Yellow Zucchini Tarte Fine on a Yogurt-Based Crust Recipe

This tarte fine (i.e. a thin tart with little or no rim) is a free-form room-temperature tart I assembled on a homemade crust with fresh cheese, mint, and thinly sliced raw zucchini, finished with a drizzle of olive oil and a little fresh thyme from my neighbor’s parents’ garden.

The overall format was inspired by Sonia Ezgulian‘s radish tart, as featured on Cécile Cau’s blog: hers involves a pâte brisée made with fennel seeds and filled with a mix of fromage blanc (a sort of yogurt) and ground almonds, topped with thinly sliced raw pink radishes.

I thought I would transpose the idea to use the sprightly young zucchini we’ve been getting lately, and the crust I used in mine was an experiment, as I wanted to try and make a short crust pastry using yogurt.

That yogurt crust was a complete success: quick to assemble and easy to roll out, it baked into a deep golden, crisp and flaky crust that supported the tangy fresh cheese filling and the sweet zucchini slices beautifully.

I had long ago bookmarked several online mentions of a puff pastry-like dough made with petits suisses, for which you combine these little unsalted fresh cheeses with flour and butter in a 2:2:1 weight ratio (unless you use the 1:2:1 ratio others recommend), and thought it was finally time to give it a try.

There were no petits suisses in my fridge, but yogurt I did have, so I planned to use that. And the ratio didn’t seem quite right to me — I worried the dough would be too moist, and the fact that two different ratios were said to work equally well did nothing to reassure me — so I improvised my own, combining flour, yogurt and butter in a 3:2:1 ratio instead (here, 180 grams flour, 120 grams yogurt, 60 grams butter, plus a little salt).

That crust was a complete success: it was quick to assemble, easy to roll out, and it baked into a deep golden, crisp and flaky crust that supported the tangy fresh cheese filling and the sweet zucchini slices beautifully.

We liked this refreshing summer tart so much I made another, identical one later that week, and used that same dough recipe for the Swiss chard quiche my mother, sister and I baked at my parents’ mountain house over the weekend.

I now intend to try and make a sweet version of that crust, probably very soon, and probably for a rhubarb tart using the gorgeous garden rhubarb I brought back with me.

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Yellow Zucchini Tarte Fine on a Yogurt-Based Crust Recipe

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Serves 4 to 6.

Yellow Zucchini Tarte Fine on a Yogurt-Based Crust Recipe


    For the dough (see note):
  • 180 grams (6 1/3 ounces, about 1 1/2 cups) all-purpose flour (I use the French T65)
  • 120 grams (1/2 cup) plain yogurt, not from skim milk
  • 60 grams (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, cold, diced
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • For the filling:
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
  • 120 grams (1/2 cup) fresh cheese (I used fresh goat cheese; you could also use ricotta)
  • a dash of milk
  • a dozen fresh mint leaves
  • 2 medium and very fresh yellow zucchini, about 280 grams (10 ounces) total
  • fresh thyme
  • olive oil
  • salt, pepper


