It’s been a pleasantly soggy June, and, owing to a certain amount of angst, I’ve been spending too many hours staring out into the rainy afternoons. My self-imposed anxiety stems from a desire to clarify what the move from Brooklyn to Virginia has meant and figure out what’s next. But the thing is, school is out, the days are long, and we have other things to do. So I’m giving myself a temporary pass and plan to spend the coming weeks meandering in the sunshine, or rain, as the case may be. If I ever do figure something out, you’ll hear about it, I promise.
For now, I’m listening to the rain on the roof, walking along the river with the girls, and daydreaming whenever I can. Inspired by these simple pleasures, I made this spare blackberry tart, a faithful take on this black raspberry one from a few years ago. We had a couple of friends over on Sunday for a laid-back Father’s Day cookout, and it seemed a fitting end to a day spent enjoying the quieter things in life. In the oven, the blackberries take on a jammy perfection. They have just a bit of tang and a hint of sweetness, and compliment the flaky, buttery homemade crust beautifully. Though we went without, a dollop of crème fraîche or a pinch of minced thyme leaves would be exceptional.
If you’re new to homemade crusts, add a little extra water to make the dough easier to work with. Crumbly dough is the most flaky, but if you over-work it you’ll generate too much gooey gluten. I think it’s best to err wet, and handle the dough as little as possible. For this recipe, and with any wet fruit pie, I find that a preheated baking sheet helps to set up the bottom crust before fruit juice sog sets in.
Simplest Blackberry Tart
for the dough (adapted from this recipe)
makes one disc tart dough
1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
8 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, rough chopped
5 tablespoons ice water, or more if needed
In the bowl of your food processor, pulse the flour, sugar, and salt to combine. Pulse in the butter, until the dough has a slightly sandy texture. Drizzle in the water pulsing just until it is well-dispersed in the dough.
Dump out onto a lightly floured surface and gather into a ball. Flatten into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill for at least 30 minutes.
for the blackberries (adapted from this black raspberry tart)
1 pint blackberries, washed and dried
3 tablespoons sugar
zest and 2 tablespoons juice from 1 lemon
pinch of sea salt
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place a rimmed baking sheet (one big enough to accommodate your tart pan) in the oven to heat as well. Grease a 9 or 10 inch tart pan and set aside.
Toss all of the ingredients together in a small bowl. Set aside and allow the ingredients to mingle while you roll out the crust.
On a lightly-floured surface, roll the tart dough out into a 12 inch circle. Fold into quarters, and then unfold in the tart pan. Tuck any overhanging dough into the sides of the tart. Scatter the blackberries and any juice, and place on the heated baking sheet and into the oven immediately. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the crust is a very light golden and the berries are bubbling.
Cool for 20 minutes, slice and serve.