Gluten-free Fresh Blackberry Tart, Dairy-free


FOTCM Member
It is summer - when fresh, ripe, sweet blackberries are abundant until early autumn. Just the thing for a cool, fresh blackberry tart. The tart is made by prebaking a pastry shell in a tart ring, or tart pan, covering the base of the pastry shell with a filling (in this case, a pastry cream), and topping it with the fresh blackberries.

Blackberries have been grown and eaten across Asia, Europe and the Americas for tens of thousands of years, even as long ago as 8,000 BC. The European blackberry, is also known as bramble. Like the raspberry, it is an aggregate fruit and a relative of the rose, that is, it is a highly adaptable and a fast-growing shrub that is found in hedgerows, woodland, meadows and wasteland. Wild blackberries have a depth of flavour that is rarely rivalled by the cultivated varieties. When picking, look for plump, dry, darkly-coloured blackberries that are neither too firm nor too ripe and mushy.

Ingredients (pastry shell):
Gluten-free pastry flour mix* 370g
Gum Arabic 2tsp
Salt 1/4tsp
Cane Sugar 55g
Butter 205g (softened, room temp, cut in pieces)
Apple Cider Vinegar 1 1/2tsp (7ml)
Egg (slightly beaten) 100g (approx. 2 large – if necessary, add from another egg to make up weight)
Water (cold, if required) 5 – 10ml (1 – 2tsp)

Pastry cream: (enough to fill the bottom of a 23cm (9in) tart pan)
Gluten-free Flour mix 10g
Cornstarch 10g
Cane Sugar 64g (32g plus 32g)
Eggs 66g (1 large egg plus 1 large egg yolk)
Hemp milk 250ml (60ml plus 190ml)
Butter 25g
Vanilla essence 1/2tsp
Kirsch 2Tbsp
Fresh blackberries (fresh): 500 - 600g

*Gluten-free pastry flour mix: Brown rice flour 290g; Sweet rice flour 150g; Potato starch 75g; Tapioca starch 210g; Arrowroot powder; 35g. Total weight: 760g

Method (pastry shell):
Sift flour, add Gum Arabic and mix thoroughly in a bowl.
In a mixer bowl cream butter and salt, at a medium speed for ½ – 1min
Scrape down sides and bottom of mixer bowl; add sugar and combine at low speed for ½min
Add 50g flour, and combine at low speed.
Add Apple cider vinegar; gradually add slightly beaten eggs, and then 50g flour, beating at a low speed until the mixture comes together.
Gradually add rest of the flour, occasionally stopping the machine to scrape down sides and bottom of the bowl, restart and mix until the pastry dough comes together (and if necessary add 1 – 2tsp water, or, more likely, 1 - 3 tbsp of the flour mix (especially during the summer or when it is humid) and allow time to combine) – it may look bitty, will start to come together and clean the sides of the bowl, and will look shiny when handled and pressed together.

Lay a piece of cling film/plastic wrap on a pastry board, place the pastry dough on top of it, press into a ½in (13mm) thick rectangle and cover with cling film/plastic wrap

Chill pastry dough in a refrigerator for 30mins minimum, or even overnight (if chilling overnight, when you take the dough out the next day, and before you begin to roll it, tap it a few times with the rolling pin, to begin to loosen it up). The pastry dough will keep in the fridge for a couple of days, or in the freezer for 1 month (if you have frozen it, when you want to use it, take it out and let it rest for 1 hr to come to room temperature)

Place a rectangular piece of parchment paper, at least 4in (10cm) larger than the tart ring, on top of a silmat, worksurface, or pastry board, dust evenly and lightly with flour, along with dusting the rolling pin. The parchment paper serves a couple of functions as will be explained later.

Cut pastry dough in two, in the proportions of two thirds to one third (place the one third portion (covered) back in the refrigerator); dust hands with flour; roll the dough into a ball and flatten, then roll the pastry three times in one direction, evenly, gently and briskly (i.e., confidently); rotate the pastry a ¼ turn (ensuring that the pastry is not stuck to the board, lift with your hands, turn over and re-flour if necessary); and repeat; and repeat until the pastry forms a rough circle at least 33cm (13in) in diameter and approximately 1/4in (5mm) thick (inevitably the dough will roll into an imperfect circle, and there will be cracks that have a habit of expanding as you roll – just trim off the excess and use to repair any areas short of the required size, press scraps into the gaps and roll in to get the required shape); repeat with the other thirds of dough, and remaining half. The scraps can be rolled up and re-rolled - the pastry is very forgiving – and used for repair work, or saved.

Method (Assembly and baking):
Now come the tricky parts, first, moving the rolled dough to the tart pan and fitting it in. Even with gluten flours this is tricky as the pastry will almost certainly crack – this is OK, it can be repaired. There are a couple of methods that can be used (the choice is up to you, both work).

Preheat oven to 200C for 45mins.

Lightly grease, with well-softened butter, the #tart pan and removeable base.

Moving method 1:
First, make sure that the base is central to the tart pan; place a tart pan and its removeable base, upside down, in the centre of the rolled pastry dough; keeping a firm hand on the pan and its base make a quick and confident flip over, and the pastry dough should droop into the centre of the right-side up tart pan; remove the, top parchment paper.

