Sunday, July 5, 2015

Berry & Lime Crumble Tarts

If you are not neck-deep in fresh berries right now, then where the heck are you!?

Summer is like an antique jewellery box - full of rubies, sapphires and amethyst. There are so many gems to behold and devour.

I'm a nut in the summer time. I must go picking for all of these jewels - strawberry picking in June, cherry picking in July, then raspberry and blueberry picking in August. My tongue is consistently stained either red or purple. I save a lot of money on lipstick.

Get ready for a burst of flavour and a mouthful of juicy juice. These Berry & Lime Crumble Tarts are just a reason to have a whole pie to yourself, and then to have another one because they are mini and because you can.

A sweet pastry crust works best with its egg yolk richness and reinforcement to withstand the juicy filling. I told you they were juicy right?

Every bit of summer goes into these little pies. The filling combines the bubbly, tart and distinctive flavours of blueberries, raspberries and strawberries with earthiness from vanilla bean to round it all out. A bit of lemon zest marries the bright berry flavours all together.

Best to adjust the sugar based on your liking - there is some wiggle room allowed here. Sugar is essential to help thicken and hold in the moisture for the filling, but flavour is as important as function in this case. Plus there's a bit of corn starch to keep it all together. I like mine just sweet enough, but still a bit tart.

A crumble topping is perfect because it is buttery and sweet - sweet with earthy flavours of molasses from brown sugar. Imagine the balance - tart, fruity, citrusy, buttery, earthy with caramely sweetness. PLUS - a lime zest surprise in the topping to make it pop.

These are WOW. Just, wow...

Thank you sun. Thank you summer. Let's eat!

Berry & Lime Crumble Tarts

1 recipe of Pastry from these Gooey Little Pecan Tarts

For the berry filling:
5 oz (150g) freshly hulled and sliced strawberries, quartered
3.5 oz (100g) fresh blueberries
3.5 oz (100g) fresh raspberries
1/3-1/2 cup (65-100g) sugar  (depending on sweetness of berries)
2 strips of lemon peel
1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
1 tbsp corn starch
2 tbsp water

For the lime crumble:
½ cup (72g) all-purpose flour
4 tbsp (55g) packed light brown sugar
Pinch of salt
zest of half a lime
4 tbsp (56g) cold unsalted butter

Prepare the pastry as directed. Once sufficiently chilled, roll it out to 1/8-inch thickness and cut out as many 3-inch rounds as you can. Fit the rounds into the wells of a standard 12-cup muffin tray, pressing it into the base and up the sides. Bake in a preheated 375°F/190°C oven for 10-15 minutes, until evenly golden. Let cool completely in tray.

To make the filling combine strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and sugar in a small saucepan. Cover and cook over medium-low heat until sugar is dissolved and mixture is soupy. Add lemon peel and vanilla bean and bring to a gentle boil. Continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, for 10-15 minutes or until fruit is soft and mixture is thick. Whisk together corn starch and water to make a slurry in a separate little bowl and stir into the berry mixture off the heat. Bring to a boil and cook for another minute or two until very thick. Set aside to cool completely.

To make crumble, combine flour, brown sugar and salt in a small bowl and blend to remove lumps of sugar. Add cold cubed butter and lime zest and rub it into the flour mixture until well combined. Squeeze the mixture to form little clumps.

Spoon the cooled filling into pre-baked tart shells, filling them nearly to the top. Break up the crumble topping over the filling and bake at 375°F/190°C for 10-15 minutes, until crumble is browned and filling is bubbling around the edges. Let cool for 15 minutes in pan before using a blunt edge to help release them. Serve slightly warm or cold!
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