After the longest winter ever here in NYC, it's finally summer! It's time to rock maxi dresses at day parties on Brooklyn rooftops, walk through the filthy streets of Manhattan in open-toed sandals... and most of all, it's time for berries! Strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries-- all of the berries!
I admit that I'm spoiled when it comes to fresh berries. Where I grew up in South Louisiana, there was an abundance of these juicy, sweet, and sometimes tart little treats. We had blackberries growing wild behind our house. We would pick blueberries on blistering hot June days. And of course, there was no shortage of fresh-off-the-vine strawberries.
I may not find any wild blackberries growing behind my rented studio apartment of a Harlem brownstone, but we city dwellers and suburban folk alike can partake in summer's berry bounty. Berries are both ripe and affordable right now.
This "Rustic Berry Tart" (or "Berry Galette" if you wanna be fancy) is one of the easiest, tastiest summertime treats I know. I whipped this up in about 10 minutes, then baked it for about 25 or 30. That's it! I cheated and use an already-made round of pie crust (the ones you buy rolled up, two in a box-- not pressed into a pie pan). Of course, you can use a single portion of homemade pie dough (and homemade pie dough is always a good thing!
To make this tart, I put 16 ounces of berries in a bowl. I used a combination of blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries. Mine were fresh, but it's ok to use frozen- just make sure you thaw and drain them first. Put the mixed berries in a medium sized bowl (any combination of berries you like!); then added 1/3 cup packed brown sugar, 2 tablespoons cornstarch, 2 tablespoons melted butter, zest and juice from half of a lemon, and a teaspoon of vanilla extract. Use a large spoon (or your fingertips) to mix well. Set the berries aside and preheat the oven to 400 F.
Place a piece of parchment paper on your work surface and lightly sprinkle flour onto the parchment paper. Unroll the pie dough round onto the lightly floured parchment paper (or roll out the rested pie dough if you're using homemade pie dough) into a 12-inch round on parchment paper. I like to take my rolling pin and roll it to expand the diameter just a couple of more inches, but this step is optional! Next, add the berries to the center of the dough round. Don't put any berries in the last 2-3 inches around the edge of the circle of dough. Smooth the berries out so they form an even layer. Next, carefully fold the edges of pastry over the filling, pleating it every few inches. Slide the parchment paper onto a baking sheet and let it chill in the fridge for 15 minutes.
Remove the galette from the fridge, and brush egg wash on the edges, and then generously sprinkle with demerara sugar (or just regular granulated sugar works fine too!) Place the tart in the oven and bake it until the berry filling is starting to bubble, and the crust is golden brown. It took about 30 minutes in my oven.
Remove from the oven and slide the parchment paper onto a cooling rack. Let the tart cool for about 10 minutes, and slice it and serve. Definitely add a scoop of ice cream on top of each piece (not a serving suggestion--it's a serving requirement).
Rustic Berry Tart (serves 8)
One round of pre-packaged pie crust (or homemade pie crust for a single tart)
16 ounces mixed berries, fresh or frozen (455 grams)
1/3 cup packed brown sugar, light or dark brown sugar is ok
2 tablespoons cornstarch*
2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
zest from 1/2 small lemon
1 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract
1 egg, beaten well (for egg wash)
all-purpose flour, for sprinkling
demerara sugar, for sprinkling*
*You may substitute with granulated sugar
In a medium sized bowl, combine the berries, brown sugar, cornstarch, melted butter, lemon zest, and vanilla extract. (If using frozen berries, allow them to thaw and drain them prior to using.) Set the bowl aside and preheat the oven to 400 F.
Cut a square of parchment paper that's the size of a baking sheet. Place the parchment paper on the work surface and lightly sprinkle it with flour. Place the round of dough on the parchment paper. If desired, use a rolling pin to carefully the roll the dough out so that it stretches a couple of inches. Be careful to maintain the dough's round shape.
Place the mixed berry mixture in the center of the dough. Spread it in an even layer, but leave two to three inches around the edges free from any berries. Fold the edges of pastry over the filling, pleating it every few inches. Slide the parchment paper onto a baking sheet and let it chill in the fridge for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, take a single egg and thoroughly beat it. Once the tart has chilled, remove it from the refrigerator. With a pastry brush (or even a paper towel if you don't have a pastry brush), brush (or pat) the egg wash along the edge of the pastry. Next, generously sprinkle demerara sugar along the edges of the tart where the beaten egg is exposed.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the berry filling is bubbling over and the edges are golden-brown. Remove from the oven and slide the parchment paper onto a cooling rack. Let cool about 10 minutes before slicing. Be sure to serve with a scoop of ice cream.