Monday, August 24, 2009

BLACKBERRY RASPBERRY CREAM TART

FOUR AND TWENTY BLACKBERRIES BAKED IN A PIE


I have always viewed the pie as truly all-American. Other countries have their tartes, fine delicate beauties, perfect rounds of tissue paper-thin golden pastry, slivers of jewel-colored fruits, flavorful and ripe, swirled in the most impeccable of flowerlike designs and glazed shiny like a diamond flashing in the sun. Some countries serve tortes, dense and rich, more often than not cake-based, sweet layers of jam and slathered with creamy frosting or blanketed under dark chocolate ganache and decorated with delightful chocolate frills or pearls of chopped nuts or swirls of whipped cream, as dreamy and beautiful to stare at as to eat. I’ve had my share whether in France or Hungary, in Michelin-starred restaurants following perfect meals or in gorgeous salon de thé, all red velvet swags and gilded touches.

Yet as far as pie is concerned, there is something oh-so-American in spirit in their simplicity and their over-abundance. Two- crusts instead of one, jammed packed with as much fruit as you can pile into the shell before it tumbles out all over the table, impossibly thick pies made out of the most unlikely things from pumpkin to sweet potato to molasses to peanut butter, flavors seen no where else. Or light as air cream pies that reach to the skies, oodles of whipped cream piled to dizzying heights adding to the utter sigh-heaving pleasure. Lemon, with or without the cloudlike mountain of sweet meringue, tangy and fluorescent, coconut or chocolate, coffee or banana, Americans’ can-do spirit translates into “can make a pie out of anything”.


And pies celebrate! What is Thanksgiving without pumpkin or apple, redolent of cinnamon and Autumn? Or Christmas and Mince or Pecan, so sweet to soothe the worst sweet tooth in the room. Blueberry and cherry pies standing at attention like Revolutionary War soldiers up and down every Fourth of July picnic table buffet and cream pies tossed one after the other into faces at every school fête or State Fair amid screams of delight.


We didn’t get pies very often at home when I was a kid. Desserts were usually cakes, Bundt or marble sheet cakes. Or dad made his magical choux puffs filled with pudding or his sweet fruit compote. If we were lucky, Mrs. Rosenberg sent over a marvelous sweet Noodle Kugel studded with raisins. I remember mom made banana cream pie, bananas layered with boxed vanilla pudding all atop ‘Nilla Wafer cookies. I loved it! I do have a hazy memory of poor mom actually making a cream pie from scratch: as she carefully lifted it up off of the countertop and turned to very carefully carry it across the kitchen to place in the preheated oven, whoops she lost her balance and the whole pie flipped over and landed with a splash onto the floor.

Pies were restaurant treats for me. Dinner or lunch at one of those all-night chain Family-style Restaurants or the local diner would invariably end with a huge slice of pie: I was forever torn between choosing the chocolate cream or the lemon meringue. A seafood dinner out at a southern Florida-style restaurant would call for either the Key Lime or the very decadent Mud Pie. Cake we could eat at home, but pies were “restaurant fare”, as American as the diner and the drive-thru.


Now, I make my fare share of Pumpkin, Lemon, Cherry and Apple Pies at home, the more “American” the better. It brings something from “home” into my home. My sons’ friends love these exotic treats, so different from what they are used to, so extraordinary. Yet summer’s bounty of beautiful, delicate berries calls for something a little more elegant. These luscious jewels, blackberries and raspberries, shouldn’t be crammed packed all tumbled and jumbled together like any other more ordinary fruit. Each berry should remain whole in all of her glorious perfection, each mouthful offering a burst of juice and flavor simply surrounded by a smooth, silky cream filling to emphasize the beauty of the fruit and adding that note of elegance and sweetness.


Not really American, yet not French either, this is a wonderful, unique pie, if you will, or tart, if you prefer. It is luxury itself.


BLACKBERRY RASPBERRY CREAM TART

1 Sweet Pastry Crust (see here for recipe and step-by-step instructions)

½ pint each fresh blackberries and fresh raspberries, rinsed very quickly if need be
2 large eggs
½ cup sugar
2 Tbs flour
½ cup (125 ml) crème fraîche ( I used 0% fat fromage frais which is similar to quark)


Gently roll out chilled pastry dough and fit it into an 8-inch (22 cm) pie dish or springform pan. Trim and flute edges. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C).

In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs and the sugar. Stir the flour into the crème fraîche until thoroughly blended. Whisk this into the egg/sugar mixture until blended.


Take the tart crust out of the refrigerator and evenly distribute the berries in the shell. Place the pie pan on a cookie sheet.


Pour the cream filling slowly over the berries to cover evenly but not push the berries around.


Bake the tart for 30 to 35 minutes until the crust is browned and the cream filling is puffed and set in the center. The filling may or may not brown, depending on your oven.


Allow to come to room temperature before serving.


Dreamy!

37 comments:

aforkfulofspaghetti said...

Looks exceedingly delicious - I think I can taste it from here!

scraps said...

