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A light finish to an otherwise heavy Easter dinner

  • This March 15, 2011 photo shows a honeydew-blackberry tart in Concord, N.H. This tart offers a nice balance between light and luxurious. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)
    This March 15, 2011 photo shows a honeydew-blackberry tart in Concord, N.H. This tart offers a nice balance between light and luxurious. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)
Published April 20. 2011 05:00PM

What with its focus on a hefty ham or robust leg of lamb not to mention all those chocolate bunnies Easter dinner can be a heavy affair.

So consider serving a lighter dessert, such as this fresh honeydew-blackberry tart that offers a nice balance between light and luxurious.

As with any good tart, the crust is crispy and rich, but made from healthful ingredients such as white whole-wheat flour, ground almonds and some reduced-fat cream cheese. There's also just enough butter to add that familiar flavor you'd expect in a crust.

The lime zest-laced custard filling is made with a few egg yolks to give it a wonderful texture, but also cornstarch to help keep the fat to a minimum.

And then there's the beautiful, refreshing topping of fresh melon and berries. If you like, you can use cantaloupe or something more exotic such as golden honeydew melon. And if you can't find or don't want blackberries, substitute fresh raspberries or even blueberries.

Remember, tarts are almost always a lighter choice than many varieties of pie, if only because they avoid the extra fat and calories of a top crust.

Honeydew-Blackberry Tart

Start to finish: 2 hours (30 minutes active)

Servings: 10

For the crust:

1 cups white whole-wheat flour

1/2 cup slivered almonds

1 tablespoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

4 tablespoons cold reduced-fat cream cheese (such as Neufchatel)

For the filling:

2 teaspoons grated lime zest

cup lime juice

1 cup water

cup sugar, divided

2 large egg yolks

cup cornstarch

teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 honeydew melon, seeds removed

1/2 pint fresh blackberries

Heat the oven to 350 F. Use cooking spray to coat an 11-inch round tart pan with a removable bottom.

To prepare the crust, in a food processor combine the flour, almonds, sugar and salt. Process until the almonds are finely ground. With the processor running, add the butter one piece at a time. Add the cream cheese by the tablespoonful, pulsing twice after each addition, until incorporated.

Turn the dough out into the prepared pan (it will be crumbly). Spread the dough evenly and press firmly into the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Bake until lightly browned, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack.

Meanwhile, to make the filling, in a small saucepan over medium-high, whisk together the lime zest, lime juice, water and half the sugar. Heat until simmering.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the remaining sugar, egg yolks, cornstarch and salt. While whisking, pour a small amount of the hot lime water into the yolks to warm the mixture, then continue to add more until all the lime water is incorporated. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and cook over medium-high, whisking continuously, until the mixture is thick, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the butter until fully incorporated.

Pour the filling into the cooled tart shell, spreading it in an even layer. Press a piece of plastic wrap over the surface of the filling to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until the filling is well chilled, about 1 hour.

Cut melon into quarters, then trim rind from each section and cut flesh into thin symmetrical slices. Arrange slices overlapping around the outside of the tart shell, with the narrow ends pointing in. Mound berries in the center of the tart. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Nutrition information per serving (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 230 calories; 107 calories from fat (47 percent of total calories); 12 g fat (6 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 64 mg cholesterol; 30 g carbohydrate; 5 g protein; 4 g fiber; 151 mg sodium.

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