Credit: Stevesworldofphotos on flickr / Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic

As a Canadian, I adore the American spirit. Having friends and family that reside south of the border has afforded me a chance to partake in a few US holidays. 

Every year I try to celebrate two Thanksgivings and two National Days.

I'd squeeze in something for a national British day, but there isn't one. Though there are two-day parties on Canada's east coast during St. Patrick's Day festivities.

Naturally, when I get invited into the homes of my American friends, I bring along some type of dessert. I've never used artificial colours to make "patriotic" desserts red, white, and/or blue. Blah. I figure fresh fruit (in those colours) is healthier.

So I thought I'd offer up my semi-world famous recipe for a vanilla cream tart that you can dress up with any fruit you want.

Feeling Multicultural? Go For It

Making a fruit tart
Credit: Joy (joyosity on flickr) / Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

Gluten-Free Tart Crust

After trying out about a dozen tart crust recipes over the years, none has impressed me more than the Gluten-Free Almond Tart or Pie Crust Recipe[1] by Jen Hoy.

I use high quality extra virgin olive oil in mine. Also, you can substitute almond meal for almond flour (or any nut flour) or create a crust with any combination of those.

Making a fruit tartCredit: Joy (joyosity on flickr) / Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 GenericIngredients:

1.5 cups almond meal or flour
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp. sea salt
3 tbsp. high quality extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp. water
1 tbsp. maple syrup
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
Ensure oven racks are adjusted so tart crust will be centered in your oven and preheat to 350 F (175 C).
In a med-large bowl, thoroughly combine dry ingredients, breaking up any lumps that form.
In a small bowl, mix together the wet ingredients and pour all over the dry mixture. Use a rubber spatula to combine until everything is incorporated.
Place dough in a 9 or 10-inch tart or pie pan and flatten it all out to cover both the bottom and sides of the pan (as evenly as you can). I use the spatula first and then my hands and fingertips. 
Place pan on a cookie sheet and bake it for 18 - 25 minutes (or until light brown). Don't let it get too dark. Allow it to cool completely before filling it.
NB: If par-baking crust, pull it out after 8 - 10 mins, let it cool slightly and then fill it (pumpkin pie filling, for example) and then pop it back into the oven (as long as your recipe suggests).

Rose's Low-Fat Creamy Tart Filling

I adapted my recipe from one by Christinibeanie on Allrecipes titled Pastry Cream.[2] I especially like her version since it required the least number of eggs and no heavy cream. However, to make it taste just as rich and creamy, I use unsweetened evaporated milk instead and added a bit more sugar.

Homemade Lime Tart CurdCredit: snowpea&bokchoi on flickr / Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 GenericIngredients:

2 cups unsweetened evaporated milk (whole or 2%)  I use 1.5 cans (12 fl. oz. each) of Carnation evaporated milk
2/3 cup white sugar (divided)
2 egg yolks
1 egg
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 tbsp. butter (at room temperature preferably)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
In a thick-bottomed saucepan, over medium heat, stir evaporated milk and 1/3 cup sugar together until liquid begins to boil. Remove from heat.
In a medium bowl, thoroughly combine the other half of the sugar (1/3 cup) with cornstarch. In a small bowl, whisk together 1 egg and 2 egg yolks and add to the sugar-cornstarch mix. Combine well.
Scrape medium bowl mixture into the saucepan (with the milky-sugar liquid) and stir constantly. Resume to cook it over medium heat while stirring. When it just begins to boil, remove from heat but keep stirring to thicken it (about 1 minute). Add butter and vanilla and combine well.
Store creamy tart filling in a heat-resistant ceramic or glass bowl and in the fridge while you prepare your fruit. TIP: If you put plastic wrap directly on the surface of the filling it will prevent a "skin" from forming.

Top with Berries and/or Fruit

I read an excellent article on June 15th, 2014 in the Huffington Post by Alison Spiegel titled A Definitive Guide To All The Berries You Want To Eat This Summer.[3] For my patriotic tarts, here are the key points:

StrawberriesCredit: US Department of Agriculture on flickr / Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 GenericStrawberries:

  • Strawberries don't ripen after being picked, so forget the white or greenish ones
  • You can store them for up to 2 days in the fridge
  • Wash them just prior to eating or using them in a recipe


  • RaspberriesCredit: Liz West (Muffet on flickr) / Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 GenericThe best ones are picked mid-summer
  • Choose raspberries with a deep red colour (and no mushy or moldy ones)
  • Store for up to 3 days in the fridge and wash just before consuming them


  • Peak season in North America is mid-June to mid-August
  • BlueberriesCredit: Ida (mustetahra on flickr) / Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 GenericLook for firm, deep bluish-purple ones with a frosty polish on their skin (no broken or crushed ones)
  • Blueberries can be stored for up to 5 days in the fridge (in their original container). Or you can store them in a sealed container (provided you removed any crushed ones) in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.[4]
  • Again, don't wash blueberries until you intend to use or consume them

Using Kiwi?

The Best Way to Peel a Kiwi (Spoon Method):

Chicago Metallic Non-Stick 10-Inch Quiche Pan

Chicago Metallic Non-Stick 10-Inch Quiche Pan RoseWrites 2014-06-15 5.0 0 5

Chicago Metallic Non-Stick 10-Inch Quiche Pan

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Chicago Metallic Non-Stick 10-Inch Quiche Pan
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I highly recommend the Chicago tart (or quiche pan) since the edges are not sharp. And I prefer 10-inches since I'm less likely to have fruit juices spill out over the edges (as often occurs with 9-inch pie pans). Chicago pans are commercial quality and have a solid, heavy duty feel to them. It's ideal to have bottomless pans so you can lift out the entire tart. Then just cut and serve each piece flawlessly.