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 30. That’s it! I cheated and used an already-made round of pie crust (the ones you buy rolled up, two in a box). Of course, you can use a single portion of homemade pie dough.
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. 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 granulated sugar. Place the tart in the oven and bake it until the berry filling is starting to bubble, and the crust is golden brown, 30-35 minutes.
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 OR white granulated sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch OR all purpose flour
2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
zest from 1/2 small lemon
1 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract
1 egg, beaten well (for egg wash)
granulated sugar, for sprinkling*
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.
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 granulated sugar along the edges of the tart where the beaten egg is exposed.
Bake for 30-35 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.
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