Jamie,
This looks so creamy and light. I love all kinds of berries. Could you let me know what is creme fraiche or quark? Is it like heavy whip cream? I like the idea that it is in a spring-form pan. Your recipes are so amazing!

Mowielicious said...

Oh yum! That looks scrumptious - must give it a try =)

Jamie said...

@scraps: your question has led me to discover a great site which explains them all!

http://thymeforcooking.com/kitchen/dairy.html

Fromage frais and quark (tho I've never actually seen quark except on the net) has the consistency of sour cream though lower in fat, so lighter, and with less tang. Crème fraîche is closer to sour cream in thickness and taste. This site says that fromage frais can also be replaced with a ricotta, but I tend to think a low-fat Greek yogurt would be better although, again, tangier.

Barbara Bakes said...

Yum! I want to live at your house!

La Table De Nana said...

Looks FABULOUSLY up my alley:) Thank you! May I borrow your first two photos to make little tags?

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Pies are also very English ;-P... Your tart looks fabulous!

Cheers,

Rosa

5 Star Foodie said...

Oh so very decadent! A gorgeous tart, love the delicious berries!

Heavenly Housewife said...

Hmmm, this looks lovely. I especially like the look of the texture. In France, do you think this would be considered a flan?

Jamie said...

@Barbara Bakes: as much fun as it would be having you live here, husband may go nuts with all the baked good we'd be pumping out of the kitchen :-)

@Nana: of course you may borrow them. I find them on the internet just using my sharp detective skills.

@Rosa: I knew somebody would call me on that! LOL! I thought of you!

@Heavenly Housewife: no, this is not a flan, it is much much lighter and creamier. A flan is a heavy baked custard where this is pretty much a sweetened cooked cream.

Natashya said...

Oh my!
My birthday is in a few weeks, please bring me one of these gorgeous pies!

KennyT said...

Jamie, pls gimme some!

Mary said...

This looks wonderful. I have an apple pie that I make with a cream cheese custard that's nice, but I think this will put my effort to shame. I can't wait to try this. Have a great day.

Chef Jeena said...

American or French it looks totally gorgeous!!!

Hilda said...

Get thee to your husband's camera and start figuring it out, NOW!!!!! You take great pictures with the camera that's not really a still camera so I'm sure your pictures with a proper camera would be a lot better. And also you'd fix the blue issue more easily, although it's not really much of a problem as far as I can tell. ;)

Judi G. said...

Hi, This looks lovely... Fresh and light. In you instructions you say mix creme fraiche with flour, but you don't mention flour in your ingredients list? How much flour please?

Daily Spud said...

That pie or tart or whatever it may be is a thing of beauty. And we won't get into the semantics of is-it-a-berry-or-not :) You started with some beautiful fruit and you've made something more than beautiful with them.

Cinnamon Girl aka Reeni♥ said...

How heavenly delicious this looks with that luscious cream and fresh berries! Just beautiful!

Donna-FFW said...

That looks like a slice from Heaven. What a tantalizing picture. So rich, so creamy, fresh berries, perfect!

Jamie said...

@Judi G: THANKS! Glad you caught that and now it's fixed!

Jamie said...

@Daily Spud: I thought of you each time I wrote the word "berry", but I love the word too much to call them anything else :-)

Karine said...

This tart looks wonderful! Thanks for sharing your recipe :)

Char said...

Jamie that looks wonderful.
Miss you.

My Carolina Kitchen said...

Gorgeous whether you call it a pie or a tart. I love all kinds of berries so this would make me a very happy girl.
Sam

Maria said...

Gorgeous dessert! I love summer berries!

girlichef said...

You're right...this is oh, so dreamy! Great job :)

TheKitchenWitch said...

Oh my! That looks divine! I'm not much of a baker...I wish I lived next door to YOU.

unconfidentialcook said...

Thanks so much for stopping by! I'm so happy to find your site--it's beautiful and everything looks delicious. I look forward to coming back and drooling.

the ungourmet said...

When I was a child we would often go out for pie after church on Sunday evenings.

This one is really pretty! My husband would kiss me twice if I made this for him.

I love the first picture of the lady with the pie hat! ;0)

Katy ~ said...

This looks fabulous. I am a big fan of both these berries! Wonderful, elegant, delicious!

Faith said...

Wow...this is almost too beautiful for words! I love the creaminess of the crème fraîche and the freshness from the berries...delicious!

asiangrrl said...

Oh my goodness this pie looks superb, Jamie! So elegant, and yet, so light and refreshing. It is a feast for the eyes as well as for the tongue.

Joanne said...

Berry pies are some of the most delicious things out there. This one looks absolutely fabulous.

Bethie said...

YUMMY!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

I can see why your tart made it to foodgawker. It looks delicious. A work of art. @suezumout

Elra said...

These are delicious berries for a pie. It's a pity that I don't have them anymore in my backyard.

Talita said...

Oh, man! I love dogs, but I prefer the cream pie! Looks gorgeous!

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