Berry Tarts

Berry Tarts

Berry Tarts

I tend to forget things lately. A lot. There are at least four different post-it notes hanging from all sorts of places in our apartment every day. Every time I walk by one of them, I can almost feel it mocking me and my pour memory capacity. But, the truth is, I can’t get things done without notes and reminders anymore. I forget even the important things.

Berry Tarts

Sometimes I’ll remember things, too. But, the chances of getting at least one detail wrong are quite high. For instance, I remembered that BakeNoir was launched in July two years ago (two years, wow!), and then I got the date wrong. I was so sure it was today that I didn’t even bother to check. I decided to make a simple but totally awesome berry tart that we both love. I make versions of it throughout the summer and we never get tired of it. It’s a dessert worthy of such an important anniversary, I thought. And it was.

When I finally sat down to write about how marvelous last two years were (marvelous, indeed!), I decided to check the date, just to be sure. The blogoversary is not today, but I suppose you’ve already guessed that. Now, that’s awkward. I think I’ll write myself a post-it note next year. To make things worse, I am now haunted by the thought that perhaps there was something else, something incredibly important, on my agenda today. Why else would I have remembered this date?

Basil Sugar

While I deal with the awkwardness, you should make these berry tarts. Use a combination of berries you like the most, but hurry up while they’re still in season. There’s something magical and sexy about those plump juicy berries. I love to combine them with delicate buttery pastry to create interest and contrasting textures. They work so well together. The element of surprise here is basil sugar that I used in the filling. You won’t really taste the basil much, but it creates another layer of flavor and makes the tarts more interesting and fresh.

Berry Tarts

Making your own herb sugar is really easy. All you need is a fresh herb (basil, thyme, mint, lemon balm…), sugar, a food processor and 5 minutes of your time. Herb sugars are a great way to add freshness and subtle layers of flavors to your desserts. They look awesome, too. Once you’ve made your herb sugar, store it in a glass jar with a lid and use it to replace some or all of the sugar in your baking. Experiment. Go wild! That’s what summer is all about, isn’t it?

Basil Sugar

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Berry Tarts

Yields 4 small tarts
Prep time: + dough chilling time
Cook time:
Total time:
Difficulty: Intermediate

Category: Pies & tarts
I love combining summer berries with delicate buttery pastry to create interest and contrasting textures. They work so well together. Feel free to use a combination of berries you like the most. The element of surprise here is basil sugar in the filling. You won’t really taste the basil much, but it creates another layer of flavor and makes the tarts more interesting and fresh. You could replace the berries with stone fruit and make thyme sugar to go with it. If you don’t have any basil, use regular caster sugar. These tarts are especially good when served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
For the crust:
Ingredients
150g flour
pinch of salt
1 tbsp sugar
80g butter, diced
2-3 tbsp cold water
1 tbsp milk + 1 tsp sugar (to brush the crust before baking)
Directions
In the bowl of a food processor, combine flour, salt and sugar and pulse to combine. Add butter, and pulse until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add 2 tablespoons of water and process just until dough holds together without being wet or sticky. Do not process more than 30 seconds. If it is still too crumbly, add a bit more water. Turn out the dough onto a clean work surface, divide it in half and shape each half into a flattened disk. Wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
For the berry filling:
Ingredients
260g fresh berries (raspberries, blueberries and blackberries)
2 heaped tbsp basil sugar (recipe below)
1/2 tsp lemon zest
Directions
Toss the berries, basil sugar and lemon zest together in a bowl and let it marinate for 20 minutes.
Butter four 10cm tart rings. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Take one half of the chilled dough and roll it out. Cut out circles slightly bigger than your tart rings, transfer and press the dough gently with your fingers into the bottom and sides of the tart rings. Scrape the remaining dough, knead it until it comes together, roll out and repeat the process.
Spoon the filling, including any accumulated juices, in an even layer into bottom of tart shells.
Roll out the other half of the dough. To make a lattice-top, cut the dough into 5-6mm wide strips. Arrange every other strip across your pie filling in one direction, spacing the strips evenly. Fold back every other strip gently on itself and start adding the remaining strips in the other direction. Fold the strips back down, repeat with the other strips until a full lattice-top is formed. Trim the lattice’s overhang to the diameter of tart rings. Brush the top with milk and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until golden brown.
Let the tarts cool before taking them out of tart rings. Sprinkle with some powdered sugar and fresh berries. Vanilla ice-cream would be great, too.
For the basil sugar:
Ingredients
1 handful fresh basil leaves
150g caster sugar
Directions
Wash the basil leaves and pat them dry. Put them in your food processor and pulse until very fine. Add sugar and pulse until well incorporated. Transfer to a jar with a lid and use in your baking. You could also freeze it.

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