22 March 2011

rustic blackberry tart with streusel topping

during a recent trip to costco, i purchased a box of the most delicious looking blackberries. i haven't cooked a lot with blackberries because, you see, i was so spoiled for the majority of my life that i just couldn't bring myself to buy blackberries. why was i spoiled, you ask? well, let me tell you, my grandma lived in southern california and had a row of beautiful boysenberry bushes. she'd make the most fantastic things with those boysenberries. when she moved to utah she brought as much as she could freeze but we still missed those boysenberry bushes. and since her passing a few years ago, we miss much much more than just those boysenberries. but i would bet you if you were to look somewhere within the depths of my mother's freezer, you'd still find some boysenberry juice packaged away just for nostalgia's sake. and i would keep it too because it's like gold to me. so back to blackberries...after making this tart i can't wait to try out more blackberry recipes. they're so delicious. and this tart is the perfect way to celebrate the beginnings of spring. even if there is still snow in the forecast, i can see my tulips coming out of the ground. and that's reason enough to celebrate! and even though these were blackberries, i still get sentimental about my beautiful grandmother. i think she would have loved this tart, too!

2 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
1 cup crisco shortening (keep it in the fridge so it's nice and cold)
5 - 7 Tbsp. ice water (stir in one T at a time until moist enough to use)

so i bet you're thinking to yourself "i can't make a pie crust, they're way to difficult". and i get it. my mom has mad pie making skills and makes it look so easy. and a few years ago i decided i would try pie crusts until i could make them, too. they're not hard. but you have to try them! it's worth the effort...of which there is little.
here's how you do it:
add flour and salt to a medium sized bowl. add cold crisco and cut in using a pastry blender. add 5 T water and use clean hands to "squish" the mixture together. if it's still too dry, then add one additional T at a time until you squish it a few times and the mixture holds together in a ball. squish it just enough that it comes together, don't overwork the flour. then place in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least one hour. remove from fridge and roll out to desired shape. in this case, its' just one big round circle. (it's rustic, remember, so don't worry about the exactness of the shape!) this recipe makes enough for both top and bottom pie crusts, but i made one large tart. place tart shell on top of greased baking sheet, or on top of silpat liner.

1 1/2 - 2 cups blackberries (can use frozen, but i used fresh)
3 Tbsp cornstarch
1/3 cup sugar

blend berries with cornstarch and sugar. pour into rolled pie circle making sure to add any leftover sugar/cornstarch from the bottom of the bowl.

now's the rustic part...keeping berries in the center of the crust, just fold over outermost crust making sure not to tear the crust. if it does tear, just pinch it back together! continue to overlap and fold all the way around. you just want to make sure the berries will stay inside the crust, the form doesn't matter. that's what makes it rustic!

brush the top of the tart shell with whole milk, half and half, or cream and sprinkle with sugar.

streusel topping
3 Tbsp very soft butter (not melted)
4 Tbsp sugar
3 Tbsp flour

mash all three ingredients together with a fork until combined and then crumble over the top of the tart.

bake tart in preheated 375 degree oven for 35 - 40 minutes or until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbling. cool just slightly and serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollup of sweetened whipped cream. enjoy!

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