You know how sometimes you land upon a recipe that just has some sort of magic combination of ingredients, and it turns into a family favorite that you make over and over again? This is that recipe. I have made this tart every summer since I discovered it, and I've been tinkering with the recipe until I got it just the way I like it. It's probably the most requested recipe I have, so its about time it went up on the 'ol blog, wouldn't you say?
BTW, I generally adapt recipes from other sources, but this crust recipe is all me! The original called for a graham cracker crust, and when I first started making this gluten-free graham crackers were not available (they are now). That's ok though, because I like this crust way better than a the graham cracker crust, and so does everyone else! There just something special about the nutty almond flour (and this crust) that really brings this dessert up to a whole new level.
And of course, you must make the filling. It is not optional. Do not use something else. This filling is THE BEST THING EVER. It makes pastry cream feel like an ugly stepsister crying in the corner. It's like, as good as cheesecake, but with none of the work. I promise, if you make this, you will never want to use pastry cream again (ok, ok, you might use it again, but you will like this better).
Fresh Berry Tartlets with Creamy Vanilla Bean Filling
makes 1 large tart, or 4-5 individual tartlets
I topped these with raspberries, strawberries, and blueberries because that's what was in season, and it looked cute for our 4th of July barbecue, but you can really make these any time of year and use whatever fruit or combination of fruits are fresh and in season. I have made it with peaches and raspberries, cherries, apricots, blackberries, and I bet it would taste great with poached pears, quince, or other fall fruits.
I used to make this as one large tart, but that was always a struggle for me, because as pretty as it looks when you are done making it, it turns into a real mess when you try to cut it up. One I did it as individual tartlets, I was sold: They are just so cute, and they don't fall apart when you slice them into individual portions.
For the Crust
3/4 cup almond flour
1 cup flour (you can use regular flour if gluten is not an issue, or an all purpose gluten-free mix, or yout favorite combination of gluten free flours. For this recipe I use 1/2 a cup sweet rice flour, and 1/2 a cup oat flour)
1 tbs xanthum gum
1/2 a cup (1 stick) butter, melted
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
For the cream cheese vanilla bean filling
8 oz (one stick) cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup heavy cream, room temperature
1 Vanilla Bean, halved and scraped, or 1 tsp Vanilla Bean Paste
1/4 cup white sugar
For the topping
2 cups fresh fruit
optional: warmed jam for especially sour fruits, brushed over the top
1. Make the crust: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Whisk together almond flour and other flour(s), xanthum gum, and sugars. Pour melted butter into flour, and mix with a wooden spoon until evenly distributed through the flour. Press into tart shell, and bake 15 - 20 minutes, until golden. Remove from the oven, and cool completely.
2. Make the filling: In a stand mixer, beat cream cheese until soft, 2-3 minutes. Add in vanilla, sugar, and cream. Mix on low until incorporated, then beat on high until cream is light and fluffy. Scrape into cooled tart shell, and top with fruit. If the fruit you have chosen is especially sour, feel free to brush some warmed jam over it. Enjoy!