  1. Start by making the dough. Place the flour in a medium mixing bowl. Form a well in the center and spoon in the yogurt, holding the whey if there is any. Add the diced butter and salt, and use a pastry blender (or a sturdy fork, or the tips of your fingers) to combine the ingredients, blending the butter into the flour. Alternatively, you can mix the dough in a food processor, using short pulses.
  2. When most of the flour is absorbed and you can no longer see pieces of butter in the dough (depending on the specific flour, yogurt and butter you'll use, your dough will be moister or drier than mine; feel free to add a little flour or a few drops of water to get a workable consistency), turn the mixture out onto a clean work surface and gather the dough into a ball, kneading it very briefly so it comes together, then flattening it into a thick disk. Place the dough on a plate and let it rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  3. (If you wish to make it in advance, cover with plastic wrap, and keep in the fridge for up to a day. Let it come back to just below room temperature before rolling out.)
  4. Preheat the oven to 180°C (360°F).
  5. Roll the dough out thinly between two sheets of parchment paper to form whatever shape seems easiest -- I like it free-form.
  6. Remove the top sheet of paper, sprinkle the dough with sesame seeds, place the top sheet back and roll over it with the rolling pin so the sesame seeds will embed themselves in the pastry; this provides flavor and crunch.
  7. Remove the top sheet of paper and roll the very edges of the dough over themselves to form a small ridge all around. Crimp if desired.
  8. Transfer the pastry (and bottom sheet of paper) to a baking sheet. Prick all over with a fork, cover with the top sheet of paper, and top with baking beans. Place in the oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until golden brown.
  9. Remove the top sheet and the baking beans (they will be very hot, obviously) and let the crust cool completely.
  10. Beat the fresh cheese with a dash of milk to get a creamy consistency. Snip the mint leaves finely and add them to the fresh cheese. Spread all over the crust.
  11. Trim the zucchini and cut into paper-thin slices with a mandolin (I am very happy with my Japanese mandolin). Spread the zucchini slices out evenly over the fresh cheese without worrying about the pattern. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, drizzle with good olive oil, and sprinkle with thyme.
  12. Cut into servings, preferably with a bread knife.


Alternatively, you can use store-bought puff pastry; make sure you get a good one that uses butter as the only source of fat.

This post was first published on July 14, 2010.

  • I’m so excited to try this yogurt pastry! What a crazy and brilliant idea!

  • I like the delicate nature of this yogurt based crust, this may be the first time I’ve run across one that includes yogurt. This is the perfect recipe for the upcoming summer squash season.

  • Caroline

    This looks beautiful! I too am excited by the notion of a yogurt-based crust. I’d put yogurt in everything if I could.

  • I’ve never seen such a thing.

  • Wow, this is a really gorgeous use of fresh, young summer squash. I’ve got an embarrassment of yogurt in the fridge right now — just might give this a try!

  • Perfect summer food! Even better with the footy. The pastry sounds magnificent – I would probably eat a whole tarte myself and drink a few Biere Pression if logisitcs allowed!!! :)

  • Ursula

    I love the idea of this crust. I have an old and well-used recipe for a pastry made with cream cheese, flour & butter – delicious, golden & flaky, but awfully rich. Yogurt might be just the substitute!

  • Inspiring. Clotilde, you seem like a graceful, non-accident-prone person in the kitchen, but have you ever cut yourself on the mandoline? I really want one as I love paper-thin vegetables, and I think I would eat more produce if I had one, but I am a little accident-prone. I use sharp knives without issue, so I don’t know why I am freaked by the mandoline…

    • I cut myself once with a mandolin (on a new year’s eve — fun times!) a while ago, but that was with my French mandolin, which was heavier and which I found somehow less easy to handle (I have since sold it). The Japanese mandolin I’m much happier with. It seems sharper and the slicing is really effortless, so you don’t have to apply much pressure at all (so if you slip, the harm should theoretically be smaller).

      I find it impossible to get good results using the plastic safety thingie that mandolins come with, so I don’t use it, but I am very very *very* mindful, and I hold the vegetables with a gloved hand (I use a dishwashing glove, it’s very elegant :). Also, I hold the vegetables by an untrimmed end (the stem end of zucchini for instance) so I have a fairly steady hold, and I’m not tempted to slice them down too close to my fingers.

      In short, it’s a wonderful tool that should be used with a lot of caution — don’t ever get too comfortable with it — but I don’t think it’s anything to be freaked by. :)

  • I always wanted to make yogurt based pastry. I think this the recipe to use.

  • kim

    This looks alot like the zucchini “galette” from Smitten Kitchen – except that she used sour cream instead of yoghurt. I made hers last week and the pastry was incredible, but if your yoghurt one has the same flakey goodness I’ll try your dough instead (I always have yoghurt on hand, not sour cream). Here is the link if you hadn’t seen the SK post yet.

