You know how it goes… You find a dessert recipe somewhere, say in a magazine, and you instantly know you want to make it. When you do, it’s every bit as good as you thought it would be, maybe even better. You make it four or five times and everyone you serve it to raves about it. But then your attention is caught by something else, and before you know it, three, seven, ten years have gone by since you’ve made that recipe. That’s the story of my Raspberry-Creme Fraiche Tart (forgive me if I don’t go through the trouble of using the sexy French accents throughout this post, although they do add a certain je ne c’est quoi, non?).
This tart exemplifies springtime to me. It’s so elegant and pretty, and the fresh tang of the rich creme fraiche and the intense sweet flavour of the raspberries make you sigh with pleasure when you take that first bite. Recently I was hosting lunch for five girlfriends getting together to celebrate two spring birthdays, and right away this tart sprang to mind even though I hadn’t made it in at least ten years – this was the dessert for our party!
For a couple of years at the beginning of the millennium I used to buy Bon Appétit magazine, and loved it. Almost every issue had recipes I wanted to try. In fact, despite the fact that I’ve moved house five times since then, I still have a big stack of them. Yes, I’ve carted them around with me all this time, so you know how much I like them! This recipe comes from the June 2000 issue.
I don’t know about where you live, but in my area it’s no easy task to find creme fraiche (with or without the accents). And, on at least two occasions when I’ve found it, it was spoiled. I don’t know what that’s about. But, on the morning that my friends were to arrive at 11:00, I opened my sealed, prior-to-its-best-before-date container to find mould. Horrors! The shop I’d found it at was too far away, so I went online and discovered that I could substitute a mixture of half sour cream, half whipping cream instead. Thank you, internet. I jumped in the car and charged off to my local grocery store, and got home in plenty of time to have this tart displayed on the counter when my friends arrived. (Yes, it’s pretty easy to make.)
Really, it you saw this on the counter when you arrived somewhere for lunch, would you be skimping on the main course to leave room for dessert? I think I just might.
Raspberry Crème Fraîche Tart
from Bon Appétit magazine, June 2000
Place a baking sheet in the bottom of the oven and pre-heat it to 375º. Wrap the outside of an 11-inch tart pan with a removable bottom with foil.
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 3/4 cup + 2 tbsp sugar (divided)
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 4 large eggs (divided)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract (divided)
- 1 cup flour
- 3/4 cup creme fraiche (or substitute equal parts of whipping cream and sour cream*)
- fresh or frozen raspberries, about 1-1/2 cups
- powdered sugar (optional)
Cream butter, 1/2 cup of the sugar and salt in a large bowl (I use my mixer for this). Add 3 eggs and 1/2 tsp of the vanilla and beat until smooth. Add the flour and beat until just blended. Spread the batter around the bottom of the pan, drawing it a half-inch up the sides of the pan, creating a well in the centre. Try to make a nice even edge, as narrow as possible. As you might tell from the pictures, I was working in a hurry and didn’t finesse this to my satisfaction, but it still tasted good!
To make the filling, (I use the same mixing bowl, no need to wash it or the beater) beat another 1/4 cup sugar, 1 egg, the remaining vanilla and the creme fraiche until well blended. Carefully pour this custard in the well of the batter and spread until even.
Here’s where you get to go all artsy: arrange the raspberries about 1/4 inch apart. I start in the centre and work my way around in more or less concentric circles. Or, go crazy and just put them on randomly. Really, it’s your tart! As an aside, I’ve always used frozen raspberries in this recipe and they work just fine.
Finally, sprinkle the last 2 tbsp of sugar over the top of the tart, and put it in the oven on the rack above the baking tray. (Did you remember about the baking tray?) Bake until the tart is set and brown around the edges, about 45 minutes. Cool, then remove it from the side ring of the pan. I sometimes need to work around it with a thin knife to help it loosen. If you like, dust with powdered sugar before serving. This is also very pretty served with some raspberry coulis attractively presented on the plate. Given my last-minute trip to the store, I didn’t have time for such artistry but when I’ve done this in the past the reception of such flair is certainly worth the effort!
In my experience, this tart doesn’t keep well longer than a day. And, assuming you have leftovers in the first place, they’re not likely to last longer than a day anyway!
Note, the recipe says you can make this one day ahead and, once cooled, cover loosely with foil and refrigerate. It also suggests serving at room temperature, so take it out a bit ahead of time.