Inspired by a fruit-topped sponge-cake, this tart uses a simple olive-oil cake as the base, which is then topped with fresh berries.

This Dec. 4, 2017 photo shows an orange and raspberry tart in Bethesda, Md. This dish is from a recipe by Melissa d'Arabian. (Melissa d'Arabian via AP)

By MELISSA D'ARABIAN - Associated Press
Thursday, December 7th 2017, 02:22 am EDT

During the holidays, we could all use a fantastic tart recipe in our hip pockets. Tarts are a perfect festive end to any dinner party, and they make a lovely gift for a neighbor. If the thought of making homemade crust intimidates you, or if you just prefer not to take in so many fat calories densely packed into a sheet of pastry, stick with me.

The tart I'm talking about today uses a simple olive-oil cake as the base, which is then topped with fresh berries. I took inspiration from a fruit-topped sponge-cake, and turned the idea into a recipe that could be made start-to-finish in about an hour, and much of that time is baking or cooling. I whipped up a speedy orange-olive oil cake (and it's technically-speaking a quick-bread, but our secret!) and made that the base, which works well with either regular flour or most gluten-free flours I have tried.

I used a pie pan with a raised center, a worthy minimal investment if you do any amount of baking. Buy one and you'll find a thousand uses for it. But if you don't have the special pie mold, use a regular tart or pie pan, and your results will be equally delicious. To create the pretty filling, I tossed a couple of cups of berries in a little orange marmalade thinned with hot water. Place the syrupy berries on the cake — maybe take an extra minute or two to arrange them nicely for a bakery-made look — and sprinkle on some powdered sugar to serve.

The cake itself has a mere 1/3 cup of sugar in the recipe, letting the raspberry topping offer most of the sweetness. The result is a gorgeous dessert or afternoon tea accompaniment that feels more indulgent than it actually is.

ORANGE AND RASBERRY TART

Servings: 8

Start to finish: 1 hour, including baking and cooling time

Base:

1 cup all-purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

Pinch cinnamon

1 egg

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1/3 cup olive oil

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Zest of one orange, about 2 teaspoons

Juice of one orange, plus enough water to make 1/3 cup

Topping:

About 2 cups fresh raspberries, or other berries or sliced fruit

2 tablespoons orange marmalade

2 tablespoons boiling water

Powdered sugar for dusting, optional

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

In a medium bowl, sift the flour, baking powder and soda, salt, and cinnamon. Whisk dry ingredients together and set aside. In another medium bowl, whisk together the egg and sugar vigorously until mixture is pale yellow, about 1 minute. Whisk in the oil, extract, zest and juice mixture and mix until well-blended. Scrape the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients with a rubber spatual and stir gently until combined, but do not overmix.

Line the bottom of an 8-inch pie pan with raised center with parchment paper (cut round to fit), and spray liberally with nonstick spray. (If raised center pie pan is unavailable, use a regular 8-inch tart or pie pan.) Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and bake until the center springs back when gently pressed, about 25-30 minutes. Let the cake cool for 15 minutes before gently unmolding and chilling in the freezer for 15 minutes to cool completely. (Or, allow cake to cool at room temperature for another 30 minutes.) Meanwhile, place the orange marmalade and boiling water into a medium bowl and whisk until jam is loosened. Add the berries and stir to coat. Add an extra tablespoon of water if mixture is dry. Flip the cake over so the concave side is up. Use a toothpick, skewer or fork to poke holes into the bottom of the cake. Spoon the raspberry mixture onto the cake and arrange the berries so they are pretty. Just before serving, garnish with a dusting of powdered sugar, if desired.

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Nutrition information per serving: 215 calories; 88 calories from fat; 10 g fat (1 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 27 mg cholesterol; 163 mg sodium; 29 g carbohydrate; 3 g fiber; 14 g sugar; 3 g protein.

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Food Network star Melissa d'Arabian is an expert on healthy eating on a budget. She is the author of the cookbook, "Supermarket Healthy."

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Online: http://www.melissadarabian.net

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Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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