jam macarons. A round of chocolate old fashioneds will make everything feel more decadent.
Since these are small, they can also make a wonderful sweet hors d’oeuvre. Try serving them alongside apricot ricotta toast and curry deviled eggs. Don’t forget the complementary cocktails, like raspberry margaritas or a zero-proof strawberry julep for the nondrinkers.
Use Up Leftover Ingredients and Equipment
- Make good use of those mini tart pans by making decadent chocolate, balsamic, and strawberry tartlets.
- Extra cream cheese is the perfect excuse for a chocolatey peanut butter cup cheesecake.
- Try using up blueberries in the cool and tangy blueberry goat cheese ice cream.
- Raspberries pair with another summer produce item in cucumber and mascarpone canapes.
- Feature strawberries all season in a variety of fruit bakes, like this creamy strawberry cobbler with shortbread biscuits.
- Pair peaches with another summer fave by baking them into a peach and caramel corn crisp.
Mid-Summer Fruit Tarts with Cream Cheese
- 1 Pie Crust store bought or your favorite recipe; see note for easy options
- 8 oz Cream Cheese
- ⅓ Cup Sugar
- ¼ Cup Heavy Cream
- 1 Peach sliced
- 1 Apricot sliced
- 6-12 Strawberries halved or quartered
- 6-12 Raspberries
- 40-60 Blueberries
- If using a rolled pie crust: Follow the instructions from the box or pie crust recipe to roll it out. Then use a large round cutter to punch out 6 circles, slightly larger than your tart pans. Bake at 400°F for about 10 minutes until golden, using pie weights or a second tart pan on top to prevent the crust from puffing up.If using a cookie/cracker crust: Follow the instructions from the recipe to prepare a graham cracker or other cookie crust, and press into 6 mini tart pans. Freeze according to the instructions, or bake starting at 2 minutes under the recommended time, until golden brown.Allow the tart shells to cool completely and unmold before filling.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the cream cheese, half of the cream, and the sugar. Mix on medium-low speed until the cream cheese has softened slightly. Add the remaining cream, and continue mixing until combined.
- Transfer the cream cheese into a piping bag and fill the cooled tart shells. Alternative spread the cream cheese into each tart shell.
- Arrange the fruit as desired, using a balance of peach and apricot slices, cut strawberries, and whole blueberries and raspberries. Experiment with different arrangements and designs, or set up a buffet bar with each fruit in its own bowl.
- You can use a store bought pie crust (I like Pillsbury), make your own super easy crust, or make a basic graham cracker crust for these tarts. Only a bottom crust is needed, so if you are using a product or recipe with 2 crusts, use the other for a different purpose.
- Make ahead tips
- Refer to the recipe or box for instructions on storing unfilled pie crusts.
- The cream cheese filling can be stored in a sealed container in the fridge for 3-4 days.
- Complete tarts can be stored on a plate in the fridge covered with plastic wrap for 2-3 days, as long as the fruit still looks okay to eat.
- Round or fluted cutter
- Mini tart pans
- Stand mixer or hand mixer
- Piping set (optional)