Tuesday, August 12

"Nude" Berry Tartlets and Why I Can't Be a Raw Foodie

raw berry tartlets super close

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

Now a rawist should not to be confused with a nudist. A nudist could be a rawist, but not necessarily so -- it really just depends on what they eat. We actually have plenty of both here in California. As it turns out, however, I am neither.

Don't get me wrong, I like raw foods plenty -- 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.

A couple years ago when I was feeling particularly in touch with my natural-girl-self, I attended a talk in LA given by a rawist woman (wearing clothes) 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 remember during the talk thinking, "Geeze, the only thing raw foods couldn't do is solve the Israeli - Palestinian conflict. Or could it?"

The main problem I had though was the stark contrast between what she was saying and the way she looked. She had a wan complexion, wispy hair, and a rail thin frame. As the lecture went on, all I could think was: "God, I wish I could just feed her.... What she needs is a big plate of gnocchi with some sausage and meatballs. You know, something that would stick to her ribs."

Needless to say, 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 these raw blueberry tartlets at first sight. After all, honeyed dates, crunchy almonds, and juicy berries are all sublime in their raw, unadorned state.

raw berry tartlet white

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.

Oh, and I just can't call them "Raw" Berry Tartlets. It brings back too many frightening images. Let's call them "Nude" Berry Tartlets, shall we?

raw berry tartlet yellow

"Nude" Berry Tartlets

Serves 4
Print recipe only here.

3 cups mixed fresh berries such as strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, and marionberries
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

Combine first 6 ingredients 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 2-3 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 4 golf ball sized rounds. Place each ball between 2 pieces of wax paper and press to form a 4-inch crust. Using your fingertips, turn up edges to form a rim. Refrigerate for 2 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.

You might also like these fresh berry dishes:

Pancakes with Fresh Raspberry-Strawberry Sauce

Summertime Strawberry Pie

Peach and Blueberry Galette

Skinny Berry Parfaits

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Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

Your beautiful photos of these berries could turn me into a rawist in no time -- and who knows, maybe a nudist too!

Peter G | Souvlaki For The Soul said...

Your explanation of "rawist" and nudist is too funny Susan! I once met a woman who said she was a "fruitairian" i.e. she only ate fruits (seriously!). But i actually love the base for these "nude" tartlets..I might just eat them. With or without clothes! Beautiful pics as usual!

Rita said...

Those look sooo beautiful! I can't imagine a winter eating only raw foods....No warm soups, pastas, stews...
I'll try and make your nudist tarts though.

Manggy said...

Ah, you sure know how to make the most of a rawist recipe, Susan... With tons of fresh fruit of course. This looks beautiful!
I don't think I can ever live without caramelization and the Maillard reaction. The woman's appearance is probably from misery, heh heh :)

cmoore said...

You know, in Chinese medicine raw foods are considered quite bad for your system. It's too hard for your stomach/spleen to process cold, raw foods, which is why Chinese cooking is so big on stir-frying: cook it lightly to jumpstart digestion. And I do think they have a point...(but I would still eat those nude berries in a hot second).

Unknown said...

i think i can be a nudist, but definitely not a rawist...;)

it's very hard for me not to dress up the nudist tart with honey or sugar and spices and pop the em into the oven and let it caramelised

naughty me...

Wendy said...

You crack me up!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

So funny! I could not be a rawist even if I eat lots of raw food...

Those tartlets look terribly good!



Anonymous said...

Very funny :D I totally agree with you. Some raw stuff is good to eat but to go all the way?!
Great idea this is, will try it with the date-walnut balls mixture I made a while back :)

Andreea said...

i never met a rawist. and i'm pretty happy i didn't :)
love the tartelets. like the idea of no bake. plus i have plenty fruit waiting to be used. beautiful

Darius T. Williams said...

Ha! This was hilarious. A plate of potato dumplings with sausage? I'll take it any day - lol. Way too funny - but you know, I can't be rawist either...or a nudist for that matter. I've eaten too much pasta and sausage - lol.


Anonymous said...

lol..I love this post!

Chibog in Chief said...

oh Susan, your photos just made me forget about all my worries..yummy!! raw or cook , I'll definitely choose raw if they are as beautiful as this!!

Unknown said...

