Italian Grape Tartlets Recipe with Pastry Cream is a sweet and flavorful way to use up those juicy late summer grapes.
It’s like a fun-sized version of the classic Italian fruit tart (Crostata di Frutta Fresca) – perfect for when you want something sweet without going overboard.
Our mini grape tarts are an irresistible and playful take on this Italian delicacy that is sure to delight any palate.
Fruit tarts are called Tartellette o Crostatine in Italian. They are really delicious pastry treats: small pasta frolla shells filled with velvety Italian pastry cream (Crema Pasticcera) and seasonal fruit, in this case grapes.
Tartlets are a versatile treat that easily transitions from a satisfying breakfast to a delightful afternoon snack. In addition, these bite-sized wonders offer a stress-free dessert option for dinner parties and celebrations, eliminating the need to fumble with portioning delicious slices.
Slicing a Crostata (Italian Tart) in fact can be a daunting task for even the most experienced cooks. But fear not! These delicious mini grape tarts not only guarantee impeccable presentation, but also irresistible flavor. Impress your guests with these flawlessly crafted treats!
Grape tarts are crumbly, creamy, fresh tasting and incredibly yummy.
Here is the recipe for Italian Grape Tartlets with Pastry Cream, with all the step-by-step pictures to make them at home with your own hands!
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- For Italian shortcrust pastry (pasta frolla): 15 Min + at least 1 hour to cool in the fridge
- For Italian pastry cream (crema pasticcera): 15 Min
- For the tartlets: 15 Min
- For shortcrust pastry: 20 Min + at least 1 hour to cool at room temperature
- For pastry cream: 5 Min + at least 1 hour to cool in the fridge
PLEASE NOTE: These are the doses to make 6 TARTLETS about 7 – 8 cm ( 3 inch) in diameter
For Italian Shortcrust Pastry (Pasta Frolla)
- 250 g (8,8 oz = about 2 cups) of “00” flour
- 100 g (3,5 oz = 1/2 cup) of granulated sugar
- 120 g ( 4,2 0z = about 1 stick) of unsalted cold butter
- 1 whole medium egg at room temperature
- 1 medium egg yolk at room temperature
- zest of 1/2 lemon (optional)
- 1/6 teaspoon of fine salt
For Italian Pastry Cream (Crema Pasticcera)
- 4 medium egg yolks
- 100 g (3,5 oz = 1/2 cup) of granulated sugar
- 40 g (2,5 oz = 3 1/2 tablespoons) of all purpose flour
- 500 ml (2 cups) of whole fresh milk
- 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla bean or zest of half lemon
- 250 g (~1/2 pound) of grapes
- 2 tablespoons of icing sugar
Kitchen Tools and Equipment
- To make the tartlets you will certainly need a rolling pin to roll out the shortcrust pastry. You can use classic wooden or marble rolling pins.
- To fill the tartlets with pastry cream, you can use a pastry bag.There are convenient disposable ones with tips for different uses.
- To unmold the tartlets more easily, we recommend these very handy 6 non stick Mini Tart Pans with removable bottoms.
- Or try these beautiful white porcelain tartlets molds.
Mini Grape Tarts Recipe with Pastry Cream: Instructions
This Italian recipe for mini grape tarts basically consists of two main preparations: Pasta frolla e Crema Pasticcera. You can make these preparations the day before, as the pasta frolla must be rolled out when cold, so the longer it stays in the refrigerator the better. The crema pasticcera also needs to be cold, so it can be safely stored in the refrigerator for 1 or 2 days.
How to Make Pasta frolla for Tartlets
Step 1) – Place the flour on your work surface and make a little well in the center. Next, gently add the sugar, lemon zest (optional), a pinch of salt, and some room-temperature eggs.
Step 2) – Add the butter straight from the refrigerator and mix. Knead the dough quickly until it’s smooth and not sticky.
Step 3) – Form a loaf, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
For more details, tips, methods and informations about pasta frolla, read our more detailed recipe: Pasta Frolla Recipe (Italian Sweet Shortcrust Pastry)
How to Make Pastry Cream for Tartlets
Step 1) – In a saucepan mix the egg yolks with the sugar, using a wooden spoon. Then add the sifted flour a little bit at a time.
Step 2) – Keep stirring for about 5 minutes, until the mixture is blended. Then set aside.
