One of my fondest memories growing up was visiting my grandparents in Hoboken, New Jersey. Opening their gate to their brownstone, into their arms made the trip from either North Jersey or Pennsylvania worth it. My grandfather used to walk us around Hoboken, introducing us to every person he knew - from the local policeman to the barkeep to the yuppies that just moved in down the block (this was the 80's mind you.) Because of them, I learned that Italian food didn't come from a jar of Ragu, but from an amazing man named Leo, the proprietor of Leo's Grandevous. Leo introduced my brother and I all sorts of Italian specialities. To this day, we still talk about my brother happily munching on scungilli fra diavolo before the age of 10. Leo always made sure my Shirley Temple glass was full of cherries and that there was more to Italian cooking than chicken parmigiana. Plus, I remember I was never allowed to sit at the bar with my brother and grandfather - I always sat at a bar table with my grandmother. I was told that it was improper for ladies to sit at the bar!
For breakfast, my grandmother used to let my brother and I go down the block and purchase fresh crusty kaiser-type rolls for everyone from Miguel. Miguel was the proprietor of the bodega on the corner. Miguel's bodega was housed in a former pharmacy - he had beautiful stained glass windows that said "drugs" that he never changed. No matter what time of day or night, Miguel was there - we never saw anyone else working there!
But the best part was dessert. My grandparents would always purchase Neapolitan ice cream - they would always split the chocolate and vanilla and my brother and I would end up with the strawberry. When the family would get together for the holidays, my grandmother would go out to Cosmo's Bakery on 9th & Washington, to purchase a Beehive cake. A Beehive cake is a honey praline cake with a custard filling. As best as I can recall, the only person who liked the Beehive cake was my grandfather! After my grandfather passed away, my grandmother stopped buying Beehive cakes, and began buying fruit tarts. Part of the reason of the change of pastry was because of the perceived healthiness of the fruit tart and the fact that my grandmother realized that no one really liked Beehive cake. Cosmo's sold these big, beautiful fruit tarts. The fruit was so sweet and juicy sitting there in a buttery crust. It was the first time I ever had kiwi!
Fast forward to the present. The wee one started becoming obsessed with berries - strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, and especially blueberries. We ended up buying a huge container of Jersey Fresh blueberries from Costco. When we got it home, we realized there was no chance in hell that we would be finishing them raw. So, we baked. The first thing I made were Maureen's Blueberry Muffins. I still had lots more blueberries. So, I looked at Simply Recipe's Berry Tart. With some adaptations, I made it a fantastic gluten-free treat!
Summer Berry Tart adapted from Simply Recipes
Tart Crust Ingredients
- 1 cup Domata Living Flour (or all purpose flour)
- 1/4 cup gluten-free almond flour
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 stick unsalted butter, frozen, cut into 1/2 inch slices
- 1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
- 4-6 Tbsp ice cold water
- 1 cup (8 oz) mascarpone cheese
- 1/3 cup cold heavy cream
- 1/8 cup granulated sugar
- 1/8 cup of vanilla sugar
- 4 cups of assorted berries
- simple syrup
- In a food processor, combine the flour, almond flour, salt and the sugars, pulse to mix;
- Add butter one pat at a time and pulse until mixture resembles a coarse meal;
- Dilute the almond extract to 4 Tbsp of ice water, then add the almond water to the flour and pulse to incorporate;
- Add ice water, one tablespoon at a time, pulsing after each addition, until the dough begins to come together;
- Remove the dough from the food processor;
- Form into a ball onto a lightly floured surface;
- Shape the dough into a disc, approximately 5-inches wide. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least an hour;
- After the dough's been chilled, remove the disc from the refrigerator;
- Let acclimate at room temperature for 5-10 minutes;
- Sprinkle some flour on top of the disk and roll out with a rolling pin on a lightly floured surface to a 12 inch circle; about 1/8 of an inch thick;
- Carefully place dough into a 9-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom;
- Gently press dough into pan - making sure that the sides and bottom have even thickness;
- Put tart pan in the freezer for 30 minutes;
- Preheat oven to 375°F;
- After 30 minutes, take tart pan out of freezer and poke the bottom in several places with a fork;
- Line with the crust with aluminum foil, with enough extra foil off the two of the sides to use for lifting the pie weights out later;
- Fill with pie weights - beans, ceramic or stainless pie weights;
- Put the tart shell in the oven on the middle rack (make sure you have a baking sheet below the tart shell for drippings);
- Bake for 20 minutes;
- Remove from oven and remove the pie weights;
- Return the tart pan to the oven for 10-15 more minutes - bake until lightly golden.
- Remove from oven and let cool completely;
- In a medium bowl, beat together the mascarpone, cream, and sugar at high speed until stiff peaks form, about 1 minute;
- Scoop mixture into tart crust, and spread so that it is level. Do not fill to the top of the shell - leave room for the fruit;
- Put berries into a bowl and pour some of your simple syrup over them;
- Use a large rubber spatula to gently mix the berries so they are all well coated;
- Use a slotted spoon to lift up the berries from their bowl and place on the mascarpone cream;
- Remove the rim of the tart pan before serving.