I watch the azalea blooms melt and dry in the sun; collect long asparagus stalks that seemingly grow 12 inches overnight. Pull grass roots out from around the new delicata squash sprouts. Make plans for flower beds yet to be planted. Rooted. Sinking into this mountain life and simultaneously growing big eyes for adventures yet to be had. I find myself nervously baking chocolate cookies to calm myself in the face of last minute photography gigs and writing deadlines. I throw together the ingredients for ice cream — cashews, coconut milk, maple syrup, cold brew coffee — and crank the machine while dinner is simmering. It takes my mind away from the bigness of life as its coming at me. Raspberries and rhubarb meld over heat as I spin up a quick crust and stir honey together with yogurt. The process is as much soul food as the product.
Jam and yogurt and an almond crust. These little tarts, to me, are bright, enlivening, spunky, joyful. They taste like soft Spring bursting into Summer. They’re a gentle reminder of the simple pleasures of hot days turned into cool, rainy evenings, of the smell of honeysuckle permeating the air, of collecting berries with bare hands.
There’s something about berries and yogurt that reminds me of childhood Summers. As a child of the beach and rural South East Virginia I have intense memories of road side stands piled high with strawberries and corn and melons. And eating dusty peaches with the sun setting behind infinite rows of sunflowers. Spring was quiet afternoons sitting on the dunes, watching my brother and dad fish. Summer was bicycles, popsicles, the janky local arcade, ice cream sandwiches, walking barefoot in the market to browse the squirt-gun section, boogie boards, sand in everything, and the yogurt and berry smoothies my dad used to make for us. I’m idealizing, I admit. It wasn’t all smiles and sherbet. Other than dealing with the occasional kid-drama, it was pretty damn great.
The first bite into these tarts is jammy, tangy-sweet. The yogurt gets a bit icey, along the lines of a popsicle, which I personally love. It cools you right down after the heat of the day. I like to let them melt a bit so that the little slices melt together in my mouth.
- 2 cups raspberries (I used frozen)
- 1.5 cups chopped rhubarb
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- ⅛ cup best quality rose or white wine
- 1.5 cups almond meal
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 3 dates, pitted
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup (or honey)
- 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- *optional: ½ teaspoon ground black cardamom
- pinch sea salt
- 1 cup yogurt (I used goat, but for a vegan version coconut yogurt works well! Just be aware that if your vegan yogurt is sweetened you may want to omit sweeteners in the yogurt filling entirely.)
- 2 tablespoons honey (more or less to your liking)
- ½ vanilla bean, scraped of its seeds
- Fresh raspberries, to top
- In a wide sauce pan, combine the raspberries, rhubarb, maple syrup, and wine.
- Cook for 10-15 minutes on medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the rhubarb has broken down and melted into the jam completely.
- Cook 2 minutes more to gently reduce the jam.
- Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.
- In a food processor fitted with an S blade, combine the almond meal, coconut oil, dates, maple syrup, cocoa powder, and cardamom.
- Blend until the mix starts to come together into a pliable dough.
- Empty the dough out onto your work surface and mold it into a ball.
- Separate the ball into three equal portions.
- Press each portion of dough evenly into the bottoms and sides of three 4.75" tart pans with removable bottoms (or mason jar tops, etc.). Set aside.
- In a small mixing bowl, combine the yogurt, honey, and vanilla bean seeds evenly until the seeds are well distributed in the yogurt.
- Pour the yogurt evenly into each crust.
- Spoon dollops of the raspberry rhubarb jam into the centers of each tart. You'll have some jam left-over to spread on toast or reserve for other projects.
- Freeze the tarts for at least 3 hours up to overnight. If hard-frozen, let thaw 5 minutes before unmolding from the tart pans, topping with fresh raspberries, and cutting into slices as you like.
- I like to cut them into 8 mini slices and eat each slice with a couple of berries.