It’s February and not exactly berry season, but I need my fix. Costco is the dealer with my drug of choice — delectably deep pink raspberries, big and sweet.
They’re from Mexico and surely ate up a ton of fossil fuel to get here, but I just don’t care today. No one can care about everything every day. They are plump, cheap, and I’ve officially declared Tart Week in my house.
It started with a lemon tart, with a filling that was a dud, but a crust that was exceptional. Unsatisfied and faced with these berries in the store, the solution became vividly clear, especially in the face of Valentine’s Day. What better way to have some vivid red color and a feeling of being spoiled than to make a tart with a luscious stack of raspberries?
Indeed, this tart stars raspberries, kept fresh, gorgeous, and glistening with only a light glaze. It’s a simple creation, very basic, but each part — the butter crust, the fluffy cream cheese filling scented with vanilla and almond, the sweet red berries — shines through with such clean, lovely flavors. It’s sweet, but not cloyingly so, and not too rich or heavy feeling, despite the cream cheese.
Making a tart crust can seem intimidating but it’s actually very simple. Once you get one successful crust under your belt, you’ll never worry about it again. The key is to use very cold butter and pay close attention to how you pulse the dough mix in your food processor.
Follow the recipe carefully, err on the side of under-processing, and you’ll have an enviable crust. Luckily, Deb over at Smitten Kitchen, who adapted this crust from the famous baker Dorie Greenspan’s recipe, has written clear, detailed instructions. The dough requires some time to rest before baking; you will probably want to make it a day ahead. (And remember to soften your cream cheese too.)
For serving, all this tart needs is a little dollop of fresh whipped cream. And maybe a glass of champagne!
A butter crust, fluffy, almond-scented cream cheese, and spectacular red raspberries make a standout tart. Top with a little freshly whipped cream. Don’t buy that stuff in a can — it would be an insult to the fruit and your effort. If you can’t find sweet raspberries, substitute any good berry you can find (try Costco) and use a matching jam for the glaze.
Makes one 9-inch tart
For the Tart Crust:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
9 Tbs. unsalted butter, very cold, cut into 1/2″ dice
one 9-inch tart pan with removable bottom
Follow the crust instructions by Deb at Smitten Kitchen here. Pay close attention when pulsing the mix in the food processor. Your final, granular dough mixture should look like my picture above.
Partially bake the crust — bake only 5 minutes after removing the foil. Let cool slightly while you prepare the filling.
For the cream cheese filling:
8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. almond extract
1 Tbs. all-purpose flour
Oven at 350F.
In the bowl of an electric mixture fitted with the paddle attachment: Beat together cream cheese, sugar, vanilla, almond extract, and egg until smooth and fluffy. Add the flour and mix well.
Spread filling onto the par-baked tart crust. It’s OK if it’s still warm. Bake 20 minutes or until set, not wobbly, and starting to brown just a little. Cool the tart in its pan, on a rack.
For the Raspberries and Glaze:
3 cups (12 oz.) fresh raspberries, rinsed and patted dry
1/3 cup seedless raspberry jam
Arrange the berries on top of the cooled tart filling, tips up.
Heat the jam in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring, until it just melts and becomes smooth. Cool slightly. Use a pastry brush to lightly brush the berries with glaze. If your glaze is too thick to brush easily, add a little water to thin it out. You may not need all the glaze – you just want to give a light coating on the berries, not have a pool of glaze on top of the filling.
Remove the tart from the pan. Store in the refrigerator. Serve slices with a dollop of whipped cream.
For the Whipped Cream:
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tsp. vanilla extract, or to taste
1 Tbs. confectioner’s sugar, or to taste
In the bowl of an electric mixture fitted with the whisk attachment: Whip the cream on high speed until soft-peak stage. Add the vanilla and sugar; continue to beat until stiff-peaks form.
(To determine peak stage: Lift the beater from the bowl, lifting some cream with it. If the lifting motion leaves a peak in the cream in the bowl but the peak tip bends over, you’re at soft-peak stage. If the peak tip stands up straight and stiff, you’re at stiff-peak stage.)