Forget about fussing with piecrust, pastry cream or gelatin, this gorgeous berry tart looks impressive, tastes even better, and couldn’t be easier to make! In other words, it’s the perfect summertime dessert.
This berry tart is the best kind of nostalgia. In high school I experimented with pies, crisps and crumbles, but it wasn’t until college that I made my first tart (which meant that I had to schlep out into the suburbs of my college town in my giant red Buick—which was a hand-me-down from my Grandma—to find a tart pan with a removable bottom). It was a simple affair of graham crackers, cream cheese and strawberries, but man did I glow as I slid that tart out of its ring (it held together!) and served the glistening dessert to my friends.
Berry tart flashback
This beauty takes me right back to those days of freedom and falling in love (that was when I met James—cue the starry eyes), but it tastes way better than the original. (New video below!)
My goal was to create an updated berry tart with a bit more sophistication, while keeping it just as easy as those college days. That means no gelatin, no pastry cream, not even pastry dough (in other words, nothing I later learned in culinary school). This is old-school baking at its very best. I kept the graham cracker crust, because there’s no easier tart crust on the planet (and seriously, it’s hard to beat), but I added in almonds for flavor and texture. For the filling, I whipped together cream cheese with crème fraiche, fresh vanilla bean and almond extract (it’s pure heaven). And for the topping I added blueberries along with the strawberries for a pop of color and flavor. Brushing a bit of apricot jam over the berries makes them glisten just like a fancy French tarte aux fruits, and nobody has to know otherwise.
Fourth of July
While it might look awfully refined, it’s pure nostalgia at heart. This would be a perfect dessert for the Fourth of July, which is just around the corner. While you can design the top any way you’d like (and by the way, feel free to use other fruits, such as raspberries, blackberries or sliced kiwi), this red and blue firecracker is especially fitting for the holiday (you can watch how I do it in the video).
This is now one of Ella and Juniper’s favorite desserts, and it even makes for a mighty fine breakfast the next day. Maybe one day the girls will think back to this summer, remember what I hope will be a season of freedom and laughter, and be inspired to recreate the tart themselves. I hope it will evoke as sweet of memories for them as it does for me.
Here’s what you’ll need for the tart:
- A 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom makes for a pretty presentation, and I love how easy it is to slide the tart out of the ring.
- A small off-set spatula makes it easy to spread the cream cheese into the crust. It’s also a great tool for getting muffins out of tins, frosting muffins and cakes, and spreading nutella on toast (enough said).
- A long, thin utility knife is my tool of choice for slicing the tart. It’s a great everyday knife to have on hand. I call it my “lunch knife” because it’s what I pull out at lunchtime to slice up tomatoes for sandwiches or vegetables for salads.
- A thin pie server takes the stress out of getting perfect slices. You can also simply use a large off-set spatula (just think about the amount of nutella you could spread with this one).
Get the recipe!
Easiest Ever Berry Almond Tart (Gluten-Free)
For the crust:
- 2/3 cup sliced almonds
- 1 cup graham cracker crumbs (regular or gluten-free)
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 4 tablespoons melted butter, cooled slightly
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
For the filling:
- ½ vanilla bean (or ½ teaspoon vanilla extract)
- 2/3 cup (about 5 ounces) cream cheese, at room temperature
- ¼ teaspoon almond extract
- ¼ cup sugar
- Pinch salt
- 1/3 cup crème fraiche
- 1 ½ quarts strawberries, hulled and halved
- 1 cup blueberries
- 2 tablespoons apricot jam
For the crust:
- Preheat the oven to 350˚F.
- Spread the almonds on a baking sheet and toast, stirring once or twice, until light golden and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Let cool (keep the oven on). Transfer the nuts to the food processor, and process until finely ground. Transfer to a bowl. Add the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, butter and cinnamon, and stir to combine.
Spray a 9-inch round tart pan with a removable bottom with cooking spray. Press the crust into the bottom and ¾-inch up the sides of the pan. Bake until lightly browned, about 8-10 minutes. Transfer to a rack and let cool (you can pop it in the fridge to cool it faster).
For the filling:
- Cut the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds using the back of a small knife. Add the vanilla seeds to the cream cheese along with the almond extract, and beat until smooth. Add the sugar and salt, and beat again until the sugar is dissolved. Add the crème fraiche and beat until creamy and smooth.
- Scrape the filling into the tart shell and spread in an even layer.
- Arrange the strawberries and blueberries over top (you can watch how I do it in the video above!).
- Thin the apricot jam with about 1 teaspoon of water and heat on the stovetop or microwave until runny. Carefully brush the glaze over the fruit on the tart (try not to get it on the filling). Refrigerate the tart until ready to serve.
- The crust can be made up to 1 day in advance. Cover and store it at room temperature. The finished tart is best the day it's made, but it can be covered and refrigerated for up to 1 day.
- To make the graham cracker crumbs, simply blitz graham crackers (regular or gluten-free) in the food processor until finely ground.
- The tart can also be made in an 8-inch square pan or 9-inch pie plate.
- You can use any berries you like to decorate the top! If using strawberries, try to buy ones that are evenly sized. Also, make sure the berries are completely dry before arranging them on the tart.
- While I usually include weight measurements in my recipes, this recipe is so simple that I didn’t even add them (you can literally eyeball everything and be ok!).
I’d love to hear what you’re cooking, and I’m happy to answer any questions! #FromScratchFast
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