Step 3) – Bring the milk close to boiling, but not quite there yet. Once it’s hot, take it off the heat and start pouring it slowly into your mix of sugar, eggs, and flour. Don’t forget to keep stirring! Get it back on the stove on low heat and keep stirring for another 3-4 minutes.
Step 4) – When the cream is well thickened, immediately pour it into a cold container. Cover the cream with cling film and let it cool in the fridge for at least 1 hour.
For more details, tips, information and variants about Pastry Cream, read our more detailed recipe: Italian Pastry Cream Recipe (Crema Pasticcera).
How to Bake Tartlets
Step 1) – When the shortcrust is ready and well cooled, remove it from the refrigerator. Roll it out with a rolling pin to a thickness of 4-5 mm (~1/5 inch). Cut out squares of pastry slightly larger than the tartlet pans. Grease and flour the tartlet pans. Using your hands, make sure the pastry adheres perfectly to the edges.
Step 2) – Remove any excess pastry. Prick the bottoms of the tartlets with the prongs of a fork. Place a sheet of baking paper on top of the tartlet case. Add rice, beans, or the special ceramic weights for tarts and pies. These are used to keep the dough from puffing up during baking. Using a fork, press down on the edges of the tart crust to create a decoration.
How to Fill Tartlets
Step 3) – Bake in a preheated oven at 180°C (350°F) in the middle of the oven for about 12 to 13 minutes. The mini tarts are done when they are lightly browned on top. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Fill each tart with pastry cream. You can use a pastry bag to help if you like. Spoon the filling up to the rim of the pan.
Decorate and Serve
Step 4) – Wash the grapes thoroughly. Discard bruised or overripe and mushy grapes. It’s very important to dry the grapes well. Then separate the berries from the bunch. You can use the berries whole or cut them in half. Of course, it’s ideal to use seedless grapes for this recipe. Otherwise, it’s definitely better to cut all the grapes in half and patiently remove the seeds.
Step 5) – Arrange the grapes on the pastry cream so that they are well sunken in. We chose to arrange them randomly, mixing white and black grapes, using some whole grapes and others halved. Dust the tartlets with powdered sugar and serve.
Keep your Grape and Pastry Cream Tartlets in the refrigerator for 1-2 days maximum, possibly covered with a glass cake dome.
The shortcrust pastry can be frozen raw, but freezing the finished tart is not recommended.
Italian Grape Tartlets with Pastry Cream Recipe: Variations and Tips
Fruit tartlets are a preparation that you can customize as you like. We have suggested a fall version with grapes. Of course, you can choose the fruit according to the season and your taste.
- SEASONAL FRUITS: The most classic are strawberries and berries, but all fruits are suitable for this preparation. We do not recommend the use of bananas, apples and pears. These are fruits that turn black and go bad very quickly.
- RICOTTA: To make lighter tarts, you can choose a lightly sweetened ricotta-based cream instead of pastry cream. Like the cream used to fill Sicilian cannoli.
- CHOCOLATE: If you love chocolate, you can choose chocolate shortcrust. It’s also very nice to alternate “white” and “black” mini tarts in the serving dish.
- JAM: Instead of pastry cream, you can use a jam that goes well with the fruit of your choice.
How to Decorate Grape Tartlets with Pastry Cream
To decorate the tartlets, instead of sprinkling them with powdered sugar, you can coat the fruit with a little apricot jam or neutral jelly. You will have beautiful glazed tarts.
Use either white or black grapes. You can choose just one type or make a mixture, as we did.
Since the area to be filled is small, do not use grapes that are too large or cut the grapes in half.
You can arrange the grapes neatly or randomly and haphazardly. Perhaps you can make them in concentric centers. Or alternate between white and black grapes.
Of course, the smaller the cakes, the less you can play with the arrangements. We used a mix of whole and half berries and different colors, placed randomly.
Which Grapes are Best for Mini Grape Tarts?
Almost any type of grape will work for this recipe.
The important thing is that the grapes are nice and of good quality. They should also not be too ripe and soft, as they will release too much juice.
We do not recommend too large grapes, such as Red Globe, because of the small size of the tartlets.
Concord grapes are not very good for this preparation. In fact, they have many hard seeds that cannot be removed without crushing the berry.
Seedless grapes are obviously the best choice. Not only because there are no seeds inside, but also because their flesh is very firm.