Fourth of July

Ricotta Custard Blueberry Tart with Nut Crescent Crust

June 13, 2024
3 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Prep time 30 minutes
  • Cook time 30 minutes
  • Makes One 10-inch tart
Author Notes

This recipe brings a winter favorite—the nut crescents I bake during the December holiday season —back to summer, in the form of a tart crust. I bake it with a simple ricotta custard, which provides the perfect base for a partially cooked blueberry filling—a clever trick I picked up here on Food52 a few years ago. I reduce the sugar, however, while adding a touch of apricot jam, spiked with vanilla.

N.B.: For a berry-heavy dessert like this, I often select slightly under-ripe berries for about a quarter of what I need for dessert, as they are more tart and just a little bit crunchy. —AntoniaJames

Test Kitchen Notes

WHO: AntoniaJames is a transaction lawyer who bakes and cooks whenever she's at home.
WHAT: A simple berry tart that's ideal for cookouts (or just a weeknight treat—it's summer, after all).
HOW: Line a pan with a nutmeg-spiced, pecan-based cookie crust. Line it with a ricotta custard, then bake it. Pour in par-cooked blueberries, lightly sweetened by apricot preserves. Dance a summertime jig.
WHY WE LOVE IT: At the peak of summer, fruits are sweet enough without sugar—and this tart makes that clear. There's so little refined sugar in this tart (5 tablespoons total), that you could skip it altogether and just take in the natural sweetness from the par-cooked blueberries and apricot preserves—with a glass of rosé on the side. —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • For the pecan cookie crust:
  • 4 ounces (1 heaping cup) crushed pecans, toasted
  • 2 tablespoons sugar (I use turbinado, but ordinary cane sugar will do)
  • 1/4 cup (22 grams) wheat germ (or 170 grams all-purpose flour)
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 generous dash cinnamon (optional)
  • 1 healthy pinch freshly grated nutmeg (optional)
  • 3 ounces (6 tablespoons) butter (I like salted for this, but unsalted works, too), cold and cut into small pieces
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • For the ricotta custard and blueberry filling:
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 3 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 1/2 cups ricotta, preferably fresh, drained in a cheesecloth-lined strainer for at least 1 hour
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 ounces (1/4 cup) apricot preserves
  • 5 cups fresh blueberries, divided
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  1. Preheat the oven to 400° F.
  2. To make the crust, pour the pecan pieces into a food processor. Pulse 5 or 6 times, then add all of the dry ingredients (including the spices) and the butter. Scrape down the sides of the processor bowl.
  3. In a separate small bowl, beat together the egg and the vanilla extract. Drizzle it over the dough ingredients. Pulse just enough to bring the dough together, scraping down the sides again after the third or fourth pulse.
  4. Turn the dough out into a 10-inch tart tin, ideally one with a removable bottom. Working from the center, press out and up into the edges, smoothing to make the surfaces even; pack the crust into the sides.
  5. To make the custard, in a medium bowl, use a fork or whisk to beat the egg yolks with 2 tablespoons of sugar and the vanilla and almond extracts. Add the ricotta and nutmeg, then beat well until thoroughly blended.
  6. Pour the custard into the prepared crust. Bake on a shelf in the lower third of your oven for about 30 minutes, giving the tart a quarter turn, half-way through to ensure even baking. Remove from the oven and allow the custard-lined crust cool a bit.
  7. Meanwhile, make the filling. In a medium, non-reactive saucepan, warm the apricot preserves over medium-low heat with about 1/4 cup of water, stirring. When the preserves are syrupy, remove and finely chop any chunks of apricot and return them to the pan with about 2 cups of the blueberries, along with the remaining 1 tablespoon of sugar and about 1/2 cup of water.
  8. Return the pan to the stove and raise the heat to medium. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently and mashing down on the cooking blueberries to release their juices. After 5 minutes, use a potato masher or the back of a large spoon to crush as many of the cooked berries as you can. Simmer, covered, for another 5 minutes or so on low heat, taking care not to scorch the sauce. Remove from the heat, give it a good stir, and let it cool for at least 10 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice, add the remaining 3 cups of berries, and gently toss.
  9. Fill the tart and let rest for at least 30 minutes before serving. Enjoy!! ;o)

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • drbabs
  • Megan Jung
    Megan Jung
  • Leith Devine
    Leith Devine
  • juleeclip
  • savorthis

Recipe by: AntoniaJames

See problem, solve problem. Ask questions; question answers. Disrupt, with kindness, courtesy and respect. ;o)

9 Reviews

drbabs August 17, 2021
How did I miss this when you first posted it? I have a good friend who loves dessert and has celiac--this would be awesome--I would just substitute gluten free flour blend for the wheat germ.
NXL July 5, 2021
This is a fantastic recipe! It totally depends upon the sweetness of the berries. They work so well against the nuttiness of the crust. I didn't have wheat germ, so substituted almond flour. Those who want a pile of sugar will be disappointed, but I think this is perfect.
Megan J. July 3, 2018
I made this tart for my mother’s birthday and it was a huge hit! The ricotta custard filling tasted so good with the nutmeg and the blueberry topping was syrup-like but still maintained a fresh taste with the blueberries added in at the end. In addition to this, the pecan cookie crust was the perfect base. Thank you so much for sharing this delicious, not-too-sweet recipe!
Leith D. August 15, 2015
This was delicious! The crust was so good with the filling and fruit.
AntoniaJames August 17, 2015
Thank you, Leith Devine! So glad you enjoyed it. ;o)
juleeclip August 11, 2015
How counter stable is this? Would this be okay to make the day before an event?
AntoniaJames August 12, 2015
Thank you for asking!

Due to the custard filling, it really should be refrigerated overnight and until a few hours before serving. Make sure it is completely cool, so as to reduce the amount of condensation that could make the crust soggy. Cover it tightly, and let it come to room temperature, for at least a couple of hours out of the fridge, before serving.

Truly though this pie is better the day it's made. You can make the pie crust and let it sit on the counter overnight. You can make the custard filling and the blueberry filling, and refrigerate them each overnight. Bring them each to room temperature before filling the crust and baking as directed.

Hope this helps. ;o)
savorthis July 31, 2014
This sounds so good! And I neglected to cancel our milk order which means I should most likely make a batch of ricotta and give it a try. Love the combination of the berries/custard/spiced nuts.
AntoniaJames August 1, 2014
Thank you, savorthis! Great idea, making ricotta. I use Jennifer Perillo's recipe, always, using more buttermilk and often, more cream, than it calls for. Perfect for this. I use this custard in a marmalade lined, chocolate and pecan topped version during the winter. ;o)