Fourth of July Fruit Tart with Meringues

Some years, the patriotic dessert of choice was some kind of tri-color Jello mold, frequently in the shape of the American flag. I’m not saying the Jello extravaganzas weren’t successful — and super classy — but a tart with strawberries and blueberries on a pastry cream makes a nice change. Because the recipe for the pastry cream called for six egg yolks, I decided to make meringues with the leftover whites as a sweet complement to the tart. That meant skipping the traditional melted jam glaze that always makes a fruit tart look professional and complicated when it’s not, but I didn’t want too much sweetness.

I didn’t like using corn starch or flour to thicken the pastry cream because that sort of grossed me out, so I substituted almond flour which gave it a nice almond-y flavor too. It occurred to me to try an all-nut crust next time with a chocolate pastry cream and do a gluten and dairy-free dessert. So stand by for that recipe!

Everything you needed to know about meringues but were afraid to ask can be found on Domino Sugar’s helpful site:

Meringues Baking Tips

This is worth checking out because meringues can be tricky unless you know the dos and don’ts of baking with egg whites (only beat them in metal bowls, avoid humid weather, etc.).

Fruit Tart with Meringues (no dairy)

Fruit Tart

1 1/2 cups Graham cracker crumbs
1 stick of Earth Balance
1/2 cup confectioners’ (powdered, frosting) sugar

2 cups of lactose-free whole milk (Lactaid makes this)
1/2 cup white granulated sugar
1 vanilla bean — halved
6 egg yolks (reserve the whites when you separate the eggs and leave out the whites to attain room temperature)
4 tablespoons almond flour
5 tablespoons Earth Balance

Meringues (see below)
About a dozen strawberries and a pint of blueberries or any fruit of your choice

Preheat the oven to 350.

Melt the stick of Earth Balance and blend in the confectioners’ sugar and crumbs. Grease a pie pan and press the mixture into it evenly to form a crust. Bake 6 – 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Put the milk and half the sugar in a saucepan over medium heat with the vanilla bean. In a bowl, wisk egg yolks with the rest of ingredients.

Just before the milk starts to boil, take it off the heat, remove the vanilla bean, and carefully dribble a small amount of the yolk mixture into the milk, stirring it continuously to ensure the eggs don’t cook! When about half the yolks have been added, place the mixture back over the heat and whisk the mixture vigorously, not missing any of the corners, until it thickens.

Once it thickens, take it off the heat and add the 5 tablespoons of Earth Balance. Mix well and strain if you want a creamier consistency (I recommend this). Place the filling in the cooled crust shell and cover with plastic wrap touching the filling to keep a skin from forming. You can now refrigerate it for a couple of days if you don’t want to use it right away.

Cut the tops off of the strawberries before decorating with them so that they sit flat.

Ghosts or cookies?



6 egg whites (room temperature)
1 cup super fine sugar
A metal mixing bowl

Preheat the oven to 225.

Beat the egg whites until they are about four times their size before you start gradually adding sugar. Beat the mixture until the whites form stiff peaks on their own. You have to use a metal bowl for this and it must be entirely clean.

If you are more dexterous than me, use a pastry sleeve to pipe the meringues into cunning shapes like wreathes. If you are me, just blop the cookies onto parchment and bake for about an hour. Be careful not to open the oven or make loud noises in front of it or the meringues might fall. Or so I’ve been told. For more detailed information, about the art of meringues, see the Domino website above.

Yields about two dozen meringues, depending on the size of your cookies. My mother says they freeze beautifully too. Serving suggestion: Put an extra meringue on the slide of each slice. Printable version:

Fruit Tart with Meringues

Serving suggestion: A couple of meringues with each slice


About bakingnotwriting

I'm a writer who is always baking! Or a baker who is always writing...No. Other way around.
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11 Responses to Fourth of July Fruit Tart with Meringues

  1. Nada says:

    Lordie Bajordie. That is one delicious looking tart, and I can vouch for the meringues being uber (using that word again) delish.

  2. It was good but next time I’m going gluten-free and adding chocolate.

  3. Nada says:

    Gimme. Gimme. Gimme. Gimme.

  4. Christie says:

    I was excited to find your recipe, but I need something completely dairy (not just lactose) free. Do you have any suggestions?

    • Hi! The good news is, meringues are completely dairy-free of course (but you do need egg whites). There are some good recipes for pastry cream with coconut milk online. I find that coconut milk in the can with all of the fat works pretty well for recipes just as a straight swap for whole milk. Try it with my recipe and let me know what happens. Thanks!!! Happy baking.

  5. Pingback: Dairy-free Fruit Tart Revisited | bakingnotwriting

  6. Labels matter says:

    Dude, dairy free isn’t lactose free. Extremely, extremely misleading. I can’t eat dairy proteins as well as lactose, including dairy from goats and sheep, and I’ve been served dairy-filled food from restaurants from uninformed people like you who decide to interchange the words lactose and dairy.
    Sure, I know what I can eat and can change things accordingly, but imagine I’m at someone’s house who finds this recipe and makes me this “dairy” free dessert, assuring me it’s perfectly safe. (There’s also huge issues with labelling of manufactured products, but that’s a whole other can of worms.)
    I AM still making the cream part of this recipe using a can of coconut milk and a bit of dairy-free almond milk (1 can of coconut milk isn’t quite enough and I suspect is higher fat than whole milk) because there was a hit to elsewhere on the blog and it had this link, and I expect excellent results all the same. I would just love it if the term dairy-free was exchanged for lactose-free.

  7. Labels matter says:

    Turned out excellent when I made it with a 400ml can of coconut milk and 100ml soy milk. Made it gluten free also with a ground hazelnut crust. I topped it with pears, pineapple, and some pomegranate seeds for color because that’s what I had. This will definitely make it to my regular list of desserts. I will use this custard as a base if I’m making any other desserts that use it.

    • I’m glad you got the custard to your liking! I apologize for being lax in my use of terms. Dairy-free and lactose-free are certainly not the same thing — and in my experience everyone’s intolerance varies. Other members of my family, for instance, just can’t drink milk but can eat other dairy products (I can’t!!!). I have heard that many lactose-intolerant people can eat regular yogurt — or sheep or goat’s milk products (not I). For some reason, butter is my biggest problem of all and I can’t tell you how many Indian restaurants think that because they cook with ghee (clarified butter) that they are making a dairy-free dish. Not to overshare, but that’s the worst for me. Clarifying it seems to amplify whatever is in it I can’t have. A shame, because Indian is my very favorite cuisine. Of course there are vegan Indian places (as many Indians themselves are vegan) but the majority of Indian places near me use a ton of ghee and yogurt. Again, thanks for your comment. As my readership increases from just my family and friends, I will try to be as accurate as possible. The Internet, after all, is forever. 🙂

  8. Labels matter says:

    If I were to make a chocolate version of this, do you think the filling would turn out if I melted chocolate into it? Would cocoa be better, maybe instead of the almond flour? I don’t want to screw up the texture.

    • Custard is pretty forgiving. I bet you could whip melted chocolate into it without a problem. Just be careful not to cook the eggs by accident with the hot chocolate mixture. See my Dairy-free Rabbit post for the technique to use to avoid this. If you are using cocoa, mix it with the faux milk well beforehand. It’s possible the yolk mixture will thicken enough to make you happy without the almond flour, but cocoa won’t encourage it to thicken — just to be delicious! Let me know what happens. Re-reading this, I said I would try a chocolate version, didn’t I? I’d better get on that!

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