What do you do when creativity stands you up? Sure you can give it the big finger, but being the giver and receiver on that one ain’t so great. So if you are anything like me you’ll probably log a few time killers by giving into a few distractions. Which of course leads to a few moments of mental bartering between shortcomings and half truths – an exhausting excerise of excuse making.
This creative void being the current state as it is, I decided to go back to basics with this mixed berry tart. A simple but rich tasting tart with enough mixed berries to give a sweet and slighlty tart profile, while the crust lends a supporting structure of buttery flakiness and nutty flavoring by way of adding toasted homemade almond meal. Along with that is a sprinkling of cardamom in the crust for a little added dimension.
Now where were we with our random chat of creative deficits and rationalizing through siren calls of distraction? Oh—no where actually—see that’s my point. I don’t really have a good answer for coming out of this, and if some one does—please, let me know. For now it’s like anything else in life: practice and discipline. With that I’m working my through a creative funk the only way I know how: by keeping my hands busy. And while I almost didn’t post this mixed berry tart because it just seems short of creativity next to something like this or this, it’s a part of the routine.
Steady does it, right?
Mixed Berry Tart
- 1/3 cup (1 oz.) almonds, toasted and finely ground
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cardamom
- 1 cup plus 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup cake flour
- 2 tablespoon sugar
- 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks), cold
- 1/4 cup cold water
- 6 oz. blueberries
- 6 oz. raspberries
- 6 oz. blackberries
- 1/4 cups sugar
- 2 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 3 tablespoons coarse sugar
Position a rack in the lower third of the oven. Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
TO MAKE CRUST
- Place almonds on bake sheet. Transfer bake sheet to oven and toast almonds until golden brown and fragrant, about 7-9 minutes. Remove from oven; set aside to cool completely.
- Place cooled almonds salt, cardamom and 1/2 cup of flour in a food processor bowl and process until almonds are finely ground. Add in remaining all-purpose flour and cake flour and pulse to combine. Add in sugar and pulse combine. Add in butter and pulse to combine. While the machine is running, add cold water in a slow steady stream through the feed tube. The dough will pull away from the wall of the bowl and come together. If it doesn't, add in a teaspoon of water one at a time until it does.
- Turn dough out onto plastic wrap to wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at 2 hours before using.
TO MAKE FILLING
- Place all ingredients in a bowl and toss to combine.
- Remove chilled dough from refrigerator and let stand at room temperature for 10 minutes. Roll dough to an 1/8 inch thick. Place mixed berries in the center, making sure to leave a one inch edge of dough all the way around.
- Fold edge of dough towards the center. Brush top of crust with beaten egg and then sprinkle coarse sugar on top. Place tart in oven and bake 30-40 minutes or until edge of crust starts to turn a golden brown.
- To keep the butter as chilled as possible, I used frozen butter and grated it into the mixture.
- Feel free to play around the filling combination to suit your preference.