Amazing pictures of the berries.The tarts looks very tempting and a very nice post.

LyB said...

I love how you say you wanted to feed her sausages and meatballs and such, both things I couldn't live without! Those nude tartlets look just fabulous with their little springy lemon zests peeking out, beautiful!

Sharon said...

Look at the colors of those berries - simply gorgeous! I could never be a rawist (or a nudist for that matter). There's just too many things that I enjoy! ...ahem, cookies.

Giff said...

Love the almond and date base. What a cool idea. Gorgeous pics as usual.

vb said...

Looks delicious! Yes, raw is good for plenty of things but a girl needs a hot meal now and then. And coffee!

Mishmash ! said...

LOL ! you had me confused with the first two para...and at the end of each of the rest of the post, u got me laughing :)) Cool post! I loved the nudity of the pics....which camera are u using?

Kara said...

Can you please make something that doesn't make me want to crawl through my computer and eat AND/OR frame the photo (AFTER eating the real thing)? And this one came with an added bonus of me cracking up at raw foods solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict...

Stella said...

Susan, your photos are simply great! I'm gonna try your recipe, even if I have no berries!
Love the crust as well!

Clumbsy Cookie said...

The first time i learned about the raw food thingy I just though. What? No cake? Forget about it. And that was it for me, my interest lasted probablt less than 1 second. But hey I do have to admit that this nude tart must be delicious, and some times imagination that's all we need.

Anonymous said...

I don't think I can be a rawist too. Certain food are best eaten cooked and warm. Love the berry tartlets picture, really pretty.

Pam said...

Great pictures... the tarts look perfect. A perfect dessert for a hot day!

Deborah said...

I could never do the raw thing, but I could definitely do these tarts! Delicious!

Susan from Food Blogga said...

lydia-There's a nude beach in La Jolla that you could go to then next time you visit SoCal. ;)

Peter-"Fruitarian"? Now, that's one I've never heard of!

rita-Oh, yeah, how would you ever get all warm and cozy? :)

mark-I even love the word "caramelization."

cmoore-That sounds logical. Thanks.

rita-Really?! :)



linda-Oh, that would taste heavenly.

andreea-The no-bake is what most people are craving right now.

darius-I couldn't live without pasta either.


dhanggit-Oh, thanks a bunch!

pearlsoffeast-I'm glad you like them.

lyb-I really did!

sharon-Oh, yeah, cookies! How could I forget?

giff-They're fun to make too.

vb-So true.

shn-I'm using a Nikon D80.

kara-I'll try to (but not too hard). ;) Actually, you are so kind. Thank you, my dear!

stella-You could try other fruit fillings.

ccookie-Cake! Oh, my god yes, cake.

pam-Many thanks!

deborah-Me too!

Terry at Blue Kitchen said...

Susan, I love your description of the rawist! I think Calvin Trillin once commented on being less than convinced with health food stores [or maybe it was Dave Barry] because none of the guys working there could grow a decent beard.

Being a strict omnivore myself, I'm not a fan of any dietary lifestyle choices that limit the palate--and honestly, the whole raw thing seems particularly silly to me. That said, these "nude" berry tarts do look amazing, Susan. Nice job as always!

Anonymous said...

Though I know consuming food in their natural food has their benefits, I know I can never be a rawist. I believe moderation is the key to good health. Your nude berry tart looks delicious and I would consume this any given day!

Scribbit said...

So you can eat them with or without clothes right?

Patricia Scarpin said...

Susan, the first time I heard about the raw food movement was on an episode of "Sex and the City".
I could never live on raw food, but these nude tartlets are more then welcome here, thank you!

Christine said...

I love this post - you are so funny. And your nude tartlets fairly scream freshness and goodness.

grace said...

the colors, look at the wonderful colors! even if all the food looked like this, i could never be a rawist (or a nudist, for that matter). no way, no how.
thanks for the chuckles and premium food porn. :)

Mandy said...

Those are some stunning tartlets, Susan! Love the gorgeous summer berries you used, and what is not to love about a no-bake dessert!

Anonymous said...

Your pictures certainly make raw foods look good. Beautiful, in fact. And you're right, sometimes during hot and steamy east-coast summers no-bake is the only way to go.

