Friday, August 26, 2011

Deluxe Raspberry Tart

At the beginning of July I had the pleasure of picking raspberries from the numerous brambles on the property.  The day was thick & muggy, and rain was looming in the skies above.  I quickly gathered one of my baskets lined with a cotton flour sack cloth & made my way to the brambles.  Many of them line our long driveway, so I stopped to pick there first.  I then made my way to the edge of the field to see what I had left.  So many animals partake of the bounty that it's hard to even get some for ourselves.  As I was picking, I thought of ways to use my beautiful raspberries.  Should I make jam with them?  A jelly roll filled with plump berries and some freshly whipped cream also seemed like a good idea.  After awhile though, I quickly envisioned a spectacular tart.  A tart made with a delicious, flaky crust, filled with the silkiest of pastry creams & topped with fresh-off-the-cane, raspberries.  Have a look at how it came together.



D for Deluxe.  D for Delightful.  D for Delicious and of course, D for David.



This is a typical raspberry bramble.  The berries cluster at the ends of the canes and must be plucked gently.  Because the brambles are thorny, it's almost impossible to pick raspberries without getting cut.  I also managed to get bitten by a spider somehow. 




A small batch inside a basket lined with a flour sack cloth.  I was very gentle with these red beauties because they were very ripe, juicy & quite delicate.




Once inside the house, I quickly put them on a rimmed baking sheet & gave them plenty of room so as not to crush them.  Naturally, I popped a few into my mouth & was immediately greeted with delicious perfection.



I blind baked a 9" round cornmeal pâte sucrée  at 375° F for 20 minutes with my pie weights.  I then removed the pie weights, docked the bottom & continued baking the crust for another 15 minutes or so, just until it was cooked & golden in color.  You mustn't let it burn.

After the crust has cooled completely, remove the outer ring of your tart pan & transfer the pastry to a serving platter.  Make a batch of my crème pâtissière (pastry cream) and after it has cooled completely, fill the tart crust.  Smooth out the top with a spatula.  Now the fun begins!




Begin picking out the best looking raspberries, after givng them a good rinse under cold water, and simply arrange them in concentric circles around the rim of the tart.  The decorating is really up to you. 


Note: the tart should be well chilled before serving.  Any leftovers will keep, well covered, in the refrigerator for about 2 days.


Since this is a Deluxe Raspberry Tart, I decided to center a delicious D with the tiniest of my berries. 




This tart is definitely la crème de la crème in my opinion. 



A generous wedge served on an antique British lustreware plate.  The silver is mother of pearl.


This was such a beautiful tart to make and, not only was it delicious, it was also very much of the season.  I kid you not when I say that pastry cream is a wonderfully, silky smooth custard that pairs very well with any berry.  The tart would be just as delectable with blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, fresh currants or even grapes.  I highly recommend that you make one of these the next time you want to impress your guests at a fancy sit down dinner or perhaps a certain someone celebrating a birthday.  Monogram their first initial to make them feel special.  A Deluxe Raspberry Tart from my kitchen to yours.  Cheers!

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