Food & Drink

Smart tart move: Use yogurt for the base

Berry Tart With Honey-Yogurt Filling.
Berry Tart With Honey-Yogurt Filling. Dixie D. Vereen/The Washington Post

This scrumptious dessert has everything you expect from a summer tart: a buttery crust, a creamy center and a crown of colorful berries. As tarts tend to be, it’s an ideal ending for an alfresco dinner or a treat with an iced tea in the afternoon. But this one also has another thing going for it: It’s better for you.

The main healthful twist is its filling. Instead of the typical custard, it’s made with yogurt that has been strained to achieve a custardlike creaminess. It’s simple to do. Before Greek yogurt was widely available (a mere 10 years ago, if you can believe it), I frequently made my own by straining regular yogurt. Here, you start with Greek yogurt and thicken it further by straining it to get an ultra-thick filling.

The yogurt is flavored with honey and a bright kick of lemon zest, then spread in a graham cracker crust – also is a notch more healthful than most crusts because it involves less butter. The tart is topped with a variety of plump summer berries.

Altogether, the recipe requires sitting time but very little effort, qualifying it as the perfect make-ahead treat for a relaxed summer day.

Berry Tart With Honey-Yogurt Filling

When you make this in a 9-inch pie plate, the tart will not fill it to the rim. An 8-inch tart pan can also be used.

2 cups plain nonfat Greek-style yogurt

9 rectangular graham cracker sheets (4.8 ounces total)

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1/8 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons water

2 tablespoons honey

3/4 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

4 large strawberries, quartered, or 8 small strawberries, halved

3/4 cup blueberries

3/4 cup raspberries

Line a fine-mesh strainer with paper towels and set the strainer over a bowl. Place the yogurt in in the strainer and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight. Transfer the thickened yogurt to a bowl, and discard the liquid that drained off.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Pulse the graham crackers in a food processor to the consistency of fine crumbs. The yield should be about 1 1/3 cups. Add the butter, salt and water; pulse until the crumbs are evenly moistened.

Grease a 9-inch round pie dish (not deep-dish) or 8-inch tart pan with cooking oil spray. Use your fingers to press the crumb mixture into a pie plate or tart pan, including a bit up the sides. Bake until browned, 9 or 10 minutes. (It’s OK if it cracks.) Cool completely.

Stir the honey and lemon zest into the yogurt. Spread it gently in the cooled crust so you don’t break up the crust or drag crumbs.

Arrange the berries on top. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to 1 day.

Per serving: 180 calories, 7 g protein, 24 g carbohydrates, 6 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 10 mg cholesterol, 140 mg sodium, 2 g dietary fiber, 14 g sugar

Yield: 8 servings.