The Fourth of July weekend is finally here...
I don't know about you, but I am definitely looking forward to a little time away from work for some fun in the sun and the chance to get to eat my favorite All-American summer foods. Plus, my sister is coming to visit, the weather will be in the mid-to-high eighties (which means lots of pool and beach time) and I capped off this week with an appearance on Channel 6, San Diego Living. It was my first time on live TV and I had so much fun doing a live cooking demo of a Red, White, and Blueberry Tart for the Fourth of July. Since it was right before the holiday weekend, it was the perfect time to share a classic red, white, and blue dessert recipe like this tart. I know some people that are local to San Diego already tuned in live yesterday morning, but you can watch the clip here!
I want to send a big thank you to the great people at San Diego Living for inviting me on the show, and if you haven't watched before, definitely visit their website. When I was there on Friday, they also had fantastic segments from SD Bargain Mama about how to save money on summer family fun, as well as a cool makeup artist and beauty consultant with great summer looks. All the videos are right on their homepage so you can easily scroll through and view them all!
Ok, now let me quickly tell you a little more about this fantastic Red, White, and Blueberry Tart - the crust is made from homemade sweet tart dough, which is also known by the fancy french name of 'pate sucree,' although there is really nothing fancy or complicated about making this. I have made this dough at least 4-5 times now, and it is fool-proof - it turns out perfectly every time. Plus it is quick to make. With a food processor, you can have it ready and chilling in the fridge in under five minutes. I promise.
Once the sweet tart crust is baked, the "Red" layer comes from sliced fresh strawberries topped with sweet summer strawberry preserves. As I mentioned in my last post, I think you get the most authentic strawberry taste when you make the preserves at home, but store-bought preserves also work great for this recipe. The fresh berries with the preserves provide a great textural element as well as sweet taste.
Next, the strawberry layer is covered with a "White" layer of cream filling. I adore the flavor of this cream filling - with a base of reduced fat cream cheese and honey greek yogurt, the taste is perfectly sweet balanced with the right amount of tartness. It is light and fresh and my taste-testers (aka my co-workers) said it was their favorite part of the tart.
(Also, I had some cream filling leftover, and I discovered it is delicious just for dipping berries. If you don't want to make the whole tart, you could just make the filling and take it to a party with fresh, sweet strawberries!)
Finally the cream filling is topped with "Blue" berries as well as some more fresh strawberries. I didn't really like the fuss of arranging the berries in any sort of pattern, and it is just so much easier to take them by the handful and drop them over the top. Effortless.
The berries on the top against the white cream make this tart look absolutely stunning for summer parties - I can promise that your friends will oooh and aaah when they see it, and they will be even more in awe when they taste it's sweet simplicity. The recipe is below, and I also provided some tips for making it easier and quicker, and for transporting this tart to your party in perfect condition.
Enjoy, and have a sweet, and happy Fourth of July!
One year ago: Lemon Meringue Cheesecake
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Red, White, and Blueberry Tart
While this dessert is obviously themed perfectly for Fourth of July, Labor Day, or Memorial Day, it would be perfect for any summer backyard party or picnic. The flavors are fresh, the colors are vibrant, and your guests are sure to be impressed! Ideally, this tart would be best with homemade tart dough and homemade preserves, but if you want a fast and easy treat, check the bottom of the recipe for quick shortcuts and tips.*
Sweet Tart Dough (Pate Sucree, adapted from Martha Stewart):
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tbsp sugar
1 large egg yolk
1 stick chilled butter, cubed
2 tbsp ice water
About 7-10 strawberries, washed, hulled, and thinly sliced lengthwise
About 1/2 cup strawberry preserves
1 8-oz package reduced fat cream cheese, room temperature
1 8-oz container honey-flavored greek yogurt
Juice of 1/2 lemon
3 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Extra washed blueberries, and washed, hulled, and quartered strawberries for topping
9-inch tart pan with removable bottom
For tart dough, pulse together flour, salt, and sugar a food processor, then add egg yolk and pulse again. Add the cubed, cold butter all at once, and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse sand with pea-size butter lumps. Drizzle ice water evenly over mixture and pulse until the dough starts to come together into a ball. Squeeze a small handful: If it doesn’t hold together, add more ice water, 1 teaspoon at a time, pulsing until incorporated, then test again. Dough will eventually be pliable but not too sticky. Press dough into a ball, then flatten into a disk. Chill, wrapped in plastic wrap at least 1 hour or overnight.
When ready to bake the crust, preheat oven to 350°F. Roll out the dough on a well-floured surface into a roughly 11- or 12-inch round. Carefully pick up the dough and lay it over a 9-inch tart pan. Taking care not to stretch the dough, press the dough into the sides of the tart pan with your fingers, and then use a knife to cut off the excess dough to make a clean edge for the tart crust. (Check here for helpful photos.) Return the crust to the refrigerator and chill for at least 30 minutes, or well-wrapped overnight (I get the best results this way, and find it to be easiest time-wise). Before baking, prick the tart crust all over with a fork, then bake tart crust for about 30-35 minutes until crust is golden. Remove from the oven, cool on a rack, then remove the tart crust from the pan. (Tart crust can be baked 1-day ahead.)
Once the tart crust is cooled, prepare your fillings. First, make your cream filling by beating the cream cheese until it is fluffy and smooth. Add the remaining ingredients to the cream cheese, and continue to beat until the mixture is smooth and silky. To fill the tart crust, first add the sliced strawberries in a single layer on the bottom, filling the space as best you can (some strawberries might be leftover). Next add the strawberry preserves to fill in the spaces between the strawberries and in a very thin layer over the top. (If your preserves are not pourable, just warm them in the microwave for a few minutes.) Finally, add the cream filling over the top in a thick layer to fill the tart crust completely. Smooth the top, and transfer the tart to the refrigerator to chill for at least 2 hours before serving.
For serving, add the blueberries and strawberries to the top of the tart in any pattern you like. For a more easy, rustic look, just scoop them up in handfuls and drop them over the top of the tart. Once filled, the tart should be served within 24 hours, but ideally it is best within a few hours after the tart crust is filled (the crust will be the most flaky and sweet).
*If you are pressed for time, here are a few recipe shortcuts and tips:
-I find it easiest to make this tart in two days to save time. I make my dough in the evening, let it chill for an hour, then roll it out and form it in the tart pan. I refrigerate this overnight, then bake it first thing in morning so it can cool and I can fill it in the early afternoon.
-To save more time, frozen store-bought pie crust can also be used. Bake according to package directions, and fill as directed above.
-I love to use homemade strawberry preserves for this recipe, but it is not strictly necessary - think of it as bonus authentic flavor if you have the time. If not, use high-quality preserves made from real fruit.
-the consistency of the filling is definitely best when chilled for at least 2 hours, but you can also just add the fruit and go if you are in a hurry. It is solid enough that it will support the weight of the fruit and not run out of the tart crust.
-And lastly, to transport this tart so it arrives at your party in perfect condition, stick 4 toothpicks in the top of the tart. They will stick up over the top of the tart, and then you can place a paper plate upside down over the top of the toothpicks, and use this as a 'lid' for wrapping the whole contraption loosely with saran wrap. It works like a charm.