Mansi said...

that's a beautiful tart shell recipe Susan! and the berries sound wonderful!:)

Anonymous said...

hilarious! my fave line: "a rawist (wearing clothes)".

there is no money in the world that would make me be a rawist. none. and i'm poor, so that's saying alot!

but this dish looks lovely and tasty!

Proud Italian Cook said...

I could barely read the words I was to busy staring at those outragously gorgeous photo's!! Susan, I don't care what you make, its always beautiful and inticing!
Being Italian,you know where I stand with the whole nudist/rawist thingy! :)

Anonymous said...

Raw berries? Absolutely. Raw vegetables? not so much.
Fun narrative. I don't understand the concept of rawism or whatever it's called. Whatever works I guess.

Lynne Daley said...

Your photos are beautiful.

Cakelaw said...

Delicious! I love the almond and date tart cases.

Susan from Food Blogga said...

terry-Couldn't grow a decent beard? Now, that's funny.

veron-Moderation is definitely the key.

michelle-Right. :)

patricia-SATC? I don't remember that. Hey, that will give me a reason to watch it again!

christine-I'm glad it made you smile.

grace-I hear ya.

mandy-Summer berries just make me happy.

julie-It's my East Coast roots coming through. :)

mansi-Thanks so much!

wanf-And my fave line of yours is "And I'm poor, so that's saying a lot!" :)

marie-Many thanks. I know, can you imagine a life without ravioli, pizza, and cannoli?

jude-Yeah, there are only a handful of raw veggies I like. I'm a big roasting/grilling girl myself.

lynnlu-Thank you!

cakelaw-I think they'd be good with lots of different fillings.

Anonymous said...

Wonderfully written, Susan, your story about that woman's speech really made me laugh. I don't think I could be a rawist too, too many tasty dishes which include cooked vegetables. The tartlets look absolutely fantastic!

Deeba PAB said...

Rawist & Nudist...whatever the 'ist'...can I have one of these beauties please! SPECTACULAR pictures in stunning detail! Lucky you & Dermadoc! I think you should attend more of every sorta hysterical talks...never know what delightful stuff you'll come up with. This is FRESH & EXCITING!!

Jacqueline Meldrum said...

My friend has been following a raw diet for a while now and says he feels better for it. He is certainly looking good and he makes fab raw desserts. I will pass this one on to him, it looks great!

Anonymous said...

I am on vacation, but when I get home, I am going to make this beautiful dessert. I love that it is so easy.

Anonymous said...

I love the strands of citrus peel nestled throughout the tart. Very pretty!

Nic said...

Gorgeous, I'll have a couple please!

Andrea Meyers said...

You really had me laughing! I don't think I could be a rawist or a nudist, but I sure could enjoy that nude tart. :-)

Unknown said...

this looks naturally delicious, susan. there is a food writer in new zealand is campaigning about eating raw food and she creates many uncooked or unbaked goodies from different versions of raw vegies and fruits. i think that is amazing! do you feel slightly different maybe after eating these raw food, compared to what you've eaten before? can you feel it in your body?

Heather said...

Susan, these photos are beautiful! And this sounds delicious. the crust on this tart looks delicious. I could never be a raw foodie either... where's the fun in that?!?! And what do you do at Thanksgiving?!?!?

Prudy said...

I loved the funny commentary. How could I go on without cooked food? Life would be as wan as the raw food enthusiast.

ChichaJo said...

The tart is gorgeous and is making my mouth water! :) I don't think I could be a raw-ist (I love stews and braises too much!) but I definitely love sushi so a small part of me is I guess :)

I don't know about nudist though...hahaha :)

Mike of Mike's Table said...

lol about the raw thing. I just couldn't handle that kind of life style. I mean where's the beef, right? That tart though, now that is beautiful!

Alexa said...

That was too funny... So what should one wear when feasting on these beautiful tartlets? I am bookmarking this one. Great recipe!

Elly said...

This looks beautiful and sounds delicious. I'm definitely going to give it a try soon. While wearing clothes.

Helene said...

I love the title of the recipe Susan, so cute...not to mention that the tarts sound delicious, I like your adventurous spirit!

Aparna Balasubramanian said...

These tarts look so pretty. And I really liked what goes into the base.
We are vegetarian but we don't really eat too much of raw food, other than fruits. My daughter hates raw salads, insisting that she's not a "cow"!

Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

Nude berry tartlets it is Susan. I am off to the farmers market...I wonder what berry treasures I will find:D

zlamushka said...

Lovely post :-) Made me laugh. I was once playing with the idea of going raw, as well, but gave up very soon. Raw food makes me feel cold. I dotn think I could stand that here in Denmark.
IO am not sure how much raw food solves political issues, but darn a bowl of gnocchi would definitely solve my what-to-make for lunch probelm :-)
Btw, I hope you are participating this month´s Tried And Tasted, we are cooking from Jugalbandi(ts).

bee said...

two days ago i wrote a b!tchfest about tart shells. now these look fantastic. i can't live on raw food 'cos i gotta have my crusty bread.

bee said...

just thought of this. if you 'set' the crusts in muffin pans when you refrigerate them, they will be like cups.

Laurie said...

This entry cracked me up because a raw food purist just called me tonight. She told me she has cured breast cancer, depression and arthritis with raw food. I'm meeting her Wednesday for a work story and now I'm dying to see what she looks like!

Jeanne said...

Hmm, I think I'm with you on the raw food. It just sounds like very little fun. One of the "in" places in London these days is Saf, a gourmet raw food restaurant. It's all very worthy and I'm sure they do amazing things with nuts, but it all seems like an enormous amount of work to imitate stuff that already exists. I mean, why try to make raw ravioli - why not just reconcile yourself to the fact that real ravioli needs cooking and eat stunning salads instead??

These beautiful tarts are excluded from the above rant of course - they look *incredible*. Fascinated by the crust which would be good for gluten-free folks too. But mostly, I'm in love with the drop-dead stunning photos.

Deborah Dowd said...

Your tarts look great in the nude!Wonderful post and those berries are mouth-watering!

Anonymous said...

I have a friend who went raw for awhile, but like you, I couldn't give up the cooked veggies. I like my veggies cooked. Fruits, on the other hand.. I could eat this tartlette every day! It looks amazing!

Cara said...

I came across this recipe a long time ago and never got around to making it. Your version looks delicious!

Jaime said...

those are beautiful! i love fruit tarts! and no bake? even better :)

Susan from Food Blogga said...

miri-I'm glad to hear it gave you a chuckle.

deeba-I'll keep looking. :)

holler-I hope he enjoys it.

mimi-That's so great to hear!

hillary-Thanks a bunch!

nic-Comin'right up. ;)


arfi-I have never eaten a totally raw diet, but I do eat healthfully. So, I can't say I felt any difference. I'm sure some people do though, and if it works for them, then I think that's great.

heather-OMG, Thanksgiving! I didn't even think of that!

prudy-So true.

joey-All in moderation, right?

mike-Hah! Where is the beef?

alexa-I'd say a elegant silk sari or an airy summery sundress. :)


helen-That was a fun title to come up with.

aparna-Well, at least she knows what she likes!

val-Happy picking!

zlamushka-I couldn't live without gnocchi!

bee-Crusty bread--who could resist that? Cups are a fantastic idea! Thanks so much.

laurie-Really? What a coincidence.

jeanne-I would probably eat just salads too.

deborah-Thank you kindly!

kristen-Yeah, veggies just taste so much better to me when they're cooked.


jaime-Even better with Texas heat, huh? :)

acai said...
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Acai said...
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Tenina said...

In Australia we call them raw foodists...(as opposed to rawists) I wrote a raw cookbook for my job, and one of the 'rules' is to soak all nuts before use...(FYI) If you require a dry nut for a recipe, they can be dehydrated over several days and still be within the raw foodists diet code. Frustrating initially, the project gave me new appreciation for inclusion of more raw foods in my diet. This recipe Susan, looks sensational and perfectly acceptable as a dessert, raw or not!

Vibey said...

Ha! Thanks for the laugh. And having met a few rawists, I confirm they all look pretty much the same. And hang out with each other. Because their social lives go out the window with their saucepans.

And a raw, vegetarian food diet (I draw the distinction here because I must eat kibbeh nayyeh in the spring and summer) is actually really unhealthy. Dr Karl tells you all about it here:


Unknown said...

Great read.I enjoyed reading your post and I like your take on the issue.Thanks.
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