Top this fruit tart with berries, peaches, plums or any fruit you like

One of the best things about summer is the fruit. The next best thing to eating berries, cherries, peaches, plums, figs and melon fresh? Piling it atop this easy fruit tart.

Traditional French-style fresh-fruit tarts involve a short, sweet crust and vanilla pastry cream filling. They’re wonderful but somewhat labor intensive.

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The classic dough for the crust must be handled with a gentle touch so it doesn’t toughen as it bakes. It is often rolled out before being fitted into a fluted tart pan, filled with weights and blind baked — a process that can be tricky unless you have lots of practice.

Get the recipe: Any-Fruit Tart

Once the tart shell is ready, it is customarily filled with a puddinglike pastry cream. Thick and rich, with a pronounced vanilla flavor, properly made pastry cream is dreamy. But there’s a lot that can go wrong. If you don’t correctly incorporate the starch, or you don’t whisk it enough, you’ll end up with lumpy pastry cream. If you don’t cook it long enough, often at a boil, it will taste gritty or pasty instead of gently sweet.

It’s summer, so let’s make things easier. I created a tender tart crust that needs no rolling: Simply press it into a tart pan. Use a straight-sided glass or measuring cup to press around the inside perimeter of the crust, where it meets the sides of the pan, to achieve a tidy 90-degree angle.

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Freeze it until it’s firm before baking, and you won’t have to fill it with weights. Simply bake it until it’s golden brown.

While it cools, whip together a mixture of cream cheese, whipped cream, sugar and vanilla. I first saw this idea in a Philadelphia Cream Cheese cookbook that I bought from a garage sale when I was 14 years old. You could call it a no-bake cheesecake filling, but the mixture tastes more like a mousse to me. Light and slightly tart, alongside the cookie-like crust, it makes an ideal foil for sweet summer fruit.

Get the recipe: Any-Fruit Tart