09 July 2010

Patriotism through food

We spent Independence Day at our cousins' house last weekend. They have a fantastic house, and it's a great venue for fireworks, with views of two different displays. We had a true Southern California barbeque - with a barbeque of carne asada with all the fixings. There were also burgers, hot dogs, rice, frijoles, a cheese platter, and some great potato salad, but those were afterthoughts for me. Truly, there is little that can stand between me and a taco (or three).

As the designated dessert-maker for our family gatherings, I put together this quick berry tart. The crust is taken almost exactly from
Baking: From My Home to Yours - I use the pâte sablée with ground almonds, and I think I fiddle with it somehow, but I can't remember how. I filled it with a vanilla pastry cream and then topped it with fresh berries.

spangled berry tart

Tarts are one of my favorite desserts. There are endless possibilities for crusts and fillings - I am partial to the almond crust whenever it will fit with the filling - and I love the way such a simple dessert can look so impressive.


  1. Anonymous2/8/10 11:44

    Can you share your recipe for the almond pate sucree? I am an Alaskan, still living in the interior...hot sunny day yesterday. Many blueberries picked. Simply the best

  2. Hello!

    I am actually in AK at the moment, visiting family and picking blueberries myself.

    Here is the basic recipe I used:

    1 1/4 C unbleached flour
    1/4 C ground almonds (see below)
    1/2 C confectioners' sugar
    1/4 t salt
    9 T butter, well chilled
    1 lg egg yolk

    To make ground almonds, dump some almonds into the food processor and grind finely; measure 1/4 C and reserve the rest for another use. Place the almonds, flour, sugar, and salt in the processor and whiz a few times to combine.

    Add the butter in pieces; pulse until well distributed and in oatmeal-to-pea sized pieces. Break up the yolk, then pulse into the mixture. Pulse in 10 second bursts until the dough just comes together (the sound of the machine will change just before this happens).

    Press the dough gently into a 9" tart pan, then freeze at least 30 minutes.

    Preheat oven to 375ºF. Cover crust with buttered foil and bake 25 minutes. Remove the foil, and bake an additional 8-12 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool completely on rack before filling.