It's all about the fruit, baby. These luscious, best-of-summer tarts showcase perfectly ripe fruits at their seasonal peak, with simple crusts and flavors that keep the sweet fruits at center stage. The recipes are versatile, so be creative: Find the best produce available, then have fun combining it with different crusts and flavor enhancements. Whether you make one of these tarts for a party or an at-home treat, you'll enjoy the glorious taste of summer in every bite.

Fresh Cherry Tart with Cocoa Crust
Serves 12 / A fruit-filled treat for chocolate lovers. Prep tips: Try this with ripe, fresh, sliced plums, too. Use canola instead of coconut oil if you prefer.

Cocoa Crust:
1/3 cup date sugar
1 1/4 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
2 tablespoons packed cocoa powder
1/3 cup coconut oil
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Filling:
1 1/2 pounds fresh Bing cherries, pitted
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon Citrus Glaze (left), warmed Mint leaves, for garnish

1. In a food processor, combine sugar, flour, cocoa, oil, and salt. Process 15—20 seconds, until mixture looks like wet sand. While machine is running, add egg whites and vanilla extract; process until mixture forms a ball. Press into a 10-inch tart or springform pan and 1 inch up the sides. Freeze for 20 minutes, then bake at 350° for 20—25 minutes.

2. While crust is baking, place cherries in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook for about 5 minutes or until juices begin to release. Cool.

3. Melt chocolate and canola oil in a bowl over simmering water. Stir until smooth, remove from heat, and stir in vanilla extract. Spread over hot crust.

4. Beginning at the outside edge, place cherries in a circular pattern, packing them closely together. Brush with glaze. Garnish and serve.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving:
Calories: 227 calories
% fat calories: 46
Fat: 13g
Saturated Fat: 8g
Cholesterol: 0mg
Protein: 3g
Carbohydrate: 29g
Fiber: 3g
Sodium: 34mg

Peach Melba Tart
Serves 12 / Use this basic crust recipe for any tart; feel free to add your favorite spices or other flavorful additions. This makes one 9- or 10-inch crust, or six 4-inch tartlet shells. Prep tips: If you prefer a softer, shortbreadlike crust, substitute an egg yolk for the water. You'll find lauric acid—rich coconut oil in the baking aisle; canola oil makes a fine substitute.

Crust:
1/4 cup date sugar
1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup almond flour
1/3 cup coconut oil
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons water
1/4 teaspoon lemon juice

Filling:
1/2 pound fresh peaches
1/2 cup Yogurt Cream
6 ounces fresh raspberries
2 tablespoons Citrus Glaze, warmed

1. In a food processor, combine sugar, flours, coconut oil, and salt. Process 15—20 seconds, until mixture looks like wet sand. While machine is running, add water and lemon juice; process until mixture forms a ball. Press into a 10-inch tart or springform pan and 1/2 inch up the sides. (If making ahead, wrap in foil and freeze.)

2. Preheat oven to 400°. Place tart pan on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and prick with a fork. Bake 5—10 more minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely on a rack before using.

3. Bring 4 cups water to a boil. Make a thin, X-shaped slit in the bottom of each peach. Submerge peaches in boiling water for 30—60 seconds, then remove and immediately plunge into ice water. When cool, remove skins. Thinly slice peaches.

4. When crust is cool, remove pan sides and place on a serving plate. Spread with Yogurt Cream. Arrange peach slices and raspberries in alternating rings. Brush with glaze.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving:
Calories: 168 calories
% fat calories: 48
Fat: 9g
Saturated Fat: 6g
Cholesterol: 1mg
Protein: 2g
Carbohydrate: 20g
Fiber: 3g
Sodium: 31mg

Tropical Tarts with Coconut Crust
Serves 10 / If you love ginger, this one's for you, especially if you use the greater amount. Ingredient tip: Look for high-fiber coconut flour in the baking section of your natural market.

Coconut Crust:
1/4 cup date sugar
1/3 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
3 tablespoons coconut flour
1 cup unsweetened grated dried coconut
1/3 cup coconut oil
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons water
1/4 teaspoon lemon juice

Filling:
1/2 cup Yogurt Cream
1/2-1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1 fresh mango, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1 cup fresh pineapple, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1 kiwi, peeled, cut crosswise into 1/8-inch slices
2 tablespoons Citrus Glaze, warmed Edible pansies, for garnish


1. In a food processor, combine sugar, flours, grated coconut, coconut oil, and salt. Process 15—20 seconds, until mixture looks like wet sand. While machine is running, add water and lemon juice; process until mixture forms a ball. Press into individual tartlet shells, or a 9-inch tart or springform pan and 1 inch up the sides. (If making ahead, wrap in foil and freeze.)

