Mango Tart with Vanilla Bean Pastry Cream

from 23 votes

Add a fruit-filled dessert to your recipe lineup with a show-stopping Mango Tart with Vanilla Bean Pastry Cream. It stars a buttery, flaky crust, silky-smooth pastry cream and row after row of fresh mango. It’s juicy, fresh and easy to make ahead of time!

Easy mango tart with vanilla bean pastry cream on a white pie plate.

This recipe was inspired by a restaurant in Del Mar, CA, which used to serve the most epic tarts. This homemade version is one of my favorite easy but impressive desserts that looks just as great as it tastes!

I had my first slice of this legendary dessert way back in high school, and it’s only taken me two decades to muster up the culinary courage to tackle a DIY version at home. So here we have it, the one and only recipe for the ultimate Mango Tart with Vanilla Bean Pastry Cream!

Buttery shortbread crust, classic vanilla bean pastry cream, and row after row of perfectly ripe, thinly sliced mango (a.k.a. the best fruit ever!).

Ingredients You’ll Need

Let’s dive into the ingredients you’ll need to make this show-stopping fruit tart and why each is important.

Three ripe mangoes next to a liquid measuring cup filled with whole milk and various sizes of glass bowls containing powdered sugar, eggs, a stick of unsalted butter, salt, a vanilla bean, flour and cornstarch.

For the shortbread crust you’ll need:

  • All-purpose flour: To prevent your crust from becoming dense, accurately measure your flour by gently spooning it into the measuring cup and leveling it off with a straight edge.
  • Powdered sugar: Adds a touch of sweetness and a tender texture to the shortbread. Sift it before mixing to avoid lumps in the dough.
  • Butter: Ensure the butter is cold and cubed before incorporating it into the dough for a perfectly flaky crust.

For the filling you’ll need:

  • Egg yolks: Provide flavor and structure to our pastry cream. Their higher fat content results in a fuller flavor, richer color, and creamier texture compared to whole eggs or whites. Use fresh egg yolks at room temperature for the best results.
  • Sugar: Besides adding sweetness, sugar also helps prevent eggs from coagulating too quickly during cooking, reducing the risk of scrambled yolks.
  • Cornstarch and flour: These help create a rich and thick custard. Make sure to sift them for a smooth and velvety texture.
  • Whole milk: It delivers a full body, rich flavor, and an unrivaled smooth and creamy texture. I recommend sticking with whole milk for the best results.
  • Vanilla bean: This homemade pastry cream stars the seeds from an entire vanilla bean, but if you aren’t ready to splurge on the pricey pods, feel free to substitute in 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract. You can find vanilla beans in the spice aisle of most major grocery stores. Tip: If you have leftover vanilla beans, make homemade vanilla extract!
  • Mangos: The key here is to use mangos that are ripe (so that they have a sweet flavor) but also still firm enough that you can easily cut them into thin slices.

See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.

A mango tart with vanilla pastry cream.

How to Make This Mango Tart with Vanilla Bean Pastry Cream

It all starts with a buttery shortbread crust that comes together in minutes with the help of a food processor, but your hands will also do the trick.

A hand holds shortbread dough above a food processor.

The dough is pressed into a tart pan and then pricked all over with a fork to allow steam to escape and prevent bubbles from forming underneath the crust.

Dough pressed into a tart pan and that's been pricked all over with a fork.

Once your tart hits the oven, it’s time to get started on your silky-smooth vanilla bean pastry cream.

We’re two-thirds of the way there! Cooled tart crust, meet pastry cream. Pastry cream, meet cooled tart crust. Doesn’t that look like a heavenly marriage of textures and flavors?

Vanilla pastry cream being spread atop a shortbread crust with an offset spatula.

Next up is slice after slice of perfectly ripe mango, which makes this tart as attractive to the eye as it is pleasing to the palate.

The slices should be thin enough so that they can bend slightly to form the petals of this gigantic mango flower.

Thin slices of mango on a cutting board next to a sharp knife.

Now all that’s left to do is decide for yourself, “Is this too pretty to eat?” No way! Grab your knife and cut yourself a big wedge of mango tart perfection!

Pro Tips

  • Be sure not to overwork the dough as doing so causes tough, shrinking pastry. Stop pulsing when the mixture resembles coarse crumbs with some larger clumps. 
  • Use the bottom of a measuring cup or the flat base of a glass to press the dough evenly into the tart pan. 
  • Don’t skip the step of placing the tart crust in the freezer for 15 minutes before baking it! This helps the crust maintain its shape during baking. 
  • When adding the hot milk mixture to the egg yolks, pour it slowly and whisk constantly. This process, called tempering, prevents the eggs from curdling and ensures a smooth pastry cream.
  • When arranging the mango slices on top of the pastry cream, start from the center and work your way outwards in a circular pattern.
  • For the best taste and texture, serve the tart immediately after assembling. If you need to store it, cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to two hours before serving to prevent the crust from becoming soggy.

Make-Ahead Instructions

The crust and pastry cream can be prepared 1 day in advance and assembled the day of serving. Cover both the crust and pastry cream securely with plastic wrap and store the crust at room temp and the pastry cream in the fridge.

