Faced with buckets of blackberries in my kitchen (see our recent berry picking adventures here and here), I went a-hunting for a delicious baked good to showcase our wild harvest. According to my friends and my husband (a tough one to please when it comes to sweets; I think sometimes that he’d never notice if desserts ceased to exist), these little tarts/pies take the cake… so to speak.
I adapted my recipe from one of my favorite cookbooks: The Pastry Queen. (Thanks for the great wedding gift, Josh and Becca!*) The recipe in this book is for “Emergency Fruit Crostatas,” which are delicious but enormous. I used the same dough but adapted the size to be more that of a cookie. A little mini pie. Nom nom nom.
Here are some pictures to guide you through the process. (Please excuse my little helper’s lack of clothing. Remember last summer when all she wore was diapers? This is the two-year-old version of diapers, I guess. It’s too hot for anything else!)
The kitchen-friendly recipe is at the end of this post.
To begin, mix sugar, flour, and salt in a food processor. (Note: I only have a mini food processor, which is too small to fit all the ingredients at once. I divide the ingredients and mix everything in two batches.)
Add butter and then ice-cold water and mix some more. Remove the dough, wrap in plastic, and chill in the refrigerator 1 hr or until firm enough to handle.
At this point you can make the original Fruit Crostatas from the dough with whatever berries you have on hand (including frozen). Just divide the dough into four parts, pat each one into a circular shape, spoon berries into the middle, and form the dough around it to make a triangle. I made these way-back-when my doula came for a home visit before Lena was born. She and I both loved them but thought they were just too big. Here’s a smaller, even cuter version:
Using biscuit cutters or cups of different sizes, cut out smaller circles (mine were about 2 inches in diameter) and larger circles (about 3 inches in diameter). I managed to get about 26 circles from the dough for a total of 13 tarts.
Put the smaller circles onto a tray lined with parchment paper. Pile the berries onto the dough, pressing them down and piling them up as best you can. I tried to get at least 10 berries on each little circle of dough.
If desired, sprinkle generously with sugar. (I usually don’t add sugar until the end, but if you have a sweet tooth or very tart berries, go ahead!)
Gently place the larger circle of dough on top of each pile of berries. Tuck the ends underneath the smaller circle. Gently cut slits in the top of the pie/tart (I made a + sign) with a sharp knife. Sprinkle with sugar.
Slip into a 450 degree F oven for about 10-12 min or until the edges of the tarts are golden. Eat (perhaps with vanilla ice cream?) and enjoy!
*This is a different Becca and Josh than the Arthurs. Yes, we have two couple friends named Becca and Josh… and get this: they named their son Elliot. How crazy is that?!
Wild Blackberry Tarts Recipe
- ½ cup sugar
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) chilled butter, cut into small pieces
- 4 tablespoons ice water
- 1 cup fruit
- Preheat oven 450 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or butter generously.
- In a food processor fitted with a metal blade, pulse together the sugar, flour, and salt.
- Add the butter and pulse 3 to 5 times, until the mixture is crumbly.
- Pour the water through the feed tube 1 tablespoon at a time, and pulse until the dough begins to hold together. (Note: I usually just need 1 tablespoon of water.)
- Remove the dough, shape it into a ball, wrap it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 1 hr. (If you are in a huge hurry — which I often am — freeze the wrapped dough just log enough to prepare the fruit filling. It will be a little harder to work with, but it’s an acceptable trade-off when time is short.)
- Roll out the dough on a floured surface. Cut out approximately 12 circles that are 2 inches in diameter and 12 circles that are 3 inches in diameter.
- Place the smaller circles on the baking sheet. Pile as many berries as you can onto the circle of dough. (Note: I fit about 10 onto each circle, but this number will vary with the size of your circles and your berries.)
- Carefully place the larger circles of dough over the berries. Tuck the edges of the dough underneath the smaller circle.
- Cut slits (I made a + sign) on the top of the tart. Sprinkle generously with sugar.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on the baking sheet for no more than 10 minutes or they might be difficult to remove whole.
- Serve warm or room temperature… preferably with vanilla ice cream!