Do you know which posts get the most likes? Cakes. Always cakes. And so I keep baking them. Because what food blogger doesn’t want lots of likes on his posts?
Seriously though, cakes are great as dessert because you can make them in advance and when it is time to serve dessert, all you have to do is to triumphantly present the cake to a chorus of oohs and aahs and then cut it. And so I very often bake a cake for a dinner party.
The possibilities for cakes are endless. Recently, Silva posted a berry pie using a different type of pastry with milk. I wanted to try this pastry, but felt like making a crostata instead of a pie. And I did make it with berries. The nice thing about berries in a tart like this is that you can use frozen berries and you won’t notice the difference as the berries are cooked anyway.
The pastry was easier to handle than a regular flour-and-butter pastry as it is easier to roll out and doesn’t break as easily, but for me it also turned out less flaky. Nevertheless, the crostata looked and tasted great. Here’s what I did…
For a 27 cm (11″) tart, about 8-12 servings
For the pastry
300 grams (2 cups) pastry flour
120 grams (1 stick) cold butter, cubed
2 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp cider vinegar
100 ml (6 Tbsp + 2 tsp) milk
pinch of salt
grated zest of 1 lemon
For the filling
150 grams blackberries (fresh or frozen)
150 grams blueberries (fresh or frozen)
150 grams raspberries (fresh or frozen)
juice of 1/2 lemon
50 grams (1/4 cup) sugar
2 Tbsp corn starch
1 egg, beaten
Combine 300 grams pastry flour, 2 Tbsp sugar, the grated zest of a lemon, 120 grams butter and a pinch of salt in the bowl of the food processor.
Process briefly to obtain a crumbly mixture. Then add 100 ml milk…
…and 2 Tbsp cider vinegar.
Process briefly until the dough just comes together.
Gather into a ball, flatten it to a disc, wrap in cling film, and refrigerate for half an hour. You should still see small pieces of butter in the dough.
Put 150 grams raspberries, 150 grams blueberries and 150 grams blackberries in a saucepan. Add 50 grams sugar and the juice of 1/2 lemon.
Bring to a boil.
When it boils, mix 2 Tbsp corn starch with 2 Tbsp cold water to make a slurry, and add the slurry to the berry mixture.
Cook, stirring, until the berries have thickened, about a minute. Then turn off the heat and allow to cool.
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F (not fan forced).
After the dough has rested, divide it into 3/4 and 1/4, and put it on a floured work surface (a wooden surface works best).
Butter a 27 cm (11″) tart pan. Give the large piece of dough a round shape with your hands, then roll it out with a rolling pin until it is the right size for the tart pan including the borders (i.e. about 32 cm or 13″). Roll out in different directions, starting from the center. That is the best way to roll it out in a circular shape.
Line the tart pan with the dough, rolling the rolling pin over the top of the tart pan to remove any excess dough.
Prick the dough all over with a fork.
Pour the berry mixture into the tart…
…and flatten the top.
Roll out the remaining pastry, and use a pastry wheel to cut it into strips of about 1 cm (1/2 inch) wide. You could also use a knife, but with the wheel the strips will be more pretty. Pretty is important when baking.
Arrange the strips in a lattice pattern on the tart. Start in the center and alternate between ‘horizontal’ and ‘vertical’ strips…
…until you have covered the tart with a nice regular lattice.
Brush with a beaten egg.
Bake the tart for 45 minutes at 180C/350F (not fan forced), or until golden.
Allow to cool to room temperature before serving.
This is great with a red dessert wine such as Brachetto d’Aqui, Rosenmuskateller, Black Muscat, or Recioto della Valpolicella. Perhaps even a Ruby port, but that may be a bit high in alcohol.
The dark berry fruit works best with a red dessert wine, although a fortified or dried-grape (passito) white dessert wine wouldn’t be terrible either.
I love pasta dishes with vegetables, such as this Sicilian-inspired fennel pasta with raisins, pine nuts, and saffron.