The Julie/Julia Project chronicled the adventures of Julie
Powell as she attempted to cook her way through Julia Child’s
“Mastering the Art of French Cooking” in one
year. I lack the ambition and time to do something like this
but I have always loved Julia Child (“bon appetite!”) since my
childhood growing up in BC. TV in BC was grim back in the
day. Two Canadian Channels (plus one independent American
channel when you were lucky!) that only broadcast in the morning
(think early PBS) and after 4:00pm. When other kids
were watching “Bewitched” all I had was the test pattern.
Julia and the Galloping Gourmet were staples of morning
programming, along with Mr Dressup. I can remember being inspired by her
enthusiasm for life and the “exotic” recipes she was making.
We lived a nice rural, meat-and-potatoes life and the notion
of an “Omelet Party” was so far out of the realm of my experience,
so cosmopolitan, as to be unbelievable. The fact that many of
them were “French” also made them vaguely suspicious
and seditious because the tension between Quebec and the
rest of Canada pervaded much of my childhood as well.
Like many formative experiences, you had to be
there…anyhow…back to Julia.
I was junkin’ and found a copy of “Baking with Julia” which is based on the
series of the same name about the same time as Julie and
Julia hit the big screens. It wasn’t quite the same but I
was inspired to buy it anyhow. It contains lots of wonderful
recipes – and my current favorite is her Yogurt Tart. The
narrative with the recipe signs the praises of the delicate vanilla
flavor and tasty custard. Now that I have to deal with four
gallons of milk a day to deal with I am making lots of yogurt and
cheese. I strain the yogurt and make this recipe with a
Greek-style yogurt which results in a dense cheesecake-y custard.
I also omit the added fruit, preferring to top with berries
or fruit and make it with a graham cracker crust. It is a the
perfect dessert for a spring or summer meal (assuming the summer
EVER arrives for us!)
- pie dough, well chilled ( or pastry, enough to line a 9″ round cake pan or 9″ round springform pan, at least 1 1/2″ deep
- 3 large eggs
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 cups plain nonfat yogurt
- 2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries, raspberries, mixed berries, sliced peaches, plums, nectarines
- 1/3 cup coarsely chopped toasted almonds
- confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
- Working on a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a 12″ circle 1/8 to 1/4″ thick; Fit into the pan, pressing against bottom and up the sides; Trim to 1/2″ and crimp edges; Chill about 30 minute.
- Fit a round of parchment or wax paper or aluminum foil into bottom of the crust, fill with dried beans, rice or pie weights; Blind bake crust 20-25 minutes in a 400* oven, until set and lightly browned.
- Remove weights and liner; Cool to room temperature on a rack and lower oven to 325*.
- Beat the eggs and sugar together until they thicken slightly and turn pale, 2-3 minutes.
- Fold in yogurt and vanilla, mix just until blended.
- Gradually add the flour through a sifter, folding it in gently.
- Pour the yogurt filling into the cooled tart shell, smoothing the top; the filling will only come about 2/3’s of the way to the top.
- Scatter the fruit over the top of the tart; it will push the filling to the top of the crust.
- Sprinkle with chopped nuts around the edge of the tart.
- Place tart on jelly roll pan to catch drips and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until top is golden
- Transfer to rack and cool to room temperature.
- Unmold tart; Serve at room temperature, or chilled if desired; sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar.
Serve the same day as baked; cover and refrigerate. 1 1/2 times the recipe makes enough for a 9×13 pan. Perfect for a potluck!