Meet "Shortcut Pie," Your New Essential (& Easy) Summer Dessert

During summer, I spend most days balancing my excitement about the bountiful produce at the market with my lack of interest in making anything complicated. Enter this...dessert, which has graced many an impromptu summer dinner party. All I do is make a simple cookie crumb crust, fill it with roasted fruit, and serve the whole shebang with whipped cream. It does require turning on the oven, but the payoff is well worth it, because the finished tarts are impressively lovely, considering the minimal effort required.

Best of all, these roasted fruit tarts are totally open to interpretation. You can use all one fruit, or mix and match using whatever seasonal gems you’ve got on hand. You can use any kind of crisp cookie for the crust (I’ve even used gluten free ones to make this more inclusive).

Yes, making this is *easy*. Photo by Julia Gartland

Let's call it "shortcut pie"—because it's as impressive as a fruit pie, but takes way less time. Here’s what you need to know:

The Crust

Crumb crusts are easy to make: All you really need to do is combine cookie crumbs with melted butter. The only important thing to know in the case of this tart is you want to be sure the crumb crust is moist enough that it easily holds together. Squeeze a small amount of the crust between your fingers; it should hold its shape and stay together. A crust like this will be able to withstand the moisture of the fruit later and is more likely to unmold easily from the tart pan before slicing.

Moisture won't break your crust if it's this sturdy! Photo by Julia Gartland

Once you’ve achieved the right consistency, press the crust into an even layer inside a tart pan (if you’re hoping to remove it from the pan, it should have a removable base). You can use any size tart pan to make this; just adjust the amount of crumb crust for larger pans. Bake the crust in a preheated 350° F oven until it’s lightly golden and appears set, 10-12 minutes. Let cool completely.

Lay down the foundation. Photo by Julia Gartland

The Fruit

You can use any kind of fruit you like for this tart, which is one of the best things about it. But it’s important to remember that every fruit is a little different, especially if you’re planning to use more than one. I find it’s easier to handle the fruit separately, rather than combining them. This makes it easier to achieve the proper doneness in the fruit, since some will take less time to roast than others.


Before roasting the fruit, it helps to macerate it a little bit to get the juicy juices flowing. I like to only use a little bit of sugar, since part of the beauty of this dessert is letting the natural sweetness of the fruit sing. But of course, it’s totally adjustable, so you can add more to taste. Toss each batch of fruit with at least 2 tablespoons sugar and toss to combine. Let the fruits macerate for 10-15 minutes.

Let it relax with the sugar for a bit. Photo by Julia Gartland


To roast the fruit, raise the oven temperature to 400° F and let it pre-heat. It’s best to roast each fruit on their own baking sheet, but if you’re using lots of different kinds of fruit, just try to place similar types of fruit together (berries and sliced stone fruit, for example). Spread the fruit into an even layer on the baking sheet (juices and all), and transfer to the oven.

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Roast the fruit until it is tender and had released some juices. This will vary by the type of fruit. Smaller, more delicate fruits (like berries or cherries) will take less time: 10-15 minutes. Sturdier fruit (pineapple, cantaloupe, etc.) will take longer: 30-45 minutes. I like to roast the fruit just long enough that it concentrates the flavor, but not so long that the fruit totally breaks down or falls apart. Some fruits will release a lot of juice, others will only release a small amount of juice and become a bit jammy. Some types of fruit will caramelize a little bit and turn lightly brown, others won’t brown at all. Keep a close watch and taste once in a while to see if it's to your liking.

Getting juicy, on their own terms. Photo by Julia Gartland

When the fruit is done roasting, I like to sweeten it a bit more by drizzling a small amount of honey over the fruit; this also helps make some of the juices that have collected on the pan a bit syrupy. Let the fruit cool completely before assembling the tart.


In this step, all you have to do is arrange the roasted fruit into the prepared tart shell. (Both the fruit and the tart shell should be cooled completely before assembly.) If the fruit has released a lot of juice during roasting and it’s still a bit liquidy, you can drain the fruit from the juice before adding it to the tart shell. If the juice has reduced and become jammy, you can add it to the tart right along with the fruit. You can just spoon the fruit in an even layer, or take care arranging it to make it look especially fancy; either way works!

Shape to your liking. Photo by Julia Gartland


The tart should be served relatively soon after assembly. Depending on the combination of fruits and cookie type used, the crust can start to absorb moisture from the fruit after 2-3 hours, and may eventually become soggy. The tart can be sliced right inside the tart pan for serving, but if the crust is properly made, it should easily pop out of the tart shell and stay together quite nicely. Serve the tart with plenty of whipped cream on the side, and rejoice in the fruits of your labor (hehe).

Another Low-Lift Way to Bake Fruit

What fruits are going in your tart? What cookies? Let us know in the comments!

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

I always have three kinds of hot sauce in my purse. I have a soft spot for making people their favorite dessert, especially if it's wrapped in a pastry crust. My newest cookbook, Savory Baking, came out in Fall of 2022 - is full of recipes to translate a love of baking into recipes for breakfast, dinner, and everything in between!

1 Comment

Lazyretirementgirl July 22, 2018
This looks like a terrific idea — am I correct in guessing that all the oven on cooking could happen early in the morning, or even the night before assembly, with the tart put together just before serving it?