Fresh Raspberry TartIt is time once again for my annual raspberry post. You see, early June is mytime to contemplate all things raspberry. Why now? What’s stopping me frommeditating on the delights of baked and fresh raspberry dishes in, say, April whenspring starts, or July when everyone is making juicy fruit crisps? The answer issimple really: raspberries are actually in season now. Not in April or July. Now.Sure you can buy raspberries all year long; and if you’re a commercial grower I’msure you can extend the season from early spring to late summer or even fall. Butif you are a home gardener, this is your raspberry moment.One thing to know about growing your own raspberries is that you canpretty much forget about the vines for most of the year. In my backyard, they sitalongside a fence near the barbecue. Throughout the summer they pretty muchact as a green foliage background to cover up the fence. When summer is done,their leaves change color a bit and then start to fall, memories of their lusciousfruit barely concealed by the apples that are ripening heavily above them. By thetime winter arrives, I’m focused on pruning, cutting back dead wooden stalks to
make room for younger shoots that will emerge soon, the skeletons of old flowerbuds that once housed berries now dry and sitting vacant. When spring arrives Iam struck with just how lovely the small white flower buds are, peaking out of theverdant green leaves that are new and growing toward the sky. I’m alwaysamazed at just how tall those vines then become in the span of a month or two,maturing and getting leggy like a young teenager until they reach the lower limbsof my apple tree. And then just when I’m getting ready for summer, the berriesappear. It’s clandestine at first, with only a few hiding under lower leaves, theirrich raspberry red peeking out. Excited and anxious to taste them, my familystands right out amidst the vines, eating as we pick, with none making their wayinto the house. Each day more berries ripen, until we are overwhelmed with thema week later, the vines literally drooping, laden with fruit.It seem miraculous just how big my patch has become, and numerous theberries. After all, I planted only one lone vine in a gallon pot six years ago. Sincethat time, my patch has grown from a small one-foot area to 10 feet, nowspanning half my side yard. Even better is that these vines are thornless, so I canlet my kids romp through them on berry-picking missions without worrying aboutscratched arms or poked faces.
So what do we do with our haul of berries? In years past we have eaten our shareof berry shortcakes and I’ve also tried my hand at making raspberry jam. Thisyear, however, I decided to focus on making tarts. After years of purchasingexpensive pastry cream and fruit tarts from La Farine, I thought it was time to getover my fear of making the perfect crust and cream filling. When all was said anddone, my trusty pie crust recipe (which is really BAB blogger, Kim Laidlaw’s crustrecipe) worked beautifully, and the pastry cream (a Williams-Sonoma recipe)couldn’t have been easier to whip up. My husband even said he liked the tartbetter than La Farine’s, although I wonder if he just liked saving the money.So if you find yourself with some sweet ripe raspberries, try making a tart. It’sreally the nicest way I can think of to bask in the season.
Recipe: Seasonal Raspberry Tart with Pastry CreamA summer tart made with freshly prepared pastry cream, a flaky crust and just-picked raspberries.Prep time: 20 minutesCook time: 30 minutesTotal time: 50 minutesYield: 1 10-inch tartIngredients: 2 cups fresh raspberries (washed and air dried) 1 batch pastry cream (see recipe below) 1 batch of tart dough (see recipe below)
Instructions:1. Fit tart dough into your pan and blind bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees. Besure to set some foil or parchment paper on top of the dough and then weigh itdown with either pie weights or dried beans (which will become inedible afterbaking) to keep the dough from bubbling up in the oven.2. Remove tart dough from the oven and remove the pie weights/beans andparchment paper/foil. Bake for another 10 minutes or until golden brown.Remove from oven and cool.
3. When crust is cooled, spread the pastry cream along the bottom and thennestle the raspberries on top. You can dump them all on or organize in circles fora more uniform appearance.4. Serve as is or top with whipped cream.Recipe: Pastry CreamCook time: 15 minutesYield: 1 cupIngredients: 1 cup milk 2 egg yolks 1/4 cup sugar 4 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch pinch of salt 2 tablespoons unsalted butter 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Instructions:In a small, heavy saucepan over medium heat, bring the milk to a simmer.Meanwhile, in a heatproof bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch,and salt until well blended. Slowly add about one-third of the hot milk to the bowlwith the yolk-sugar mixture, whisking constantly. Then pour the combinedmixture back into the saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly,until the mixture comes to a boil and thickens slightly, about 3 minutes. Continuecooking, stirring constantly, for 1 minute longer.Remove from the heat and pour through a fine-mesh sieve placed over aheatproof bowl. Gently stir in the butter until melted, then stir in the vanilla.Cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly onto the surface to prevent a skinfrom forming. Poke a few holes in the plastic wrap to hasten cooling. Let cool,then cover tightly and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 2 hours, or up to 3days.Recipe: Flaky Pie or Tart DoughPrep time: 10 minutes + 30 minutes refrigerationCook time: 30 minutesYield: Enough for one 10-inch tartIngredients: 1 cups all-purpose flour 1/4 teaspoon kosher or sea salt 6 tablespoons very cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes 1/4 cup ice water + 1 tablespoon
Instructions:1. To make the crust, in the bowl of a food processor, stir together the flour, andsalt. Sprinkle the butter over the top and process for a few seconds, or just untilthe butter is slightly broken up into the flour but still in visible pieces. Sprinkle thewater over the flour mixture evenly, then process until the mixture just starts tocome together.2. Dump the mixture out of the bowl onto 2 large sheets of plastic wrap. Press thedough together into a mound and then wrap with plastic and press into a flat disk.Refrigerate the dough until chilled, about 30 minutes or up to 1 day, or freeze forup to 1 month.Source: http://blogs.kqed.org/bayareabites/2011/06/09/fresh-raspberry-tart/