It’s prime berry season here in the Pacific northwest, and between the raspberry patch in the garden and the native blackberries and black cap berries at the homestead, I’m eyes-deep in berry heaven. My love affair with berries started a long time ago, though, and it began like this. When I was a little girl, my best friend lived in a house in the woods. We’d run around in the forest creating our own little adventures, which ranged from pretending we were fairies to explorers to mermaids (typical child fare). In the summer, there were patches of wild blackberries scattered about the sunny breaks in the forest canopy, and we’d spend hours carefully plucking them from the thorn-studded canes and savoring them one by one, later emerging from the brush with cheerfully stained fingers and mouths.
I’m always reminded of those wonderful memories during this time of year, and it brings me a lot of joy to think back on them as I carry my berry-picking torch deep into my adulthood. And while I don’t play imaginary games anymore, I hope that someday when we have a family of our own they can have a similar experience out in the garden that I did in the forest. Connecting with nature and the earth and getting such pure and profound joy from it.
But enough about my memories, let’s talk about this berry curd tart! This recipe calls for a deep-dish tart pan, so that you can get a nice and generous amount of berry filling inside. If you don’t have one and don’t want to buy one, a shallow pie pan will also work. There’s also two kinds of filling here—the bottom one is a nice jammy mixture of stewed berries, sugar, and cinnamon, and the top one is a creamy and silky mixed berry curd. These are layered on top of a deliciously nutty almond and flour crust, whose buttery crumbles compliment the bright tannic berries perfectly.
The filling for the berry curd tart is also no-bake, you just make it all on the stovetop to keep it simple. The crust needs to be par-baked in the oven, but I have instructions on how to do that properly in the recipe below. You can also feel free to use whatever kinds of berries you’d like in the filling, anything from strawberries to blackberries to cherries and so on. If it’s sweet and tannic, it’s fair game. The tart also keeps well, too, so you can make it the day before you plan on serving it and just keep it refrigerated. And if you want a smaller berry tart, you can check out this regular-depth one from last year around this time. I hope you enjoy it and savor every little bite of these gifts from summer.
Berry Curd Tart with a Deep Dish Almond Crust
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1 1/2 cups almond meal
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup butter cold and hard
- 8 to 12 tablespoons ice water
Berry Jam Filling
- 4 cups mixed berries fresh or frozen
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
Berry Curd Filling
- 1 1/2 cups mixed berries fresh or frozen
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup lime or lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 tablespoon quality balsamic vinegar
- 2 eggs
- 2 egg yolks
- 2 teaspoons corn starch
- 6 tablespoons butter cut into individual tablespoons
- 1 cup berries fresh
- In a large bowl, mix together the flour, almond meal, sugar, cinnamon, and salt until combined. Grate the butter in the large hole of the grater above the bowl, stopping to stir and coat the butter bits in the flour mixture every 30 seconds.
- Pinch the mixture together with your fingertips until it resembles the texture of damp sand. Add the water, a tablespoon at a time, mixing it with a fork, until the dough just holds together when you squeeze a fistful of it in your hand.
- Roll out the dough into a circle until it is 1/4-inch thick, and transfer it to a 9-inch deep-dish tart pan. Press the crust into the pan, and trim off the excess overhang.
- Poke it all over with fork and place it in freezer for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a piece of tin foil and press the greased side into the crust in the pan. Bake for 15 minutes, then remove foil, pat down any bubbling parts, and bake until edges are lightly gold, about 15 minutes more. Pat down any additional bubbling parts and allow crust to cool completely on a wire rack. Then remove the crust from the pan.
Berry Jam Filling
- Mix together all of the ingredients in a medium-sized saucepan. Place over medium heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and continue to simmer the mixture until the berries have softened and begun releasing their juice. Add the cornstarch and stir. Continue cooking until the mixture has thickened slightly and has a jammier texture, about 9 to 12 minutes, stirring every 3 minutes or so. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
Berry Curd Filling
- Heat the berries and 1/2 cup sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat until softened and *just* beginning to release their juice, stirring frequently. Remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool to warm. Press the berries through a metal mesh sieve to extract the juice. Discard the pulp, reserving the juice.
- In the top of a double boiler that is boiling over medium heat, whisk together the berry juice, lemon juice, water, balsamic vinegar, egg, egg yolks, and remaining 1/4 cup sugar. Continue whisking while the mixture thickens very slightly, about 5 minutes.
- Whisk in the cornstarch, then the butter, one tablespoon a time. Continue whisking until the mixture thickens to coat the back of a spoon, about 7 to 12 minutes more. Remove from heat and place the top of the double boiler in an ace bath. Continue whisking until the curd cools to room temperature, then remove from the ice bath and set it aside.
- Pour the berry jam into the tart crust and spread evenly across the bottom. Pour the berry curd over the jam and use a spatula to spread it evenly over the jam. Garnish the top with fresh berries and refrigerate for at least 3 hours before serving.