One of my pet peeves is reading recipes without pictures. How do I know if I want to make something if I have no idea how it’ll turn out? So why is there a generic picture of strawberries in this post, instead of the said dessert?
When I bake, I usually bring the dessert to a party, where it’s hacked to a pulp. A whole dessert, like an uncut pie, is boring, so I usually don’t photograph it either. As a result, I don’t blog about lots of things I make, because I don’t have pictures.
To solve this problem, I think bakers should be allowed to present desserts with pieces cut out. Just for photographic purposes of course. Besides, it’s hard to wait that extra day between baking a dessert and actually eating it at the party. Once, a co-worker presented a crumb cake with a giant hole in it. I thought it was a great idea, except she said she wanted to make sure it wasn’t poisonous.
So you’re not sold on this idea, but you should be sold on this dessert (and its cookbook). As a chocolate fan, I usually think fruit desserts are boring. But every dessert from Rustic Fruit Desserts is one of the best things I’ve ever made. This “tart” originally had a short dough crust, but I used graham crackers because they’re easier to work with, especially during hot weather. I really like Midel, which is made of 100% whole wheat flour and has no refined sugars. It’s healthier than the traditional brands and much more flavorful.
Graham cracker crumb crust:
1 1/4 cup fine graham cracker crumbs (recommended brand: Midel)
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons sugar
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9-inch pie pan or springform pan.
- Mix together the ingredients with a fork until all ingredients are moistened. Spread the mixture evenly in the pan. Using your fingertips or the flat bottom of a glass cup, press the mixture firmly over the bottom and up the sides of a pie pan or 1/2 inch up the springform pan.
- Bake until the crust’s lightly browned and firm, 10 to 15 minutes.
1 cup (8 ounces) whole-milk ricotta
1/3 cup (6 ounces) reduced-fat cream cheese, at room temperature
3/4 cup (5 1/4 ounces) granulated sugar
Seeds scraped from 1/2 vanilla bean
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
3 dry pints (6 cups) strawberries, hulled, and halved if large
1/2 cup strawberry jam
- Using a handheld mixer with beaters or a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, mix the ricotta, cream cheese, sugar, vanilla bean seeds, salt, and nutmeg on medium speed. Add the eggs one at a time, beating until smooth after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl occasionally. Stir in the vanilla.
- Pour the filling into the prebaked crust and bake in the middle of the oven for 30 minutes, or until the edges have puffed up but the middle’s still jiggly. (As the tart cools, the center will firm up.) Cool to room temperature on a wire rack, then refrigerate for 1 hour.
- Just before serving, put the strawberries in a bowl. Warm the strawberry jam in a small sauce pan over low heat, then strain the jam over the strawberries and toss to coat. Arrange the berries on top of the tart and serve immediately. Alternatively, you could omit the jam and serve the berries alongside the tart.
Storage: The tart can be made a day in advance, in which case you should refrigerate it and top with the strawberries just before serving. Covered with plastic wrap, any leftovers will keep in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days.