Ah...blackberries. I hate them when they're growing on or near my property because they'll take over everything. I hate them for having such sharp thorns that go deep into the skin when I cut the branches that come from the neighbor's property over my fence.
But, come summer, when the fruits are ripe and juicy and sweet, then I love them. The fruits are deep black and so easy to pick. And what's best is that they're free, as long as I have time to pick. This tart was made because my husband suggested one day that we went and picked blackberries in the neighborhood. Anytime I can spend time together with him, however short, will be a good time. So we traipsed about in one walking trail not far from home; there's someone kindly enough to clear a path around the thick bushes making it easy for us to gather the fruits. It took us about half an hour to gather about 4 cups of fruits and we came home happy.
I love the flavor and texture of this tart; cool and smooth seedless blackberry puree that sits on top of shortbread-like crust with billowy whipped cream topping. What's not to like?
Blackberry Kahlua Cream Tart
Makes 10 servings
1 10-inch Tart Pastry shell, fully baked--recipe follows. I used a rectangular tart pan instead of an 10-inch round tart pan
4 cups fresh blackberries (save some for decorations on top of the tart)
1/2 cup sugar
4 teaspoons cornstarch
Grated zest of 1 lemon
Kahlua Whipping Cream
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons Kahlua
Cool the tart shell thoroughly on a rack. Transfer the shell to a large, flat plate or platter, cover with foil, and refrigerate.
To make the blackberry puree, process the blackberries in a blender or food processor until smooth. Strain the puree through a fine-mesh strainer, working and pushing it with a spoon so you end up with as much seedless puree as possible; you should be left with close to 2 cups of puree.
Put the puree into a non-aluminum saucepan. Mix the sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl and stir it, along with the lemon zest, into the puree. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring often. Hold it at a low boil for 1 minute, stirring, then scrape it into a glass casserole or pie pan and place it in the fridge to cool. Once it has cooled, scrape it into the tart shell, evening it with a fork. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
When you are just about ready to assemble the tart, put the beaters and whipping cream bowl in the freezer. Once they're chilled, beat the cream until it almost holds soft peaks, then add the sugar and Kahlua. Beat until good and firm, but don't let it get grainy. Spread the whipped cream over the puree and arrange a few blackberries here and there if you saved some out. Slice and serve right away or hold in the fridge, covered for up to several hours.
Makes 1 10-inch tart shell
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
2 tablespoons (approximately) cold water
In a large bowl, mix the flour, sugar, and salt. Add the butter and cut it in until the mixture resembles very small crumbs, with all the flour having been dampened by the fat; it should be actually be starting to clump together without the water. At that point add the cold water, a teaspoon at a time, tossing and compacting the mixture with a fork until the dough coheres.
When the dough coheres, knead it once in the bowl to distribute the butter, then flatten it on a sheet of plastic wrap into a disk about 1/2 inch thick. Wrap and refrigerate for about 30 minutes before rolling.
To roll the dough: Put the dough on a sheet of lightly floured wax paper. Lightly flour the top of the dough, then roll it into a circle 13 to 13 1/2 inches in diameter. Carefully invert the dough over the pan and tuck the dough down into the pan without stretching it. Trim the dough off flush with the top of the pan. Cover and refrigerate until baking.
Preheat the oven to 400F. Line the shell with foil and tuck in into the pastry. Pour dried beans or pie weights into the foil. Place the weighted shell in the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and very carefully lift the foil out of the pan with the beans still in it. Pierce the bottom of shell several times with a fork and put the shell back in the oven for about 10 to 12 minutes, or until golden brown.
Source: adapted from Country Baking by Ken Haedrich