Easy no-bake tart keeps fruit, raw and unadorned

Susan Russo

A “rawist” is a person who consumes primarily raw food (or all raw food in some cases).

Now, I like raw foods plenty. I love peaches, kiwis, cucumbers and tomatoes. But the thought of eating solely uncooked food seems, well, not fun. I cannot imagine life without grilled eggplant, roasted carrots or, heaven forbid, stuffed artichokes.

But a couple years ago, when I was feeling particularly in touch with my natural-girl-self, I attended a talk in L.A. given by a rawist woman who made claims like, “Raw foods will cleanse your system. Raw foods make your skin glow. And raw foods will make you healthy and improve your sex life!”

I never did hop on the raw food bandwagon. But, that doesn’t mean I don’t like raw dishes. For example, I was smitten with some raw blueberry tartlets at first sight. After all, honeyed dates, crunchy almonds and juicy berries are all sublime in their raw, unadorned state.

Though I tweaked the recipe a little by adding mixed berries and more flavoring, I remained true to the raw deliciousness of the original. Plus, this is a no-bake dessert. I repeat, for all of you wilting in sweltering climates, this is a no-bake dessert. So make these on even the hottest, humid summer day, and still look cool and sophisticated when you serve them.

‘Nude’ Berry Tartlets

3 cups mixed fresh berries, such as strawberries, raspberries or blackberries

4 teaspoons fresh orange juice

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest, plus extra julienned for garnish

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

6 teaspoons light brown sugar

Cooking spray

2/3 cup raw almonds

3/4 (packed) cup pitted dates, preferably Medjool

2-3 teaspoons water, or as needed

Fresh mint, for garnish

Combine berries, juice, zest, vanilla extract and brown sugar in a bowl; cover and refrigerate.

Coat a mixing bowl with cooking spray. Pulse almonds in a food processor until they resemble breadcrumbs. Empty into the prepared bowl.

Pulse dates with 2 to 3 teaspoons water in food processor until well chopped (they will be a little clumpy). Using your hands, mix with almonds to form a paste. (If it’s too crumbly, just add a few more drops of water).

Divide mixture evenly into four golf-ball-sized rounds. Place each ball between two pieces of wax paper and press to form a four-inch crust. Using your fingertips, turn up edges to form a rim. Refrigerate for two hours (they will harden and become much easier to remove from the wax paper).

Allow the berries to come to room temperature before assembling the tartlets and serving. Use a spatula to transfer the date-nuts crusts to serving plates; fill each with 1/4 of the berries and drizzle with some leftover juices from the bowl. Top with julienned orange zest and a sprig of mint. Serves 4.

Per serving: 285 calories; 11 g fat (1 g saturated fat; 35 percent calories from fat); 45 g carbohydrates; 35 g sugar; 0 mg cholesterol; 4 mg sodium; 6 g protein; 9 g fiber.