Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Too Much of a Good Thing?

We had to try them one more time before the season is over.

Fresh blackberries.

Aside from strawberries, they are pretty much the only berry you can get around here. We did see the occasional raspberry a few weeks ago, but not since.

Blueberries are more of a northern thing, Michigan, Canada. Not much of a SoCal item either.

And more exotic things, like gooseberries, or currants, are just not to be found.

Which is too bad. Because I love red currants. Johannisbeeren in German. Those bright red little globes of sweet sour juicy deliciousness. Maybe they sell them in SoCal somewhere, but I’ve never seen it.

In the summer, you can get them all over Germany. I think France and other countries as well. In large liter cardboard boxes. Long strands of thin vines with dozens of the tiny berries hanging onto each one. Even though they are quite sour, I could eat the entire box, just sucking the berries right off the vine. A real summer treat on a hot day.

But here, we have much better strawberries, and these gigantic blackberries. So I can’t complain too much!

This time, though, I made the crust from my favorite Pâte Brisée. Which delivers, every time, a flaky, buttery, crispy crust.

I filled it with a simple vanilla crème. And just placed the berries on top of the chilled crème.

In retrospect, I liked the Lemon Verbena Curd filling better, both from it’s own flavor as a filling, and in combination with the blackberries.

Maybe we’ll have luck, and can make a final blackberry tart with the lemon verbena curd and the Pâte Brisée tart crust. Or is that just asking for too much of a good thing?

The Pâte Brisée recipe is directly from Jaques Pepin: http://www.jacquespepin.net/members/recipes/patebrisee.html.
After rolling and putting the dough in the pie pan, I let is chill for 30 minutes, pricked the bottom with a fork, weighted it with rice on parchment paper, baked it at 400ºF for 15 minutes, removed the rice and parchment paper and baked it until lightly browned, about another 25 minutes. I let the shell cool completely before filling it.

The vanilla crème recipe was from Emeril’s site:

Blackberry Tart
Recipe courtesy Emeril Lagasse, 2002
Adapted by surfindaave

1 cup whole milk
1/2 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise
1/3 cup sugar
4 1/2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
3 large egg yolks
4 teaspoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup apricot jam
2 teaspoons kirsch or brandy
1 (10-inch) pastry crust, fully baked in a tart pan with a removable bottom
2 pints fresh blackberries

To make the pastry cream, in a medium pot combine the milk and vanilla bean, scraping the vanilla seeds into the pot. Scald over medium heat. Remove from the heat.

In a medium bowl, mix the sugar and flour. Add the egg yolks and beat until pale yellow and frothy. Whisking constantly, add 1/3 cup of the hot milk to the egg mixture, then beat back into the hot milk. Return to medium heat, and whisking constantly, cook until thick, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and strain through a fine mesh strainer into a clean bowl, and discard the vanilla bean. Stir in the butter. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing down against the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until cool, about 2 hours.

In a small saucepan, combine the jam and kirsch and heat until dissolved. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.

Spread the pastry cream evenly over the pastry crust. Arrange the fruit in an even, decorative pattern over the cream and brush with the jam glaze. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving.

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Blogger ilva said...

Someone bought a new camera???

2:29 AM  
Blogger surfindaave said...

No no. Since everyone is out of school for a few weeks, myself included, I finally found time to really look at my digital camera, and discovered a new mode of operation. White balance, F-Stop, shutter speeds, etc., along with lots of other options, have been discovered. And the thing takes pictues as close as 16 mm. Who woulda thunk?! Who's the dummy?!

12:00 PM  

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