My berry addiction continues as squeezing in summer recipes feels all the more imperative – the shadows are getting longer earlier in my favorite sunny nook off our kitchen. To the urgency add a coincidental l stop at a farmer’s market that had an overage of black berries, plus a huge berry sale at Whole Foods to make this special treat justifiable (it requires a ton of berries), and an all-berry bake was inevitable.
I’m not sure if my favorite part of this tart-pie hybrid was eating it, or discovering how well it held up with a very thin crumb crust, even after a whole day. As delicious as it is, just might be the latter, I think because the inches-high, solid-packed, whole berry filling feels particularly satisfying after many a pie in which a soggy puddle of ingredients beneath a lofty crust left me scratching my head. I made this for a small but exciting dinner party this past Friday (exciting because it was our first time hosting in our new home and the flow was comfortable) and on Saturday was marveling at both the sustained structure of the filling and the sturdiness of the unsupported crust.
I think there were a few forces at work. Re the filling: I kept the berries to room temperature before beginning to work with them, so that there was no ‘sweat’ on the surface of the berries (as there would have been had they been refrigerated). But, I coated them with lemon juice before adding the dry ingredients, so that the dry ingredients would cling evenly to each berry, vs forming clumps independent of the berries. Which led to: 1.) a filling mixture that was not watery 2.) a coating around each berry to absorb most of the moisture released during baking. As you can see and imagine, there was a certain degree of runniness to the filling after baking, but the more significant attribute was that it was thick and held up, even after the pie was sliced and even after 24 hours. Re the crust: It was briefly baked before being filled, as most tart crusts are, but then it was allowed to cool twice – before being filled and before the sides of the pan were removed. I also offer an educated guess that using cake flour and powdered sugar, vs all-purpose and granulated, allowed for a finer, smaller crust consistency that was more apt to hold it’s bond even when thinned out. The egg yolk probably didn’t hurt the cause either.
This tart made for an incredible dessert, breakfast, and afternoon snack. Plus, it was very pretty and inviting during our little party! About half of it now sits in our freezer, waiting for the day in September when there are no more fresh berries, overages at the farmer’s market, flash sales at the store or otherwise!
Triple Berry Hybrid
Hands On Time: 30 Minutes
Special Equipment: Food processor, 9″ Spring-form pan, Rolling pin
- For the Crust:
- 2 Cups (8 oz) Cake/Pastry Flour
- 1/3 Cup Powdered Sugar
- 1/3 Cup Chopped Toasted Pecans
- 1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
- 1/2 Tsp Salt, Divided into two 1/4 Tsps
- 1/2 Cup (1 Stick) Cold Butter, cut into small cubes
- 1 Large Egg Yolk
- Ice Water
- Cooking Spray
- For the Filling:
- 4 Cups Blackberries
- 3 Cups Blueberries
- 2 Cups Raspberries
- 1/4 Cup Granulated Sugar
- 3 Tablespoons Cornstarch
- 1 Tablespoon Fresh Lemon Juice
- For the Crust:
- Add cake flour, powdered sugar, pecans, brown sugar and 1/4 tsp to food processor, pulse 3-4 times to incorporate.
- Add butter and pulse about 10 times, until the mix looks pebbly.
- Add egg yolk, pulse to combine. Mixture should still look pebbly.
- Coat the spring-form pan with cooking spray, then sprinkle two cups of the crumb mixture into the pan. (There will be an ample amount left in the processor – leave it there.)
- Press mixture into thin layer on the bottom and sides of the pan. It will flatten out and stick to the pan easily, however this part may take the most time as you carefully ‘cut and paste’ thicker sections of the bottom to cover the sides.
- Once the mixture is spread over the bottom and sides, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for one hour.
- Add one teaspoon ice water to the remaining crumb mixture in the food processor and pulse until dough comes together in a ball. If necessary add additional ice water, *one teaspoon at a time*.
- Wrap dough ball in plastic wrap and refrigerate for one hour.
- If storing berries in fridge, set aside on countertop.
- Clean up all prep materials & set aside large mixing bowl, whisk and large mixing spoon.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Remove crumb-lined spring-form pan from fridge and discard plastic wrap.
- Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper, then place small weights (anything from actual pie weights to small oven proof bowls will work) on parchment paper.
- Bake at 400 degrees F for 10 minutes, then set aside to cool for 10 minutes. Do not adjust spring-form pan!
- For the Filling:
- Add the granulated sugar, cornstarch and 1/4 tsp salt to a small mixing bowl, gently whisk to incorporate
- Place the berries in a large mixing bowl and pour lemon juice over. Using the large mixing spoon, fold berries over a few times to distribute lemon juice.
- Sprinkle the sugar & cornstarch mixture over the berries, then gently fold berries over as many times as needed to throughly coat the entire batch, working slowly to avoid breaking/mushing the berries.
- Bringing it together:
- Remove the dough ball from the fridge and set on a lightly floured surface.
- Using a lightly floured rolling pin, gently roll out the dough until you have a 9″ circle or oval.
- Gently spoon the berry mixture into the cooled crumb crust.
- Cut the rolled dough into strips and layer over the berries. (I attempted to weave the dough in a literal lattice and had some breakage! Perpendicular strips would work just as well.)
- Bake at 400 degrees F for 40 minutes.
- Allow to cool for 20-40 minutes before removing sides from spring-form pan.
- Set tart on a serving plate. No need to remove bottom of pan.
Note: A version of this recipe originally appeared in Cooking Light’s Cakes, Pies & Cobblers Summer 2014 bookazine.