No 4th of July BBQ is complete without a tasty dessert, and the combination of lemon French yogurt cake, vanilla bean pastry cream, and fresh berries is hard to beat.
The handy thing about garnishing cute little individual tarts with fresh berries is that they are amazingly beautiful and look like you slaved in the kitchen for hours to complete - which is rarely ever the case. That being said, I'm ever the fan of delicious eats that look impressive and are in actuality so easy a trained chimp could make them.
The cake itself is a variation on Ina Garten's Lemon Yogurt Cake - tweaked a little bit to cut the fat. It's very easy to make and packs a refreshing lemony flavor.
As you're celebrating the 4th today remember to be safe. And please, take a moment to think about the men and women who have sacrificed so much, and those who continue to do so, to keep our country safe and secure.
Happy 4th of July!
Lemon-Vanilla Bean & Berry Tarts
Lemon Yogurt Cake
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup greek/plain, strained yogurt
1 1/3 cups sugar
3 jumbo eggs
zest of 2 lemons
1/2 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
1/4 cup canola oil
1/3 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
Preheat oven to 350 F
Grease and line a rimmed half-sheet pan (jelly roll pan) with parchment paper. Set aside. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. In a separate bowl whisk together yogurt, 1 cup sugar, eggs, zest, and vanilla bean seeds. Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet. Using a rubber spatula fold the oil into the batter until it is fully incorporated. Pour batter into the prepared sheet pan and bake 10-12 minutes, or until cake tester comes out clean. Meanwhile, cook the remaining 1/3 cup sugar and 1/3 cup lemon juice in a small saucepan over medium heat until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear. Set aside and cool. When the cake comes out of the oven, allow to cool for ten minutes. Brush the top of the cake with the lemon syrup and allow to soak in.
Vanilla Bean Pastry Cream
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch
2 egg yolks
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3 cups nonfat milk
1 vanilla bean
Place a fine-mesh sieve over a medium bowl; set aside. In a medium saucepan (off heat), whisk together sugar, cornstarch, egg yolks and salt. Gradually whisk in milk (1 tablespoon at a time to start) until smooth. Split vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape out seeds with the tip of a paring knife; add seeds and pod to milk mixture. Cook over medium-high, whisking occasionally, until the first bubbles appear on surface; continue to cook, whisking constantly, for 1 minute more. Pour pudding through prepared sieve into bowl; discard solids. Place plastic wrap directly on entire surface of pudding to keep skin from forming. Refrigerate until cold, at least 2 hours, and up to 3 days. To serve, whisk just until smooth.
Using a 2 3/4 - 3 in. round cookie cutter cut out 24 rounds from the lemon cake. Using a pastry bag or a small spoon top 1 round with a tablespoon or so of the pastry cream, top with a second round of cake, and place another tablespoon of pastry cream on top. Garnish with berries and mint sprigs as desired. Repeat until all twelve are assembled. Devour at will.
There's no break down on nutritional content for these - mainly because I can't get it exact enough to be comfortable enough to give a specific number. From what I've gleaned they're about 225-250 calories per tart though.