Fresh Berry Tart with Hazelnut Graham Cracker Crust Recipe

Wow those around your table with this showstopping, yet approachable, fresh fruit tart
Fresh Berry Tart with Hazelnut Graham Cracker Crust

Photo Terry Brennan, Food Styling Lara Miklasevics

Get everyone’s attention at the Memorial Day weekend picnic and upcoming barbecues throughout the season with this showstopping fresh fruit tart. With a crunchy, nutty crust and dreamy not-too-sweet filling, this pretty tart is a great way to showcase the freshest summer berries, says culinary instructor and cookbook author Molly Stevens, who created this recipe for Real Food. You can use all one type of berry or mix and match different berries and get creative arranging them in a colorful pattern. A sprinkle of powdered sugar on top before serving can also add a little zhuzh.

Fresh Berry Tart with Hazelnut Graham Cracker Crust

Makes 1 (9-inch) tart, 8 Servings

For the Crust
½ cup hazelnuts, lightly toasted
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 cup graham cracker crumbs (see Cook’s Notes)
1 large egg white
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Pinch salt

For the Filling
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
¼ cup sour cream
¼ cup lightly packed brown sugar, light or dark
Finely grated zest from 1 lime (about 1 teaspoon)
¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Pinch salt
2-3 cups fresh berries, such as blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries (see Cook’s Notes)

Special equipment: 9-inch removable-bottom tart pan

  1. Arrange a rack near the center of your oven and heat the oven to 325°F.
  2. For the crust: Combine the hazelnuts and granulated sugar in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Add the graham cracker crumbs and grind until fine.
  3. Whisk the egg white in a medium mixing bowl until smooth. Add the crumb mixture, melted butter, and salt, and combine with a flexible spatula until the mixture looks like wet sand. Transfer to a 9-inch removable-bottom tart pan and press the crumbs into an even layer and 1/2 inch up the sides of the pan. Set the pan on a baking sheet and bake until dry and slightly darker around the edges, about 10 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack.
  4. For the filling: Beat together the cream cheese, sour cream, brown sugar, lime zest, vanilla, and salt on low speed with an electric hand mixer or standing mixer.
  5. When the crust is completely cool, spoon the filling into the crust and spread it evenly. Arrange the berries over the filling, pressing lightly so they set in. Chill for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours (see Cook’s Notes). Cut into wedges and serve.

Cook’s Notes
• To toast the nuts, place on a small baking sheet and toast in a 325°F oven or toaster oven until fragrant and lightly browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool completely before grinding.
• If making your own graham cracker crumbs, you’ll need 8 full graham crackers.
• To press the crust into the tart pan, use the bottom of a metal measuring cup to tamp it into an even layer.
• When topping with the berries, you can either be conservative, letting the creamy filling show through or you can pile them on. It’s up to you.
• Make ahead note: Any fresh berries will work here, and it’s fun to combine shapes and colors. If using larger berries, like strawberries, that need to be sliced, serve the tart within 2 hours of making, otherwise the berry juices may start to run. You can also fill the tart with the cream cheese filling ahead, and top with berries just before serving.

Nutrition (per serving, with strawberries): Calories: 330, Fat: 23g (Sat: 10g), Cholesterol: 45mg, Sodium: 250mg, Carb: 28g, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 17g, Protein: 5g

Mary Subialka is the editor of Real Food and Drinks magazines, covering the flavorful world of food, wine, and spirits. She rarely meets a chicken she doesn’t like, and hopes that her son, who used to eat beets and Indian food as a preschooler, will one day again think of real food as more than something you need to eat before dessert and be inspired by his younger brother, who is now into trying new foods.