Monday, July 9, 2012

DIY almanac: Fresh berry and oat tart

I love berry season! Yum, these past few weeks I've been enjoying handfuls of plump and sweet Rainer and Bing Cherries and juicy strawberries from the farmers market, and raspberries picked plum off the canes in my backyard. This afternoon I felt inspired to bake a pie, but as I was out picking raspberries (and snarfing every third berry), I thought it'd be a shame to bake my berries and rob them of their fresh zing. With just a little bit of sugar and a crumbly oat crust, I tried to make these berries sing! Here's my super easy fresh berry and oat tart recipe:

2-3 cups rolled oats
1/4 cup almond meal (optional but definitely adds to the flavor)
1/4 cup butter (I used Earth Balance and it turned out great!)
A pinch of salt
4 tablespoons of sugar or honey (2 for the crust and 2 to sprinkle over your fruit)
An assortment of berries and cherries, pitted, washed and sliced (at least 3 pints worth)

Preheat your oven around 350 degrees Fahrenheit and lightly grease a baking pan or pie dish.

Using a food processor, process your oats into a fine meal and then mix all remaining dry ingredients (save for 2 tablespoons of sugar) in a bowl with a pastry blender until you achieve a nice crumbly crust. If you want to make your life super easy, forgo the pastry blender and mixing bowl and  process the oats, optional almond meal, butter, pinch of salt and 2 tablespoons of sugar all together until a crumbly soft dough develops. If you don't have a food processor, you could probably just use oats straight up for more of a granola-like crust. Anyway, once your dough is formed, press it evenly into the bottom and up the sides of your greased baking pan. Bake the crust for about 20 minutes, keeping an eye on it. When your crust is golden brown, bring it on out of the oven and let it cool for at least 15 minutes. Then, pour your fresh berries over the crust and sprinkle with the remaining sugar. Enjoy and keep chilled. I bet serving this with whipped cream or creme fraiche would take it over the top. So good!

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