    • Thanks for sharing the link! Note that the zucchini is cooked in Deb’s recipe, whereas it is left raw here.

  • The idea of making a yogurt based pastry sounds intriguing, I’ll definitely give it a try.

  • Marie

    280 g of zucchini total, right? Or is it each?

    And for the mandolin – instead of using a dishwashing glove you could always buy on of those gloves they sell that protect your hands from knives (sorry – I don’t know what they are called and I don’t actually own one – they’re a metal mesh).

    • Yes, it’s 280 grams total — thanks for pointing it out, I’ve clarified the ingredients’ list. And it’s funny you should mention that kind of metal glove, I was just discussing that very idea with a friend the other night. I have no idea where to get one of those, but I think they’d be pretty cool as part of a knight’s costume, too. :)

      • Nathalie White

        My friend got her metal glove from Amazon: Microplane Cut-Resistant Glove.

        • It looks like just what I need — thanks for the recommendation, Nathalie! I’ll try to find a source for it in France…

  • Interesting! I just made “gyro pizza” for dinner last night with a yogurt-based tzatziki sauce in place of tomato sauce and cheese typical on pizza. I happened to have pre-made crusts on hand, but will have to try this one. Thanks! PS; I recently tried a recipe for Gozleme on Haalo’s blog and it was tasty too!

  • Fernanda

    Great recipe!
    Clotilde, do you think I can use whole wheat flour?
    Thank you very much.

    • The pastry may not be quite as delicate in texture, but it’s certainly worth a try!

  • This looks like the perfect summer recipe. I love the idea of the thin crusted tart as I often find that too much pastry can overwhlem the falvour of the vegetables, so this is the perfect solution.

  • Great recipe.

  • Kate

    Don’t we need to fry zucchini for the tarte, or they should be fresh?

    • The zucchini is used raw in this tart, so you should use very fresh zucchini that feels nice and firm.

  • Such a perfect yellow zucchini tarte fine! Where do you buy the japonese mandoline?

    • I bought mine in Tokyo :) but you can find them online, or in professional equipment stores. The brand name is Benriner.

  • Joan

    Ah, that photo..a touch of Summer lightness in the midst of our Australian Winter :-) So light it could fly me thinks.

  • Brilliant. Both tasty and healthy.

  • Madonna

    What a beautiful dish!

    My husband left this morning for a 6,000 mile motorcycle trip. He does this every summer, and I use the time for experimenting with new recipes. I have some Zephyr squash that are almost ready to pick, and this looks like the perfect way to use them. The other kitchen experiments on my list are sourdough bread (especially chocolate!) and making goat cheese.

  • Yogurt pastry! A wonderful idea. Its summer here in Canada and this looks like the perfect thing to serve. I’ll have to try it! Thanks!

  • I love yogurt, and never thought to use it in the crust. Also, since summer squash is in season now this would make a great meal.

  • JLM

    What was the recipe for the swiss chard version? It’s winter here in NZ so no zucchini, but loads of chard (silverbeet).

    • It was a simple quiche: parbaked crust + sautéed chard greens + soaked raisins + a custard filling with eggs and cream.

  • This looks so light and perfect for summer. I’ve never used yogurt in a crust, I’ll hav eto give this a try!

  • Yogurt crust who would of thunk. Sounds delicous.

  • That sure beats popcorn and potato chips as a game-watching snack.

  • Ana

    Clotilde, I’m new to your site but bravo! This tart looks delicious. Miam! (Y viva Espana!)

  • Clotilde, I made this as a freeform tart for supper tonight and it was really gorgeous. I blind baked the tart for 15 minutes with beans, 5 mins without and then put it back with the filling for another 10. I used some leftover sauteed leeks that were in the fridge, a little creme fraiche and fried bacon as the filling, topped with some grated comte and parmesan. The crust stayed lovely and crisp even though the leeks were pretty moist. Many thanks from two satisfied readers – definitely a crust I will use again and again.

