Berries are quite possibly THE thing I love the most about summer and the presence of berry desserts signals holiday for me more than anything else. As every Russian child that grew up in the city I loved going away to a “dacha” on weekends and getting lost in the garden picking or, more likely, eating copious amounts of plentiful fruits and berries.
I was quite disappointed when I first moved to the States to find that the “berries” were reduced to strawberries, blueberries and raspberries, and perhaps blackberries if you are lucky. In my world there were so much more! What about gooseberries, wild strawberries. black, red and white currants?
- Mixed seasonal berries- 600 gr
- Meringue nests (broken)-4
- Double Cream- 250 gr/1 cup
- Creme Fraiche- 125 gr/1/2 cup
- Icing Sugar- 1/4 cup
- Vanilla bean (seeds scraped out)-1
- Rum (optional)- 1 tbsp.
For the tart:
- Flour-250 gr plus extra for dusting
- Icing sugar-50 gr
- Unsalted butter (cut into small cubes)-125 gr
- Egg-1 large
- Milk- a little splash
- Butter for greasing the tart tin
First off, if you can find a great tasting all butter pre-made tart and it’s blazing hot outside, go ahead and purchase one! I am all about shortcuts in the kitchen as long as it doesn’t compromise the taste.
If no such tart available here is what you will do:
Mix the flour and icing sugar in a large bowl, add cubed butter and work it in the mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs. Add your egg and a bit of milk just to bring the dough together, form it into a ball. Wrap it in a plastic wrap and put it in the fridge for 30 min.
Sprinkle your work surface and the rolling pin with some flour, take the dough out of the fridge and roll it out big enough to fit a 9″ loose bottomed tart tin. Grease your tart tin with some butter, drape your dough over the rolling pin and transfer it into the tart tin making sure it comes up the sides, trim off the extra bits and prick it with a fork all over, cover it with a plastic wrap and put it back in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Pre-heat your oven to 180C/350F. Take the tart dough out of the fridge and line it with parchment paper pushing it into the sides, fill the tart with baking beans or rice and bake it “blind” for 10 minutes, take it out, removes the baking beans and parchment paper and bake for 10 minutes longer until firm and golden, cool completely before filling it. (Note: Don’t be tempted to skip the blind baking step, otherwise your tart shell will shrink. I’ve learned the hard way.)
Before serving whip the double cream and creme fraiche with icing sugar, vanilla bean seeds and rum until soft peaks form. Mix it with broken meringue nests and fill your tart with the mixture. Top with mixed berries.
In the last week I’ve made this tart twice!
For this one I used raspberries, blueberries and blackberries.