A tart is a baked dish consisting of a filling over a pastry base with an open top not covered with pastry. The pastry is usually shortcrust pastry; the filling may be sweet or savoury, though modern tarts are usually fruit-based, sometimes with custard. Tartlet refers to a miniature tart. Examples of tarts include jam tarts, which may be different colours depending on the flavour of the jam used to fill them, and the Bakewell tart.
The categories of ‘tart’, ‘flan’, and ‘pie’ overlap, with no sharp distinctions, though ‘pie’ is the more common term in the United States. The French word tarte can be translated to mean either pie or tart, as both are mainly the same with the exception of a pie usually covering the filling in pastry, while flans and tarts leave it open.
Tarts and pies represent something of a gray area in the bakery canon. With considerable overlap between the two, no single definition seems entirely satisfactory. In general, though, tarts have only one crust, while pies can have one or two. Pies generally use plain pastry, while tarts are usually made with sweeter cookie-like pastry.