    • I’m delighted you liked the crust, Zoë, and your version sounds great. Thanks for sharing!

  • Thanks for sharing this; we had this for dinner two nights ago and it is fantastic. So simple and the mint is just divine!

    • Thanks for reporting back, Holly, I’m glad you liked it!

  • Thanks so much. This sounds really lovely.You could do so much with this.

  • Anjali

    I love this recipe! Especially the use of RAW squash! Perfect timing too, I was looking for more squash recipes to use up what friends had given me from their garden. And the crust was very easy to prepare, sort of like a biscuit dough pressed thin infused with sesame seeds, such a tasty twist. Thanks again for another wonderful recipe!

  • Madonna

    I finally tried the recipe. The crust was golden, flaky, and very delicious. I used ricotta cheese for the filling because my goat cheese supply was running short. I picked some small Zephyr squash yesterday morning, so used those. The result was beautiful. Golden crust, creamy white filling, topped with slices of the pretty yellow and green striped squash.

    Thanks for another great recipe.

    • So happy you liked it, Madonna! And the ricotta must work really well, too.

  • What an unusual recipe, I’d love to try this. Looks so gorgeous and sounds delicious! I love yogurt so how could I go wrong…

  • clotilde… I made this tart — completed tonight as an apéro for friends visiting me from the southwest of France, here in Toronto…

    > I had no problems rolling out the dough still a little cold from being in the fridge overnight… It was exquisite to work with… Soft, silky and very easy to roll… I didn’t even use the parchment but a cloth pastry rolling frame I bought from sur la table and now use for all my dough rolling…

    > I only pricked the dough with a fork and didn’t weigh it down with beans, with no problems… the final baked crust was perfection really and the sesame seeds a truly inspired addition

    > I used sheep fresco cheese (as called by the vendor) which I picked up on Monday from my local farmers’ market — it turned out to be a very luxiourious choice… Instead of mint, I mixed in fresh basil, chives and thyme from my herb garden — quite lovely and paired nicely with the yellow squash

    Overall, just as I never fail to turn to your easy olive oil crust for tarts made in my tart pan, this crust is going to become a staple of my kitchen repertoire… It certainly helps to be able to produce something so simple yet sophisticated with ingredients I always have on hand… Merci!

    • Thanks for reporting back with your variation, Renée, I’m glad you had success with this recipe!

  • Dear Clotilde,

    Thank you for this wonderful recipe! I converted it to gluten-free and it worked perfectly — crispy and chewy and not crumbly at all. I could hardly believe it! This will definitely become a staple in our household. My husband and I are already dreaming up other topping combinations, although we were in love with yellow zucchini, fromage frais and lots of chives from the garden.

    Here is how I changed it to make it gluten-free:

    Instead of wheat flour, use 25 g. chickpea flour, 50 g. tapioca starch, 45 g. arrowroot starch, 60 g. rice flour and 1.5 tsp. guar gum or xanthan gum.

    I also changed the process a little because gluten-free doughs are so finicky:

    Instead of kneading it, I gathered it into a ball and wrapped it in plastic wrap to keep it from drying out. Then I put that in the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes. (Too impatient for the fridge!)

    Instead of rolling it out, I put it onto an oiled baking sheet and put a bit of canola oil on my hands. I then used the heels of my hands to spread the dough across the pan to make a similar free-form shape.

    Then I scattered toasted sesame seeds on top and pushed them in slightly with my fingers.

    I forgot to put the parchment paper and beans on to bake it. It did start to push up a bit, so I threw some beans on top halfway through baking and that worked very well.

    This is possibly the best gluten-free crust I have ever had. Merci, Clotilde, and thank you to the inventor of the inventor of yogurt-based crusts!

    • Wonderful, thanks so much for sharing your gluten-free adaptation, I’m delighted to hear it worked so well!

  • jka

    Wow! This was the first recipe I’ve made from your blog and it was great!

