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Shoulda, woulda, coulda ....

This past weekend, I was going to do a lot of things. I was going to deal with that pile of laundry. I was going to read a bit more of that book on my nightstand. I was going to wax rhapsodic, again, about the gorgeousness of the season. I was even going to make tremblingly pretty Gewurztraminer gelées, studded with plump blackberries.

You will note, I was going to do those things. In fact, I did not end up checking any of those tasks off my list. The weekend turned out to be a fabulous one, and I was taken with other diversions. Come Monday my mood was so bright that I felt the need to celebrate the weekend's end; it was that good.

The aforementioned berries were glorious specimens of Loch Ness blackerries from the kind folks at Schouwenaar Orchard and Vineyard. Large and glossy black, the pine cone shaped bundles were simply addicting. Starting out with a full flat of these babies, we'd munched our way through the majority by Sunday evening.

Too perfect to mar with cooking, too pretty to hide under mounds of cream, the crowning glory of a fruit tart seemed destiny for the last of the tempting fruits. Wanting something as special as the weekend had been, I decided upon Martha Stewart's pistachio pastry crust for my base. More of a shortbread than a traditional pie crust, butter is even more enriched by the addition of ground nuts. The pistachios in turn tint the pasty a delicate chartreuse. My buoyant mood was not one that allowed for the patient stirring required for a pastry cream, so I turned to a simple alternative; thick mascarpone whipped to luxurious lightness, barely sweetened and scented with vanilla.

The perfect backdrop to the blackberries, the perfect end to the perfect weekend. No agenda needed.

Blackberry tart with pistachio crust

Pistachio crust
1/4 cup heavy (35%, whipping) cream
All purpose flour, for dusting
3 ounces (85 grams) white chocolate
2 tablespoons icing (confectioner's) sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
9 ounces (275 grams) mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
2 pints blackberries
1 tablespoon black currant jelly or blackberry jam
1 tablespoon unsalted, hulled pistachios

Prepare pistachio pastry dough as per recipe. On a lightly-floured work surface, roll out chilled dough to a 1/4" thick, 12" round. Lightly press dough into a 9" fluted, removable bottom tart pan, then chill for 10 minutes. Using a paring knife, trim excess dough. Scraps and leftover dough can be rerolled once and then baked as shortbread cookies.

Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C). Prick (dock) pastry all over to prevent puffing during baking. Line with parchment paper, leaving an overhang over all edges. Weigh down with pie weights, uncooked rice or dried beans, and bake for 20 minutes. Remove parchment and bake an additional 10 to 15 minutes, or until the shell is lightly browned all over.

Cool on a rack for 10 minutes, then remove tart ring to cool completely.

Melt chocolate using a double boiler or microwave, then set aside to cool slightly. Once cool, use a pastry brush to thinly coat the inside of the cooled shell with chocolate. Chill for 10 minutes or until set.

Meanwhile, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or with a hand mixer, beat the heavy cream, vanilla and sugar until soft peaks form. Remove from mixer and set aside. Switching to the paddle attachment, cream the mascarpone until light and fluffy. On low speed, gently stir in half the whipped cream until just combined. Using a spatula, gently fold in the remaining cream.

Fill the prepared shell with the mascarpone mixture. Chill the tart for 20 minutes to firm up the filling or prepare to this point up to 3 hours ahead of time.

Melt the jam, with a scant 1/2 teaspoon water, using low heat in the microwave. Remove from oven and stir. Set aside to cook slightly. Top the filled tart with blackberries, then lightly brush lightly with glaze. Scatter with pistachios and serve immediately.

Makes one 9" tart.


• This filling is not particularly sweet; you may want to adjust the sugar to best suit your tastes.
• Neufchâtel, blended ricotta or cream cheese can be substituted for the mascarpone. In these cases, amount of heavy cream may need to be adjusted accordingly.
• The pistachio crust I used is not available online, but I would think that Martha Stewart's Pistachio Graham-Cracker Crust would be a fine substitution, as would a classic pâte sucrée.
• It hardly needs saying, but this pastry and filling can be used as a basis for almost any fruit tart.

Epilogue: It has just come to my attention that the lovely Béa
had similar notions this week; two tastes of the same theme!

Reader Comments (16)

That is too funny. I think you are I were in synch as for as our tastes went ;-)

oh my... The first picture is breathtaking!

July 24, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterooishigal

Wow - stunning photos!

July 24, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterAnik

wonderful. i like the sound of that pastry.

July 25, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterAndreea

One of my favorite berries. Your tart looks wonderful and the pastry sounds interesting! Yummy!

July 25, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterRosa's Yummy Yums

Nice pictures! I love just about anything with berries, and this seems no different!

July 25, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterHillary

ahhhh! such a nice picture! and the berries look so shiny and fresh! I would like some!

July 25, 2007 | Unregistered Commentercheesywee

Oh my goodness a pistachio crust! How lovely!

July 26, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterJerry

Béa, the thing I found most interesting is that your photos emphasize the red of the juices, while mine emphasize the blueness of the berries themselves. What a charming coincidence!

Thanks so much for the compliment, ooishigal. It is easy to take a photo when the produce is so lovely.

Thanks so much Anik, it means a lot coming from you! You know you all had a hand in my inspiration.

Andrea, the pastry has been a happy discovery. A great shortbread on its own, it provided an unexpected twist to a fruit tart.

Rosa, I'm with you on that one. My dear Sean gobbles these up by the handful, as does our little Benjamin.

Hillary, thanks so much for the kind words! I do believe you'd like this tart; it is all about the fruit.

Cheesywee, I would be glad to share!

Jerry, not only was I taken with the pale green hue of the crust, but I was also surprised at how much pistachio flavour came through.

July 26, 2007 | Unregistered Commentertara

The berry´s picture is simply perfect,I accompanied your blog for a long time, and this time I could not stop to comment about this beautiful picture and the delicious recipe

July 26, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterSylvia


July 26, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterBrilynn

Tara, well I have been drooling over this photo non stop. Those berries are so perfect and plump and shiny! I love the idea of the pistachio crust and am going to have to keep it on my list of things to try. What is it about pistachio that charms me so? In any case, kudos to you my friend, on another picture perfect dessert!

July 27, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterMichèle

It looks beautiful!
I love these berries.

July 27, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterPatricia Scarpin

this tart look so tantalizing i had to put it on my blog! thank you for sharing, I'm going to try and make it this weekend,

July 27, 2007 | Unregistered Commenteramber

beautiful photo!

July 29, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterSteamyKitchen

WE don't have blackberries here in the Okanagan (too dry) but I am off to Vancouver next weekend where they grow in abundance along the side of the road!!Hopefully they will not be picked over!!!There is always the faramer's market as well!!!

August 25, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterValli

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