I was intrigued by the idea of a yogurt tart…and imagined something like a lighter ricotta pie or much lighter cheesecake. The recipe, from Baking With Julia, calls for berries, but also suggests other fruits such as stone fruits, apples, or pears. I found these plums at a local farmers’ market, perfectly ripe, on the day I was planning to bake. Although we’ve had some unseasonably warm weather and a lot of rain, I’m pretty sure plums aren’t in season here yet. But however these plums made it to the farmers’ market stand, I thought they’d be a good choice for this tart, and I was right.
The tart crust is a basic flaky pie dough made with butter and shortening that makes four crusts. Since I don’t do shortening, I used all butter and made half the recipe, for two crusts, saving one for another use. I also substituted whole wheat pastry flour for half of the all purpose flour.
I’ve noticed that most yogurt is now thickened with pectin, perhaps because of the popularity of Greek yogurt and the taste for a thicker textured yogurt. I’ve always liked moister yogurt and look for brands that don’t have added pectin. There are a couple of local producers that don’t thicken their yogurt, but all of the national brands seem to do so now. I bring this up, because for the filling I used a nonfat yogurt that did have pectin, and I thought that the resulting texture was a little thick and dry (although the plums helped to add juiciness.) Besides yogurt, the filling has eggs, sugar, flour, and vanilla. I’m thinking that the amount of flour can be reduced to account for a thicker yogurt.
I mentioned that the filling contains vanilla, actually a lot of vanilla – two tablespoons. Many dessert recipes, no matter the other flavors, have a teaspoon or so of vanilla added, and I’m not sure why, although there’s probably a good reason. I wasn’t crazy about the exaggerated vanilla flavor in this tart. I think some lemon zest or almond extract would have been more to my liking. Cinnamon might have been nice with the plums.
In the end, I had mixed reactions to this tart. I like the combination of buttery crust, creamy filling, tart and juicy plums, and crunchy toasted almonds. The filling didn’t quite make it for me, for the reasons mentioned above. I’d like to give it another try with either less flour or a pectin-less yogurt and different flavors. I refrigerated the leftover tart – my daughter and I each had a chilled slice the next day and preferred it cold.
The recipe is in the cookbook Baking With Julia. You can also read about other bakers’ experiences with this recipe on the website Tuesdays With Dorie/Baking With Julia.