2. Preheat oven to 400°. Place tart pan(s) on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and prick with a fork. Bake 5—10 more minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely on a rack.

3. When cool, remove pan sides and place on a serving plate. Mix Yogurt Cream with ginger; spread on crust. Arrange mango, pineapple, and kiwi in alternating rings. Brush with glaze. Garnish and serve.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving:
Calories: 185 calories
% fat calories: 50
Fat: 11g
Saturated Fat: 9g
Cholesterol: 1mg
Protein: 2g
Carbohydrate: 22g
Fiber: 3g
Sodium: 39mg

Nectarine-Blueberry Tart
Serves 10 / Prep tips: Skip step 3 if your nectarines are perfectly ripe and juicy; simply slice and place on the yogurt layer. Remove lemon rind with a vegetable peeler, being careful to avoid the bitter white pith beneath.

Orange-Cinnamon Crust:
1/4 cup date sugar
1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup almond flour
1/3 cup coconut oil or canola oil
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon freshly grated orange zest
1 1/2 tablespoons water
1/4 teaspoon lemon juice

Filling:
2 cups water
1 cup sugar
Rind of 1 lemon
1 small cinnamon stick
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 pound underripe nectarines
1/2 cup Yogurt Cream
1 cup fresh blueberries
1-2 tablespoons Citrus Glaze, warmed

1. In a food processor, combine sugar, flours, oil, salt, cinnamon, and orange zest. Process 15—20 seconds, until mixture looks like wet sand. While machine is running, add water and lemon juice; process until mixture forms a ball. Press into a 9-inch tart or springform pan and 1/2 inch up the sides. (If making ahead, wrap in foil and freeze.)

2. Preheat oven to 400°. Place tart pan on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Remove and prick with a fork. Bake 5—10 more minutes or until golden brown. Cool.

3. In a large saucepan, combine water and sugar and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and add lemon rind, cinnamon stick, and nutmeg. Add nectarines, cover, and poach for 20 minutes, or until soft. Drain on a wire rack. Gently rub off and discard skins; remove pits. Transfer pulp to a food processor; pulse only 3—4 times (pulp should still be fairly chunky).

4. When crust is cool, remove pan sides and place on a serving plate. Spread with Yogurt Cream and dot with nectarine pulp. Arrange blue-berries on top and brush with glaze.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving:
Calories: 352 calories
% fat calories: 27
Fat: 11g
Saturated Fat: 7g
Cholesterol: 1mg
Protein: 3g
Carbohydrate: 63g
Fiber: 3g
Sodium: 38mg
Make-ahead crusts
All tarts are best eaten right away, but if you need to assemble a tart several hours before serving, use this tip to keep the crust from becoming soggy: Brush the baked, unfilled tart shell with an egg white beaten with 2 teaspoons water. Bake for another 5 minutes, until dry.

—K.L.

Apricot-Pistachio Tart
Serves 12 / Prep tip: Use less sugar if your apricots are perfectly ripe. Canola can substitute for coconut oil.

Nut Crust 1/4 cup date sugar
1/4 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup almond flour
1 cup ground almonds or hazelnuts
4 tablespoons coconut oil
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons water
1/4 teaspoon lemon juice
1 1/2 pounds fresh apricots, pitted and halved (do not peel)
1/2-3/4 cup date sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup Yogurt Pastry Cream
2 egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup chopped pistachios
Fresh lavender sprigs, for garnish

1. In a food processor, combine sugar, flours, ground nuts, coconut oil, and salt. Process 15–20 seconds, until mixture looks like wet sand. While machine is running, add water and lemon juice; process until mixture forms a ball.

2. Preheat oven to 400º. Press pastry crust onto the bottom of a 10-inch tart or springform pan and 2 inches up the sides; place on a baking sheet. Arrange apricots, cut side down, over crust. In a small bowl, combine sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle evenly over fruit. Bake for 15 minutes.

3. While tart is baking, in a medium bowl whisk together Yogurt Cream, egg yolks, and vanilla extract.

4. Remove tart from oven. Pour yogurt mixture evenly over fruit. Return to oven and bake until filling is firm and crust is a deep golden brown, about 30 minutes. (Apricots may shrivel slightly.) Remove from oven and let cool. Remove pan sides. Sprinkle with chopped pistachios and garnish as desired.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving:
Calories: 225 calories
% fat calories: 51
Fat:13g
Saturated Fat: 5g
Cholesterol: 36mg
Protein: 4g
Carbohydrate: 24g
Fiber: 3g
Sodium: 33mg


Karin Lazarus cooks often for Delicious Living.