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.
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?
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.
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?
Prep time: + dough chilling time
Category: Pies & tarts
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)
2 heaped tbsp basil sugar (recipe below)
1/2 tsp lemon zest
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.
150g caster sugar