Friday, July 30, 2010

"Two Pies" Turned Into A Berry Tart

Mixed Nut Crust for Berry Tart

My mom lives a mere 40 minutes from me, so we have dinner every 2 weeks or so. Like many gene-sharing people, we often have difficulty communicating. Throw in an extra language, and it's double the trouble. Mom called me the night before our dinner to ask that I bring "2 pies." I couldn't understand why 4 people needed so much dessert. Between her repeated proclamations that it was "only 2 pies!" And moments away from a fight I realized she was saying "vegetable side dish" in Chinese, which just happened to sound like "pie." As tension dissolved into laughter, we settled on a compromise of 1 vegetable dish and 1 pie.

Now, "what to bring?" was the question left on my mind.
Fresh, succulent summer fruit and cream came the immediate answer (yes, I talk to myself ^_^). Hardly what pops up when most people think of "comfort food." But waist-deep in the middle of a sticky D.C. summer, that's exactly what this magical and refreshing duo is for me. And since we'd already swapped veggies for pastry, I figured no one would pick the nit between tart and pie. Fortunately for my figure, the "cream" in the latest evolution of this pairing turns out to be rich yet low-in-fat Greek yogurt and light sour cream. What's more, 3 varieties of nuts bring complex texture and flavor to the crust, but also heart-healthy unsaturated fats, omega-3 fatty acids, and fiber. What's not to love? And let me assure you that 1 measly tart was more than enough for 4 diners, including seconds. 8p

Berry Tart with Mixed Nut Crust

Fresh Berry Tart with Toasted Nut Crust [Printable Recipe]
Slightly adapted from Vegetarian Times
Serves 8

XIAOLU'S NOTES: I loved this combination of nuts, but feel free to substitute other nuts for 1 or all of the types in the recipe. Buy 1 orange for this recipe and you'll have more than enough zest and juice. If you don't have Greek yogurt, you can make a substitute from a cup of regular yogurt by draining it over a strainer lined with cheesecloth/paper towel/coffee filter for several hours. Make sure to measure the 1/2 cup for the recipe after you drain the yogurt. I always "make" my own brown sugar using white sugar and molasses, about 1 1/2 T molasses per cup of white sugar. That's one less ingredient in my overcrowded [as in, constantly on the verge of avalanche] pantry, and no problems with hardened old brown sugar.

1/4 cup each almonds, pecans, and hazelnuts
3/4 cup whole-wheat flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
6 T cold unsalted butter, diced
1 large egg yolk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat 9-inch tart pan with cooking spray or a flavorless vegetable oil. Spread nuts on baking sheet, and toast in oven 12 to 15 minutes, or until browned.

Pulse nuts, flour, sugar, and salt in food processor until nuts are ground to powder. Add butter, and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add egg yolk, and pulse until moist clumps form.

Press dough into bottom and sides of prepared pan, about 1/4-inch thick, and pierce with fork. [If the dough is too soft to press, freeze it at 5 minute intervals until it's easier to handle. I pressed the dough with a floured juice glass.] Freeze crust for 30 minutes.

Adjust oven temperature to 400°F. Bake crust 12 to 14 minutes, or until golden. Let cool.

1/2 cup light or regular sour cream
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
2 to 3 T light brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp grated orange zest
1 1/2 to 2 cups blueberries
1 cup raspberries
1 T orange juice

Whisk together sour cream, yogurt, brown sugar, vanilla, and orange zest in small bowl. Toss berries with orange juice in separate bowl.

Spread sour cream mixture in crust with spatula. Spoon berries over top a little at a time, until sour cream mixture is evenly covered.

Refrigerate 30 to 60 minutes before serving.


  1. LOL. That story is hilarious. Do you speak Mandarin or Cantonese or another language? (I was trying to think of a vegetable side dish in Mandarin that sounds like "pie," but coming up empty...)

    The tart definitely looks succulent and totally yum. The combination of sour cream and Greek yogurt in the tart is intriguing--does it soften the tart crust any, or is the Greek yogurt thick enough to prevent that?

  2. Oouuu!

    Your pie is almost guilt-free and so wholesome! And i love love the colours :)

    Like Steph, i actually tried both Cantonese and Mandarin for vegetable side dish, but nothing sounds like 'pie'!

  3. Once my officemate said that "snakes" were popular in Taiwan - I thought that was a bit strange until I realized he meant "snacks"! But that pie - in whatever language - would surely taste great!

