It’s almost May, and that means it’s almost berry time! We’re still suffering through an unusually cold spring here in NYC so no berries at the farmer’s market yet, but they are appearing in the grocery store. When I saw the blackberries this weekend, I KNEW I had to do something with them, and I thought this tart would be perfect.
I made this tart a few years ago (that’s the photo in my header – scroll up!), and what impressed me then was that it was one of the few times that the end result actually looked like the photo in the magazine! What further impressed me was that it was so damn simple, and tasted incredible. Not to mention it made me look like a baking goddess (which, of course, I am) when I served it at a party. I altered the recipe just a tad here to include blackberries AND strawberries, and the result was equally delicious. I didn’t go 100% blackberry, because I was afraid the seeds in the blackberries might make for a too-crunchy glaze… but it would have looked so pretty. Raspberries would also be awesome, I’m sure. A triple mixed berry mix would be divine… hmmm…
But back to the recipe at hand. This graham cracker crust recipe is a great simple crust to have in your repertoire – it would work great for cheesecake too, or anything that requires a graham cracker crust. Trust me, it tastes infinitely better than a store bought crust!
Oh-So-Spring Berry Almond Tart
Adapted from this Cooking Light recipe
Serves 10 Cooking and prep time: 1 hour, start to finish
235 calories; 8g fat; 39g carbs; 4g protein
- 36 honey graham crackers (9 sheets)
- 2 T white sugar
- 2 T unsalted butter, melted
- 4 tsp water
- Cooking spray
- 2/3 cup (about 5 oz) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp almond extract
- 6 cups small fresh berries (I used 2 cups strawberries, hulled, and 4 cups blackberries)
- 2/3 cup white sugar
- 1 T cornstarch
- 1 T fresh lemon juice
- 2 T sliced almonds
Make the glaze
Place 2 cups strawberries in food processor, and process until smooth. In a small pot, combine strawberry puree, 2/3 cup sugar, and cornstarch with a whisk. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to low; cook 1 minute. Remove from heat. Cool to room temperature.
Make the crust
While the glaze is cooling, preheat oven to 350°.
Place crackers in a food processor; process until crumbly. Add 2 tablespoons sugar, butter, and 4 teaspoons water; pulse just until moist. Place cracker mixture in a 9-inch round removable-bottom tart pan lightly coated with cooking spray (I used my spring-form pan, which I adore). Press the crumbs into the bottom and up sides of pan as much as you can. Bake at 350° for 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Set out to cool.
Make the filling
While the crust is baking, combine cream cheese, 1/4 cup sugar, and extracts in a medium bowl; beat with an electric mixer until smooth. Set aside.
Spread cream cheese mixture evenly over bottom of tart shell.
Combine the remaining 4 cups berries and lemon juice; toss to coat. Arrange berries, bottoms up, in a circular pattern over filling (this is my FAVORITE part!). Spoon half of glaze evenly over berries (reserve remaining glaze for another use… like in yogurt, yum). Sprinkle nuts around edge. Cover and chill 3 hours. Serve to general amazement and awe.