    -like other commentors I didn’t weigh it down with beans
    -I stuck it back in the oven for just a few minutes more after I added the filling
    -I mixed ricotta cheese with the last of my really tasty herbed goat cheese and it was delicious

    I love this dough;the taste, the simplicity-it will become a regular in our house. I’m also happy to have found something with squash that my husband really loves.

    • Wonderful to hear. Thanks so much for reporting back!

  • Clotilde — what a wonderful recipe! My zucchini was slightly too long in the tooth to serve raw, so I put this in the oven to tenderize it. What a great way to use up the CSA zucchini glut.

    I also used ricotta with some garlic oil, and the yogurt I keep on hand, which is low fat. It worked perfectly! What a great substitute for puff pastry. I’ll definitely make it again! Thanks for the wonderful inspiration! I just posted a photo of the results on my blog.

    • So happy to hear it Julia, thanks for letting me know!

  • Mary

    This was wildly delightful, Clotilde – thanks!

    • Delighted to hear it, Mary, thank you!

  • Lindsay

    I made this and used cream cheese instead of goat cheese – it was excellent. Love your site – I’m trying my hand and wild yeast now as well thanks to you.

  • Carla-Maria

    Hi Clotilde

    I stumbled across your blog today and would really like to try this recipe. I was wondering whether it is possible just to use the boring green courgettes? Or is the taste very different? Because I have very little free time, I always end up shopping at my local Tesco Express, which definitely wont be selling the beautiful young yellow ones you used.

    Thank you.

    • You can definitely make this with regular green courgettes, as long as they’re fresh. Try to pick the smallest ones you can find at the store. I also recommend you taste a slice of it raw to see if you like it, as more mature courgettes can be slightly bitter. If you find that you don’t you can always steam them lightly before using them on the tart.

  • Diane


    I’ve been following your blog for a while now and marking a lot of recipes. Today i tried for the first time not one, not two but three of your recipes : the tomato and feta dip, the coconut macaroon and a yogurt crust tarte but with tomatoes and ricotta, because one of my guest doesn’t like zucchini (who doesn’t like zucchini, i can hardly believe it !). I’m pleased to say that they were all a success, i already have an order for more coconut macaroons to bring to work on Monday.

    Thanks a lot for all these nice recipes.

    • I could be happier to hear that, Diane, thank you very much for reporting back!

  • I love zucchini and was looking for appetizer recipes to make with them. I fell in love with this recipe. I will be trying it this weekend!

  • Wow, I want to try that dough. Everywhere I look it’s always with a lot of butter, eggs, etc. the idea with yoghurt seems to be great! I will let you know when I do it :)
    thanks for inspiration

  • Shruti

    Hi Clotilde – it’s me popping up again!

    I tried to keto-fy this recipe by using home made almond meal. Bad idea – I was hoping that the base would at least turn out biscuity and crumbly. It wasn’t meant to be – my base just tastes like a baked chunky almond butter and it is way too soft.

    Note to self – just buy fine almond flour from ze supermarche. And do not mess around with proportions! :D

    On the bright side – the filling is super yummy! Mixed up hung yoghurt, ricotta and chèvre with dill. I used up my zucchini on the granita yesterday, so used finely sliced cucumber.

    Will serve filling rolled up in smoked salmon. And quietly cry into my base.

    • That said, baked chunky almond butter sounds kind of good! Maybe you can sprinkle it over fruit and bake into a crumble?

  • Ah Clotilde, this looks like a perfect summer meal – on my list for very very soon! Endless possibilities for the topping!

  • oneworldplate

    This looks so good it looks dangerous!

  • Lynne Beutlich

    Looks lovely – do you you think the yoghurt pastry would make a good tart flambé..I have not yet made a successful home pastry for tart flambe

    • Tarte flambée is assembled on a more pizza-like dough (and with no fat), so I don’t think this would be the same. It would work really well with any of the typical tarte flambée ingredients on top, though, but wouldn’t pass as a close emulation.

