Its SO HOT. Like, stay inside all day with the air conditioning on hot. I'm not great in either super hot or super cold weather, and on crazy hot days I get a serious case of the angries. The only thing that makes really hot days bearable is trips to the Greenmarket in Union Square. Its probably one of my favourite places in the whole of NYC. I love the seasonality of it. I love every part about it.
One of these trips, where we bought some amazing blackberries, coincided with the arrival of two new cook books, Tartine, and Bouchon Bakery. I don't think I will ever get over the novelty of Amazon Prime. Both are amazing. I would love to expand my knowledge on pastry, and these books look like they are going to be a great starting point. That and I happen to have a good friend who is an amazing pastry chef, and doesn't mind when I bomb her with a million questions regarding flavour combinations, advice on blind baking, etc etc.
This tart is a combination of two recipes from the books. The crust is a Pate Sucrée from Bouchon, and the filling is a play on the Blackberry Tart recipe from Tartine. I decided to go with a lavender pastry cream for the filling. The floral taste of the cream compliments the sweetness of the blackberries, and the almond meal in the crust ties it all nicely together. The pastry cream has a little whipped cream folded through it to give it a slightly more light and fluffy texture than regular pastry cream.
If you can, I seriously recommend making some of the components the day before you plan to eat this. The pastry dough benefits from resting overnight, and the pastry cream needs to be cold when you work with it, so if you can, prepare both the dough and the cream the day before. Then the day of, bake off your tart shell, finish off the pastry cream, and assemble the tart.
I made mine in a 13.75" x 4.5" rectangular tart tin with a removable bottom. If you wanted to you could make it as an 8 inch round tart instead - the quantities of each component needed are similar, although you may need more blackberries. Ideally I would have had slightly more berries to put on the top, but somehow some of them 'magically' disappeared from the fridge.
This is best eaten the day that it is made, when the cream is fresh. But its also amazing the next day. And the one after too. Just saying.
One more note: The measurements in the crust recipe are in grams, as dividing the cup measurements made the whole thing very confusing to follow. The majority of pastry recipes are in grams, which I am a huge fan of, as it makes everything so much more accurate, along with ensuring that inaccuracies don't come about by way of conversion mistakes.
Blackberry Lavender tart
-Makes one 8 inch round tart, or one 13 x 4 inch rectangle tart-
188g All-purpose flour
23g Powdered sugar (for the dry ingredients)
47g Powdered sugar (for the wet ingredients)
24g Almond meal
113g (one stick, or 4 oz) Unsalted butter, at room temperature.
1/4 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, or 1 tsp Vanilla Paste
2 cups (500ml/500g) Whole milk
4 Tbsp (10g) Culinary Lavender
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup (115g) Sugar
1/4 cup (30g) Cornstarch
2 Large eggs, lightly beaten
4 Tbsp (55g) Unsalted butter
3/4 cup (175ml) Heavy cream, very cold
2 Pints (570g) Blackberries
- PROCESS -
Sift All-purpose flour, 23g Powdered sugar, and almond meal into a medium bowl. Ensure that there are no lumps in the almond meal by sieving well. Whisk until well combined.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium until it is pale. In the book, they suggest beating it until it 'holds a peak and is the consistency of mayonnaise'. Add the 47g of powdered sugar, and mix briefly to incorporate. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, and mix again on high for one minute, or until fluffy. Add vanilla seeds from the bean, or the vanilla paste, and mix on low until evenly distributed throughout the mixture.
Add the dry ingredients in two parts, mixing well between each addition. Add the egg and mix for another minute or so until cohesive. Transfer to a work surface. Using the heel of your hand, smear the mixture on the surface. Repeat this process until it is evenly mixed and well combined. Shape the dough into a rectangle, and wrap tightly in plastic. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or preferably overnight.
Roll out chilled dough until it is 1/8th of an inch (3mm) thick. Transfer to tart tin, carefully ensuring it is right into the corners. Trim excess dough from edges of tin with a small knife. Keep these scraps in case you need to do a patch job later. Place pastry lined tart tin in the freezer for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350f/180c. Line the tart pan with parchment paper, allowing some to overhang the edges. Fill the paper with rice or beans, ensuring that the tin is evenly filled. Bake for 25 minutes or until the edges are just starting to colour, then remove the paper and beans and bake for another 5-10 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown and cooked through. Remove from the oven and rest on a wire rack until completely cool.
Place milk in a medium saucepan with the salt. Heat until small bubbles appear at the sides of the milk, and it just starts to steam. Add lavender, stir well, cover, and allow to steep for 20-25 minutes. Strain the lavender from the milk, and return the infused milk to the pan.
Prepare a heat resistant bowl with a sieve placed over it for straining the pastry cream. In another bowl, whisk together the corn starch, sugar, and eggs.
Heat the infused milk on a medium heat until it is just close to a boil. Whisk frequently to prevent it from catching. Remove from heat, and pour about a quarter of the milk mixture into the egg/sugar/cornstarch mixture, whisking constantly. Add another quarter of the milk, and whisk until well combined. This step tempers the eggs to ensure that they will not scramble when added to the hot milk.
Add the egg and milk mixture back into the saucepan, and place it over medium heat. Whisk until it reaches the consistency of lightly whipped cream. Watch this stage very carefully, as this process happens very quickly. Pour the mixture through the sieve into the prepared bowl. Let the pastry cream cool for approximately 10 minutes, or until it is 140f/60c. While it is cooling, cut the butter up into tablespoon sized chunks. Add the butter to the pastry cream one chunk at a time, whisking until completely combined. Let it cool for a few minutes more, then place plastic wrap directly onto the pastry cream to ensure a skin does not form. Refrigerate until completely cold.
In a stand mixer, or in a mixing bowl, whip the cream until medium-stiff form. You want it to have a similar consistency to that of the pastry cream, so that they incorporate nicely when you combine them. Gently fold the cream into the whipped pastry cream. Be careful not to over-mix.
Scoop the filling into the prepared cooled tart shell, and smooth off with an offset spatula. Arrange blackberries on top of the filling. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Just before serving, if desired, dust lightly with icing sugar.