Moving method 2:
First, make sure that the base is central to the tart pan. Ensure that the parchment paper underneath the pastry dough is well floured and can slide about. Move it, and the rolled pastry dough over to the tart pan and base, holding one edge in your hand pull away the parchment paper with the other hand, and the pastry dough should slide off and droop into the centre of the tart pan, just make sure that the base is central to the tart pan before pulling away the parchment paper.

Fitting the pastry dough in the tart pan:
In one hand, gather the edges of pastry dough and move them inwards (to help the pastry dough droop even more into the tart pan) whilst pressing the dough into the bottom with the other hand; using your fingers move dough into the bottom edges of the ring so that there is a tight fit and work around the pan (inevitably the dough near the rim will begin to tear in some places, just reattach); press the dough to the tart pan sides. Fold over some of the dough to double the thickness of the sides, and smoothly press into the existing dough; using a paring (or narrow bladed) knife trim excess dough to leave a flat edge; where dough is missing, or does not reach the tip of the rim, roll/pinch together some of the excess dough and fit to cover gaps/make up thickness/reinforce the top edge, and smoothing it out; using the paring knife, or similar, slide the blade between the dough and the top of the tart pan side so that there is no dough on the edge of the rim (this will make it easier to lift the ring off the baked tart).

Prick the pastry base a few times (to stop the pastry base lifting it whilst baking).
Place the pastry dough filled tart pan, in a refrigerator for 30mins before baking (for the butter/pastry to harden).

Remove the baking tray from the refrigerator; place the baking tray in the middle of the oven and blind bake the tart shells for 15mins; remove from the oven, and sprinkle a little of the flour mix into the fork holes; lightly brush with water (the resulting paste will seal any holes/cracks); put back in the oven and bake for a further 5mins.

Remove baking tray from the oven; using oven gloves, carefully remove the tart pan sides from the removeable bottom; and cool for 20 – 30mins, whilst you make the pastry cream. Only when the pastry is fully cool and firm is it time to slide the removeable base off of the tart with a thin metal spatula on to a serving plate. This will be after the tart is filled with the pastry cream and blackberries.

Method (pastry cream):
In a bowl (1) add flour, Cornstarch, 32g Cane sugar, and mix. Add 60ml Hemp milk, eggs and whisk together to form a smooth, lemon coloured mixture (the flour and starch are used to bind and stabilize the custard mix).
In a saucepan (2) add 190ml Hemp milk, 32g Cane sugar, butter and vanilla essence. Stir together with a wooden spoon. Place over medium heat and bring to a fast simmer, yet avoid boiling.
Turn off heat. Slowly pour half of the hot milk mixture (2) into the egg mixture (1) and stir constantly with a wire whisk. Pour the resultant mixture (1) back into the saucepan containing the remaining milk mixture (2) and whisk; add 2Tbsp of Kirsch and incorporate.
Turn heat back on to medium and stir the pastry cream mixture with a wooden spoon until it is thoroughly blended and smooth. Make sure that wooden spoon reaches everywhere - bottom, sides, and corners, so that the mixture does not burn. Keep the spoon in constant motion. Once you sense that the mixture is slightly thick on the bottom of the saucepan (look at bottom of spoon), remove it from the heat.
Off heat, continue stirring the pastry cream mixture for a further minute, until the mixture is thick, smooth and uniform (this allows a slow and even coagulation of the eggs and will produce a creamy texture).
Return the saucepan to the heat and bring the pastry cream mixture to the boil (to fully incorporate the cornstarch) whilst stirring constantly (this will inactivate the yolk amylase enzyme and will extract starch, and the egg proteins will bond strongly). Cook for a further 1 – 2 mins to overcome any resultant starch flavour.

Pour pastry cream into a cold bowl (3) (otherwise the pastry cream will continue to cook) and place into a larger bowl (4). Fill bowl (4) with ice cold water to height where pastry cream bowl (3) just begins to float. Initially continue stirring, then stir only occasionally and minimally as the pastry cream cools (as stirring breaks developing starch networks, resulting in a thinner cream).
Once cool, and if not using immediately, cover surface with wax paper, or buttered parchment paper (this will ensure that the pastry cream does not form a skin). Refrigerate for up to 4 days. Pastry cream cannot be frozen, as the starch and protein bonds will break down. Also, in the process of defrosting, the pastry cream will weep, producing moisture, resulting in a runny, rather than stiff, consistency.

Note that it is best to keep fresh blackberries dry and cool and, eat within a day or two. Blackberries freeze well. To freeze, spread unwashed berries in a single layer on a tray and freeze until solid before transferring to air-tight bags or containers and placing them in a freezer.
Prepare the blackberries by removing any greenery, and washing thoroughly, and gently drying, if not already done so.
Spoon the pastry cream into the base of the tart and spread evenly around; carefully place blackberries flat bottom downwards (pointy end upwards), pressing into the pastry cream around the periphery, then moving inside of that ring and repeating, until finally fitting a blackberry in the middle of the tart.
Remove the pastry pan removeable bottom with a thin metal spatula and slide on to a serving plate.
Time to eat a slice of your fresh blackberry tart dessert. Enjoy on its own, or with cream, or even, ice cream!!!

View attachment berry pie.jpg
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