This red, white, and blue tart–a wicked popular dessert around fourth of July– is made with a graham cracker crust, an easy cheesecake-like filling made with just cream cheese, heavy cream, and sugar, and the eponymous red and blue berries of your choice.
Simple and stunning. That’s what we think of this ridiculously easy tart that’s essentially a cheesecake but with far less fuss.
It requires you to do nothing more than press a graham cracker crumb crust into a pan and then stir together a luscious cheesecake-like filling consisting of just cream cheese, cream, and sugar. Then you slip it in the fridge until you need it.
Just before serving, add a scattering of summer berries. No water bath. No overnight chilling. Just summertime simplicity.–David Leite
Red, White, and Blue Tart FAQs
Can I use a traditional pie crust in place of the graham cracker crust?
Yes, you can use your favorite pie crust recipe or one of ours, and blind bake it before continuing with step 4.
What is the best method for washing berries?
Don’t rinse blackberries, raspberries, boysenberries, and blueberries under running water, as the pressure from the faucet can crush the delicate fruits.
Instead, place them in a colander and dip it into a large bowl of cold water, gently swishing the colander around. Pull the colander out and let the berries drain, then gently lay them to dry on paper towels.
For strawberries, mix water and white vinegar 4:1 (4 c water to 1c vinegar) and soak your berries for 20 minutes. Rinse them thoroughly, let them dry on paper towels, and serve or store.
Can I make these as individual tartlets?
Yes. To make wee individual tartlets, divvy the crumb crust mixture among six 4-inch tartlet pans and bake only for 6 to 8 minutes, until the crust is lightly colored and firm. Proceed with the recipe, divvying the filling and garnishes among the tartlets.
Red, White, and Blue Tart
- A 9-inch pie plate OR 9-inch deep-sided removable-bottom tart pan OR individual tartlet pans OR 4-by-14-inch rectangular tart pan
For the graham cracker crust
- 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 stick (4 oz) unsalted butter melted
For the filling
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 8 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
- 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
- 1 cup (7 oz) fresh raspberries (or substitute hulled, sliced strawberries)
- 1 cup (5 oz) fresh blackberries or blueberries
- Shredded coconut, mint leaves, and/or a drizzle of honey (optional)
Make the graham cracker crust
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).
- In a medium bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs and sugar. Stir in the melted butter. Press the mixture into a 9-inch pie plate OR a 9-inch deep-sided tart pan OR a 4-by-14-inch rectangular tart pan.
- Bake until the crust is lightly colored and firm, 8 to 12 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Make the filling
- In a large bowl with a stand mixer on medium-high, beat the cream until soft peaks form, 2 1/2 to 3 minutes.
- In another bowl, beat the cream cheese and confectioners' sugar until well combined.
Assemble the tart
- Using a spatula, gently fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture and smooth it over the cooled tart crust. Scatter or arrange the berries as desired atop the filling. If desired, add coconut, mint leaves, and a drizzle of honey.
If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We’d love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
I’ve made mousse-like, no-bake cheesecakes in the past, but this red, white, and blue cheesecake tart was incredible!! The filling has the dense creaminess and rich mouthfeel of a baked cheesecake without all the effort.
I wanted to make individual tarts and didn’t have small tart pans, so I used my 6-cup jumbo muffin pan with large parchment tulip cup liners. This made it very easy to press the graham cracker crumbs into the bottom and up the sides of each cup using a mini glass prep bowl which was slightly smaller than the muffin cup size.
After baking, while the crusts were cooling, I whipped up the filling, which consisted only of folding freshly whipped cream into the beaten cream cheese and confectioners’ sugar mixture. I then spread the filling into each crust while still in the muffin cups and arranged the berries on top. I chose to hull and slice the strawberries to make them easier to eat. Since I’m not a fan of dried coconut without it being mixed into something else, I omitted that ingredient from the topping list.
There was enough of the beautiful white filling around the edges of the crust to get the red, white and blue effect to make it a perfect July 4th dessert! I placed the tarts, covered, in the refrigerator to chill until I was ready to serve them for dessert.
Serving is very easy, I just picked up the tarts from the pans, removed the parchment liner (the crusts held up beautifully and did not crumble), and placed them on a serving dish with additional berries I had left over. They were so pretty and SO good! The tart toppings can be easily coordinated with any season, making them the perfect choice anytime you are in the mood for a great-tasting cheesecake without all the time and fuss of its heftier, baked cousin. Also, their petite size didn’t make me feel as guilty while I was eating such a decadent tasting dessert!!! Very impressive. I will be making this recipe again!!!
This red, white, and blue tart is a nice, simple recipe just in time for summer barbecues where something cold and fruity hits just the right note. It definitely gets filed under “Keep Me.” Neither I nor one of my testers cares for coconut so I substituted shaved white chocolate. It is the end of strawberry season here; were I to make these again this summer I might substitute raspberries.
We wanted to try out the tartlets version before our 4th of July celebration so we could decide whether or not to make them for the party. Tasty and very simple. We will make these—you can put them together in less than an hour and the cream cheese filling is not too sweet. Use the best quality cream cheese you can find, and of course, the best fruit as well.
We baked the crust for exactly 8 minutes, waited a few minutes and then popped the pans with crusts in the freezer so that we could fill them soon. Whipping the cream took about 30 seconds with an immersion blender.
We arranged the fruit on top of the filling in a variety of flavors with all the fresh fruit we had on hand: blueberries and raspberries; blackberries and strawberries; peaches. e made some tarts with a sprinkle of coconut and some without. For an Independence Day party, the red, white, and blue from blueberries, strawberries, and coconut works perfectly for the visual, although the all-fruit versions were the taster’s favorites.
The cream filling is delicious as-is but it invites orange zest or vanilla, a spoonful or two of lemon curd, or tiny chocolate bits. We did not have tart pans so we used muffin tins. It made 12 mini tartlets.
This is an easy summer dessert that can be put together quite quickly and can showcase any lovely berries that you can find.
I used a 9 1/2″ pan. I found I had enough graham crumb mixture and even enough filling. If you like a good amount of berries on top, you might want to add another 1/2 cup of both strawberries and blueberries. I would make a few tweaks to the recipe by adding 2 teaspoons vanilla to the cream cheese while it’s being beaten. I would also coat the berries a little apricot or marmalade that was warmed on the stove top and strained. I like the berry topping to have a bit of acid. I also think fresh raspberries or currants would be a nice addition.
Originally published June 25, 2003
If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We'd love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
The filling of this red, white, and blue tart is wonderfully light with a marvelous flavor. We preferred it MUCH more than the typical custard filling that fruit tarts have and it was so much easier to make. No cooking, no baking, no fuss, just a quick use of a hand mixer. Makes clean-up much easier, also.
I had to use a 9 1/2″ pie plate, because after putting the crust into the 8 1/2″ and tamping it down, there would not have been enough room for all of the filling.
Due to the increased surface area of the crust, I had to bake the crust for a total of 12 minutes in order for it to set in the center.
As far as arranging the fruit was concerned, I arranged my fruit in concentric circles, which gave the look of a beautiful blooming flower. I even sliced my strawberries so that they looked like hearts, and ended up placing the hearts in such a way that the hearts were standing up amidst the blueberries and the coconut.
All in all, this recipe is a winner.