The town over from where I grew up had a bakery that made a particular fruit tart. You know that kind I mean. The picture-perfect, glossy fruit tart with a thick and sweet pastry cream under the fruit. It made a regular version during the year, but on Passover it made a kosher-for-Passover version that was surprisingly delicious given the sad state of kosher-for-Passover desserts (I’m looking at you, macaroons in a can). We almost always had at least one during the holiday, at a Seder or for my brother’s birthday when it fell on Passover, and sometimes we had it more than once if people had not properly coordinated who would buy the fruit tart. And then at some point, the bakery disappeared. No more fruit tarts. My memory is that the owners disappeared to Florida and there was some scandal related to taxes, and while I’m not sure how much of that is true and how much is my tendency to embellish memories, I’m sticking with it. It’s just so much more intriguing to think the kosher bakers hightailed it to Florida to outrun the long arm of the law.
Besides, the details of why the bakery closed down isn’t really the issue. The issue is that there is no more kosher-for-passover fruit tart, or at least there is no more of that particular one. When I originally thought of doing a YearOfPie, I thought this would be my chance to make that pie. But fruit tart usually comes with a pastry cream filling, sandwiched between the crust and the fruit topping, and I couldn’t bring myself to make pastry cream or to pretend that it was worth making. Pastry cream requires a fair amount of time and attention to put together, since it needs to be carefully cooked until it will set firm when cooled, but is still lump free and not scorched. Add to that the fact that it mostly tastes like vanilla pudding, and it wasn’t worth the time to attempt it again.
But this is still a fruit tart. The filling is the stir-in-a-bowl kind instead of the watch-on-the-stove, and the crust is kosher-for-passover and therefore gluten-free (so trendy!). It’s not a replica of the bakery version, but I can’t guarantee I really remember what that tastes like at this point. I will say that this pie disappears when served, it takes about an hour of active time to put it together (less if you just buy a pre-baked crust, although it probably won’t be kosher for passover then), and it looks like a lot the kind your buy at the bakery. You can bring for dessert to this year’s seder and skip the dense brick of passover-friendly honey cake. What more could you really ask for?
- 1¾ cup almond meal/almond flour (I buy this at Trader Joe's)
- 5 tbs melted butter
- ¼ cup sugar
- ½ tsp salt
- 8 oz marscarpone cheese at room temperature (to make it easier to stir)
- ⅓ cup yogurt
- 2 tbs honey
- 2 tbs sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- About 2 cups of mixed sliced fruit and/or berries to decorate the top (some delicious combinations: strawberries and kiwi slices, mango slices and raspberries, peaches and toasted
- GREASE a tart pan with a removable lid (or just a plain old pan pan)
- COMBINE the almond meal, butter, sugar, and salt in a medium sized bowl until well combined.
- PRESS the almond mixture into the prepared pan. It is a bit sticky so it helps to grease your hands or the bottom of a glass when you're forming the crust. Sometimes I level off the sides and sometimes I leave them craggy and imperfect.
- CHILL the crust for about 30 minutes in the fridge (or half that time in the freezer). Dock the crust with a fork. Preheat the oven to 350 while the crust chills.
- BAKE the crust for 20 minutes or until it is golden brown. Let it cool to room temperature, at least an hour.
- When the crust is ready...
- WHISK softened marscarpone, yogurt, honey, sugar, vanilla, and salt in a large bowl until well incorporated, about 3-5 minutes. Do this by hand since using a machine will likely result in overbeaten-and-curdled marscapone. It doesn't take much effort to whisk it together.
- SPREAD the marscarpone filling into the almond crust to form an even layer. Top with your fruit of choice.
Serve the pie within a few hours of putting on the fruit, especially if you use sliced fruit. You can keep the crust-and-marscarpone filling in the fridge, covered, for a few days. And the baked crust can keep in the fridge for a few days or the freezer for up to ten days.