There's something about the seedy, nutty flavor of poppy seeds that the hubs and I both go crazy for. They add a tiny little crunch and great savory flavor to any baked good. Be it in bagels, muffins, cookies or pies, they are often sprinkled into our favorite dishes to take the flavor to the next level.
Tarts are one of my favorite summertime desserts. A light crunchy crust crust and fruity flavors are perfect for those hot days when you want a sweet treat without it being too heavy. They can be prepared in advance, served at room temp and can stand up to heat at a picnic. Perfect. And this lemony, fruity little bite of heaven has pleased many a palate at summer cookouts.
And to top it all off, it is low fat. Yes, you read that correctly - guilt free eating here, folks.
So first, let's discuss this crust. The glorious, beautiful, foundation that is truly the star in this dish. Here, I use a shortbread press-in crust that is filled with poppy seeds. It is a buttery, slightly sweet and crumbly crust that is so good to crunch into, I can hardly stand it. I'm probably going to make cookies out of the crust and be perfectly happy. And the poppy seeds are legen...(waitforit)...dary here. Their subtle texture and nutty flavor takes shortbread to a whole new level. And thanks to light butter, you have half the fat with all the flavor. Love it.
Next we have the filling. Now most custard fillings call for cream, butter, eggs, extra yolks and a ton of sugar. Delicious, but not the healthiest ingredient list. However, I pulled inspiration from a Rosemary Lemon Tart that used greek yogurt as its base. I took it a step further and cut out extra sugar by using sweetened vanilla. The result is a low-sugar, low-fat filling with so much flavor, you forget that you're eating healthy. No one can ever believe that the filling is yogurt based, so I take particular pleasure in the exclamations of surprise that always follow that announcement.
Food can be fun on so many levels.....
Blackberries are the perfect fruit to finish this dish. With the buttery, crispy crust and tart, creamy filling, their subtle sweetness and juicy texture finish this off perfectly without overpowering the other flavors going on below. They add a wonderful little burst of fruity flavor, resulting in a wonderfully balanced dessert.
You can make this the day before if you like, and just hold off on topping with the blackberries until a few hours before serving so the juices don't bleed into the lemon custard. But this tart is so good, believe me when nobody will turn up their nose for a little faux pas like that. (And if they do, you get to eat more of it....yay you!)
Blackberry Lemon Tart with Poppy Seed Crust (serves 8-10)
- 1 1/4 c all-purpose flour
- 6 tbs sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 c light butter
- 2 tbs poppy seeds
- 1 egg yolk
- 4 oz vanilla fat-free greek yogurt
- 1/2 tsp lemon zest
- 2 1/2 tbs lemon juice
- 1/4 tsp splenda
- 1 egg
- 1 c blackberries
To make the crust, combine flour, sugar and salt in a food processor or large bowl and mix together. Add butter and poppy seeds, then either pulse or mix until you have a coarse, crumby mixture, a little smaller than peas. Add the egg yolk and mix together with a spatula until the dough comes together in a ball. Chill for 10-15 minutes.
While dough is chilling, preheat oven to 400 degrees and prep your two-piece tart pan for baking. Grease by wiping with your butter wrapper and then lightly dust pans with flour, tapping out any excess. Remove dough from the refrigerator and press evenly into prepared pan. Cover the edges with tin foil or a pie crust guard and place in oven. Bake for 18-20 minutes, removing the guard halfway through. Remove and let cool for 10 minutes while you make the filling. Reduce oven heat to 325.
For the filling, combine yogurt, lemon zest, lemon juice, splenda and egg in a small bowl and whisk together well. (The filling should be tart very tart, but the flavor balances out with the sweet crust and blackberries.) Pour into slightly cooled crust and bake for 12-15 minutes until center is set and edges slightly jiggle when the pan is moved. Remove and let cool completely.
To finish, cut your blackberries in half lengthwise. To reduce bleeding into lemon custard, place cut-side down on a paper towel after halving as you cut. Arrange cut-side down on top of the custard in the pattern of your choosing. Garnish with additional lemon zest.