      • Lynne Beutlich

        Thanks – I made the pastry and tried it with the TF ingredients – it was indeed very nice and much better than buying the RF dough….I can never get the yeast based dough to roll thin enough for a good TF so this, even if not authentic (!), was a pleasant suprise

  • This is such a simple but elegant dish, love the colours of the zucchini too, can’t wait to try out the yogurt crust :)

  • Good thing I tested the dough with some “retailles” first: I learned that the dough needs to be really well cooked in order to get crunchy. Otherwise, it’s chewy and unpleasant.

    It’s not zucchini season here, so I’m using tomatoes with basil for a topping, and I’m out of goat cheese so I will use some yogurt cheese that I made.

    The dough is in the oven as I write this: fingers crossed!

    • You’re right, the dough needs to be baked until golden brown. In general, I find all crusts are more flavorful and have better texture if they’re baked until golden brown, rather than just golden. I hope you enjoyed the finished tart!

      • Yes, that’s a big difference between France and North America. Even the potato chips are a sickly pale yellow here!

        The tart turned out very well. Out of habit made it into a classic square French tart shape instead of freeform, cut it into quarters and then filled just one quarter for myself. Finally, I drizzled a “filet” of olive oil over the top.

        By the way, the sesame seed trick was a great one, and worth remembering!

  • Kat

    could you substitute whole wheat flour for part or all of the white flour?

    • Yes, you can! I would start by substituting a third or half, and see how that goes. You’ll likely have to add a bit more water since whole wheat flour has a higher absorbency.

  • TheGaiaGoodnessCo.

    Excellent! This has all my favorite things in it. Yellow squash, goat cheese, and puff pastry. It’s like a delicate Summer pizza. I can’t wait to try it!

  • Nathalie d’Abbadie

    I made this a few weeks ago and it was absolutely delicious! Very light and full of flavour

    • Thanks so much for reporting back. I love this one and I’m glad you share my enthusiasm!

      • Nathalie d’Abbadie

        Hi again Clotilde! I still remember this recipe fondly and I wonder whether it would work if I used soy yoghurt, quality vegetable margarine and spelt flour for the dough? I realise that this would be a completely different recipe, but I am trying to find wheat and dairy free recipes that are simple and fast to make! And this one was so lovely, I’d like to make an equivalent for dairy and wheat free friends! What do you think?

        • There’s a good chance that it would work with those substitutions. The formula is pretty flexible and your suggestions sound safe. What a good friend you are!

          • Nathalie d’Abbadie

            Thank you so much for your speedy reply! I will give it a try and if it looks good I’ll take a photo for you to see ;)

          • I want to see a photo, whether or not it looks good. ^^

          • Nathalie d’Abbadie

            Here it is! I stuck to your idea for the base and improvised from there. I even wrote a blog post about it in the end! I tweeted you the link, but just in case: Thanks so much for the inspiration! I also LOVED your baked falafels ;)

          • Thanks so much Nathalie! So interesting to read about your experiments with this.

          • Nathalie d’Abbadie

            Thank YOU for the inspiration! I’m going to try your olive oil crust next!

          • You’re on a roll! ^^

  • Ella

    Hi Clotilde – I adapted this to make a gluten free pastry and it is THE very best gluten free pastry I have ever had – pliable while making it, the closest to the real thing I’ve had and have been on a gluten free diet since 2004. Thank you!!

    I just replaced the wheat flour for gluten free flour weight for weight and use sheep milk yogurt because that’s what I normally have on had and also rested it over night.

    • That’s great to know, Ella, thank you! What’s in your gluten-free flour mix?

  • cjm

    Hi Clotilde, we absolutely love this crust for tartes fines. Is it possible to use it also for a quiche, or would the sides collapse during the blind bake?
    Do you think this could work with coconut oil?
    Thank you again for all of your hard work — so lovely!

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