I’ve been wanting to post a dessert recipe lately, because…well, because dessert is the best part of anything, including my blog. 😉 I love to bake, so I have lots of desserts to choose from, but I wanted to post one that is somewhat seasonal. And what’s more seasonal than fresh fruit in summer, right?
I’d like to start the recipe by saying that under no circumstances should this be called a “fruit pizza.” I’ve heard that term before, but I work way too hard on this thing to cheapen it by even mentioning the word “pizza” in the same breath. 😛 It is a fruit tart, and it is, if I do say so myself, magnificent!
A few weeks back, I needed to bake two or three items for a dessert auction in support of sending our church kids to camp. I wanted to make desserts that would be well-received, of course, in hopes that they’d garner a lot of support (ie, bids!). I queried my close friends and family, who are all well-familiar with my desserts, and the top vote-getter was a tie between this fruit tart and another recipe I’ll share later on. I made both for the auction, and while the other items that were bid on that night brought in anywhere from $10-$30 each (including my other dessert), this one–thanks in part to a pretty awesome sales job by yours truly–ended up going for $100! I felt like I’d won the dessert-auction lotto. 😉
So how do you make it? It’s actually pretty simple. You start with your favorite pie crust recipe. I have one, handed down from my mother, but it’s pretty special and I’ll save that for its own post. For now, you can either use your own, or, yes, even buy a pre-made one. (It’s okay; I won’t tell.) Roll the crust out and put it into a tart pan with a removable bottom.
I’m lucky enough to have such a pan (a gift from my husband years ago after I mentioned how much better this tart would be if I had a real tart pan). If you don’t have one–go buy one! No, just kidding. 😉 You can also use a spring-form pan, which is actually what the original recipe calls for. Or if you’re in a pinch, you can just use a pie plate. Once you put your crust in your desired pan, you then line it with tin foil, so that it drapes over the sides, and then you fill it with…beans!
Those are what I call my “pie beans.” They’re uncooked pinto beans that I just keep in a rubbermaid container and reuse again and again whenever I need a baked pie or tart shell. They hold the foil down so that the crust cooks nicely without rising up. It cooks that way for about 5 minutes at a very high temperature, and then you pull it out, remove the foil and beans, brush it with milk, and sprinkle a tablespoon of sugar on it.
After that, you cook it another 7-9 minutes, and it turns out beautifully!
For the filling, you mix up softened cream cheese (I use light cream cheese, also known as Neufchatel cheese), amaretto or milk (depends on if I’m serving it to kids, lol!), brown sugar, and finely chopped almonds that you’ve toasted ahead of time. After spreading that mixture on top of the cooled crust, you just start throwing your fruit on there, sprinkle a little sugar on it, and voila! A beautiful, delicious fruit tart.
I love this dessert because it’s so yummy and actually not that fattening. The pie crust is the most point-heavy part, but in my opinion, the crust is what makes it special. (Yes, I’m a carb girl, what can I say? 😉 ) If you use the light cream cheese and fat free milk, and cut it into 8 pieces (which actually are pretty big), it’s only 4 points for the filling, and then the pie crust can add another 2-3 points, depending on which recipe you use. (Mine is 3 points, but it’s full of Crisco and sugar, lol!) So for 6-7 points, you can have a delicious, filling dessert!
This is one of my most popular desserts, and well worth the expense even when fruit isn’t in season. It gets rave reviews whenever I make it, and it does taste wonderfully summer-y and light. Paired with a glass of your favorite white wine after dinner, it’s a pretty awesome ending to great summer party.
Hope you enjoy–if you decide to try it, come back and let me know if you like it!
Mixed Fruit Tart with Amaretto Crème
Recipe from Better Holmes and Gardens New Baking Book (c) 1998
1 pastry for a single crust pie (pre-made or homemade)
1 tbsp granulated sugar
1 8-oz package light cream cheese
1 3-oz package light cream cheese
½ c. amaretto or ¼ c. fat-free milk with ¼ tsp. almond extract
3 tbsp brown sugar
½ c. finely chopped almonds, toasted*
3-4 c. assorted fresh fruit
1 tbsp granulated sugar
1. On a lightly floured surface, roll pastry to an 11-inch circle and transfer to a 9-inch spring-form pan. Press pastry evenly onto the bottom and 1 inch up the sides of the pan. With the tines of a fork, generously prick sides and bottom. Line pastry shell in springform pan with a double thickness of foil.
2. Bake in a 450° F oven for 5 minutes. Remove the foil and brush the pastry with milk. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon granulated sugar. Bake for 7 to 9 minutes more or until pastry is golden brown. Completely cool pastry shell in pan on a wire rack.
3. In a small mixing bowl beat the cream cheese, amaretto, and brown sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Stir in the almonds. Spread the almond cream mixture evenly atop the cooled pastry.
4. Top almond cream mixture with the desired fruits. The ones I always use are: sliced strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, peaches, cantaloupe, red and green grapes, and sometimes kiwi. But you can use whatever fruit you want–and if you’re like me, on Weight Watchers, it’s all free! 😀
5. Remove sides of pan and bottom, if desired. I do, because it makes for a nicer picture. Sprinkle the fruit with the remaining 1 tablespoon sugar. Makes 8 servings.
*This book also gives a great tip for toasting nuts. Spread the nuts in a single layer of a shallow baking pan or sheet and cook at 350° until they are a light golden brown. It usually takes anywhere from 5-7 minutes, but I start looking at them after 2 minutes, because they burn fast, and it really just depends on your oven.
(This includes substituting milk for amaretto, and using light cream cheese and a Pillsbury Pie Crust.)