Tools for This Recipe

  • Food processor – A food processor is a game-changer for countless kitchen tasks. From chopping vegetables for gazpacho and making homemade basil pesto to blending up strawberry frozen yogurt and fruit shaved ice, its versatility makes it a true kitchen workhorse.
  • Whisk – A kitchen essential, the whisk is your go-to tool for effortlessly combining ingredients, from batters and sauces to dressings and marinades. 
  • 9-inch nonstick tart pan – This is the perfect size for this recipe. The removable bottom makes it easy to release the finished tart without damaging the delicate crust.
  • Saucepan – Every kitchen needs a reliable saucepan. 
  • Offset spatula – This handy tool isn’t just for tart assembly; its offset design makes it perfect for icing cakes and spreading frosting, too.

Common Questions

Can I use a different type of fruit instead of mangos?

Absolutely! Strawberries, raspberries, or peaches would all be delicious, or use whatever fruit is in season.

Can I freeze the assembled tart?

I don’t recommend freezing the tart as the texture of the mango slices and pastry cream may change upon thawing. It’s best to enjoy the tart fresh or refrigerate any leftovers for up to 2 days.

What if I don’t have a tart pan with a removable bottom?

You can use a regular pie dish or individual tartlet pans as alternatives.

A mango tart that looks like a giant flower on a round serving tray.

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Dessert

Mango Tart with Vanilla Bean Pastry Cream

Add a fruit-filled dessert to your recipe lineup with a show-stopping Mango Tart with Vanilla Bean Pastry Cream.
Author: Kelly Senyei
4.92 from 23 votes
Easy mango tart with vanilla bean pastry cream on a white pie plate.
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings 12 servings

Ingredients 

For the crust:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cold and cubed

For the filling:

  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 1/4 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 a vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • 3 large mangos, cut into thin slices

Equipment:

  • food processor; 9-inch nonstick tart pan with removable bottom

Instructions 

Make the crust:

  • In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the pastry blade, pulse together the flour, sugar and salt. Add the cold, cubed butter and pulse just until the butter is incorporated and the mixture is in large clumps.
  • Spray a 9-inch nonstick tart pan (with removable bottom) with cooking spray. Transfer the dough into the tart pan, and then using your fingers, press it into the pan in an even layer to form the base and sides of the tart crust. Using a fork, prick all over the bottom of the crust.
  • Cover the pan with plastic wrap and freeze it for 15 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 425°F. Remove the plastic wrap and place the tart pan on a baking sheet. Bake it for 13 to 15 minutes or until it’s golden brown. Remove the crust from the oven and allow it to cool completely in the pan. Once the crust has cooled completely, carefully push the bottom of the pan up to release it from the sides. Place the tart on a serving dish and then prepare the filling.

Make the filling:

  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until well combined. Sift the flour and cornstarch into the bowl with the eggs, whisking until smooth.
  • Add the milk to a medium saucepan. Scrape the vanilla bean seeds into the milk then add the scraped bean to the saucepan and bring the mixture to a boil just until the milk starts to foam. Remove the milk mixture from the heat, take out the vanilla bean and then very slowly whisk the milk into the egg mixture, whisking constantly to prevent curdling.
  • Pour the mixture into a medium saucepan set over medium heat. Cook it, whisking constantly, until it comes to a boil. Once it boils, continue whisking constantly for an additional 30 to 60 seconds until it thickens. Immediately pour the mixture into a clean bowl and cover it with plastic wrap so that the plastic wrap is touching the pastry cream. Place the bowl inside a larger bowl filled with ice water to bring it to room temperature.
  • Once the pastry cream is at room temp, whisk it to remove any lumps then pour it into the completely cooled tart shell. Arrange the mango slices on top, starting in the center and then fanning them outwards to mimic flower petals. Slice and serve the tart immediately or store it, covered in plastic wrap, in the fridge for a maximum of two hours before serving.

Kelly’s Notes

  • Be sure not to overwork the dough as doing so causes tough, shrinking pastry. Stop pulsing when the mixture resembles coarse crumbs with some larger clumps.
  • Don’t skip the step of placing the tart crust in the freezer for 15 minutes before baking it! This helps the crust maintain its shape during baking.
  • For the best taste and texture, serve the tart immediately after assembling. If you need to store it, cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to two hours before serving to prevent the crust from becoming soggy
  • Make-Ahead: The crust and pastry cream can be prepared 1 day in advance and assembled the day of serving. Cover both the crust and pastry cream securely with plastic wrap and store the crust at room temp and the pastry cream in the fridge.
  • ★ Did you make this recipe? Don’t forget to give it a star rating below!
 
 
 

Nutrition

Calories: 199kcal, Carbohydrates: 25g, Protein: 3g, Fat: 9g, Saturated Fat: 5g, Cholesterol: 71mg, Sodium: 39mg, Potassium: 118mg, Sugar: 14g, Vitamin A: 790IU, Vitamin C: 15mg, Calcium: 43mg, Iron: 0.7mg

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Tart crust and pastry cream recipes adapted from Joy of Baking.


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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Just finished making this tart and it came out perfect! Since I had a smaller tart pan than the recommended one I also was able to make 3 personal tart shells. This recipe is an easy show stopper and I will make it often. So glad I found this post!

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