Saturday, September 28, 2013

Sumarterta - Icelandic Summer Skyr Tart

Its name lured me as surely as the siren's song lured mariners of myth to death on rocky shoals. How can you resist something called a Summer Skyr Tart? I had visions of blond nymphs dancing in the pale glow of midnight sun, sipping champagne as they nibbled on elegant and Lucullean tarts. The romance of it all caused me to commit to its creation before I did my research and learned that skyr does not reference the midnight sun. It's a popular dairy product that is similar to strained yogurt, or soft cheese, and it's used extensively in Icelandic cooking. So much for romance. I also learned that skyr is thicker than yogurt and a bit sweeter. The product is not available here, so I decided to go with a Greek yogurt cheese that I've used for other purposes. As I browsed through the recipe it became clear that this dessert was not going to fall into the "sweet thing" category. It consists of cookie base that is covered with a barely sweet mixture of egg whites, cream cheese and yogurt. It is finished with a sprinkling of toasted almonds and strawberries. The recipe was developed by Beatrice Ojakangas, but I found it on a great blog called The Bohemian Kitchen. This is a large, thin tart. It will not set if you use a smaller pan and go for height rather than diameter. I used a 12-inch spring form pan to make my tart. I also made some adjustments to the recipe which I've highlighted in red. I added a small amount of almond extract and a pinch of salt to the cookie base. I also covered it with a 1/2 cup of warm strawberry jam before adding the yogurt layer. Please note that the recipe uses raw egg whites. Some of you might be more comfortable using pasteurized eggs or powdered egg whites. I like to use reconstituted egg whites because it alleviates the problem of having to store unused yolks. The tart will not set in the hour suggested in the recipe, so plan on at least 6 to 8 hours chill before serving. Now comes the hard part. I won't be making this again. It is a nice dessert, but it is very understated and almost boring. I suspect the results might be different if the tart were made with skyr, but until I can find a source for it, I'll stick with strawberry short cake. I hope some of you will try the Sumarterta and let me know what you think. Here's the recipe.

Sumarterta - Icelandic Summer Skyr Tart...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite inspired by Beatrice Ojakangas and the Bohemian Kitchen


Tart Base

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup softened butter

1 whole egg, beaten

1/4 teaspoon almond extract

1/2 cup warmed strawberry jam


2 egg whites

2 tablespoons sugar

1 cup yogurt cheese

1 (3-oz.) package cream cheese


12 strawberries, cleaned & halved

3/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted


1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 11 or 12-inch spring form pan and dust it with flour.

2) Combine flour, sugar, salt and butter. Mix with finger tips until coarse crumbs form. Add almond extract to egg and stir into crumb mixture, mixing well. Press mixture into bottom of prepared pan and bake for 20 minutes, or until crust is golden. Set aside to cool. When cool brush surface with strawberry jam.

3) With a mixer, combine yogurt cheese or skyr with cream cheese and beat until combined and smooth.

4) In a clean bowl, whip egg whites with a small dash of salt until frothy. Add sugar and continue beating until the whites become stiff.

5) Fold cheese mixture into egg whites. Spread over cooled crust.

6) Sprinkle with toasted almonds and decorate with strawberry halves.

7) Chill tart for at least 6 hours. Yield: 8 to 10 servings.

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