  4. How lovely! I'm sure the berries and Greek yoghurt will help you cool down in humid D.C.!

  5. Your tart looks lovely and the pie crust seems very interesting.I have to try this instead of my regular recipe :-)

  6. I often have ridiculous conversations like this with my mother and we don't even HAVE a language barrier! The tart looks absolutely delicious though...and I love that it uses Greek yogurt instead of CREAM. Oh how tasty!

  7. yum yum...the tart looks so summery, so fresh and delicious!

  8. I love the yogurt filling! Much lighter and refreshing

  9. Yum! Wish I had a slice now! Funny with mom!

  10. Steph & maameemoomoo - Thanks for your comments! We speak Mandarin and she was saying "cai" (4th tone). The connection was pretty bad on her side or it wouldn't have sounded so similar :). We had to drive the tart in 100+ weather 45 minutes to my mom's place so the crust did soften up. I think it wouldn't have happened if kept refrigerated. The photo on the website with the original recipe shows them slicing it and the crust looks fairly firm.

    Trissa - haha I wouldn't be surprised if snakes were too considering how many thing are eaten over there that we're not used to (dogs, for example).

    Danielle - thanks and they sure did.

    Brittany - glad you like it :).

    Joanna - please do and let me know how you like it!

    Joanne - haha yea it may just be an international mother-daughter communication gap.

    Angie - thx!

    Anh - :)

    Pam - I'd totally share if you were closer.

  11. Oh my gosh, that is absolutely hilarious!! 2 pies!!

    This pie looks sooo yummy!

  12. I'm loving the whole wheat nut crust!! Oh how I wish we could get Greek yogurt here... well I have seen it but it's 8-10% fat, not exactly what I'm looking for!

  13. my mother and i seem to have difficulty communicating as well, and we don't have the excuse of a language barrier! mostly i think what she says has a tendency to pass in one of my ears and right out the other. :)
    gorgeous and tasty tart--i'd gladly take two. :)

  14. That is an absolutely stunning pie
    And I am right with you on the whole mother-daughter thing, sometimes I wonder how it's possible we can share 50% of our DNA and yet completely not get each other at all...

  15. Such a colourful berry tart!! Very summery!

  16. This is so timely! I just tried a tart with a nut crust and it was gorgeous-and now I see this recipe! Thankyou! :)

  17. Simply gorgeous! Those raspberries on top practically sparkle... Excellent lighting for another stunning photo. Definitely looks good enough to eat. :)

  18. A splendid tart! So beautiful and divine looking. A perfect summer treat!



  19. Oh! This fruit tart looks so yummie...and love the idea of mix nuts in the crust...must taste so YUMMIE :-)

  20. oh my, I love the generous berries you used, the tart is so beautiful. and lol about the miscommunication, you two are so cute :)

  21. I love the last picture. The colour! Anyway, do you still have a slice of that pie for me?:-P

  22. My mother and I have lots of communication issues and we speak the same language. Ha! Your pie looks great! And, the crust? PERFECTION! xoxo

  23. Hilarious post! And now you've got me wishing I lived 40mins away from you, just to get my hands on this tart :P

  24. Koko - glad my story made you laugh!

    eatme_delicious - oh bummer about the Greek yogurt. hope you can find a healthier version soon or just strain regular yogurt as my notes say.

    grace - hehe, I'm sure I blame the problem on the language problem more often than is true. my ears seem pretty leaky too ;).

    Chanel11 - well I have thought I was adopted a few times hehe.

    mycookinghut - yes, the taste is so summery, too!

    Lorraine - glad you enjoy the nut crust too. i like a crust with flavor of its own.

    Hannah - thanks! I think this can be veganized fairly easily too, especially with your culinary skills.

    Rosa - you're very sweet.

    Juliana - it is quite yummy. you should try it!

    Ellie - gracias!

    noobcook - hehe we can be cute when we're not snapping at each other. we're like sisters.

    Indonesia-Eats - aw thanks. i'm fresh out but i'll make another if you're gonna drop by.

    redmenace - glad you like it.

    ovenhaven - hehe trust me, i'd happily send baked goods your way if you were close enough.


I love hearing from you all! Please leave me a message if you have questions, advice, or just to let me know you stopped by. Your feedback is always very much appreciated. Thanks! <3 Xiaolu