My little ones are master berry pickers.
We spent the day at Patti’s Berries & Bunches and they somehow managed to clean the place out. I have hundreds of juicy blackberries to use up. I’ve also been trying to master a flaky, all-butter pie crust so I decided to marry the two in a blackberry nectarine tart.
I’ve never been good at making pie crust. Why? I’m too impatient to follow directions. I bake like I cook- I throw in a little bit of this, a little bit of that, and hope it all works out. But it doesn’t. Baking is precise and you have to follow the recipe. Through trial and error (mostly error) I’ve finally come up with a pie crust recipe that works.
I will spare you all of the technical details here, as I now realize that homemade pie crust deserves it’s own post. But I will say that this crust is incredibly tender, flaky and buttery. I could eat it by itself.
As for the fruit, the blackberries burst in the oven and their juices become thick and syrupy. The nectarines bathe happily in this syrup mixed with a layer of apricot jam smeared onto the base.
You can make this dough in advance, or assemble the whole tart and chill until ready to bake. Serve at room temperature or slightly warm with a dollop of vanilla ice cream.
* Pie crust inspired by ‘The Pie and Pastry Bible’ by, Rose Levy Beranbaum.
- 1 1/2 c. all purpose flour
- 8 tbsp. (1 stick) salted butter
- 1/4 c. blond cane sugar
- 1/8 tsp. baking powder
- 1 1/2 tsp. cider vinegar
- 1 1/2–3 tbsp. ice water
- 2 ripe, but firm nectarines
- 1 pint of fresh blackberries
- 2 tsp. blond cane sugar
- 2 tbsp. apricot jam
- 1 tsp. cornstarch
- 1 large zip loc bag
- Pre heat your oven to 400 F. Adjust the oven rack to the lowest level and place a pizza stone or cookie sheet inside.
- Make the pastry: Divide your butter into 5 tbsp. and 3 tbsp. Cut into 3/4 ” cubes. Refrigerate the 5 tbsp. of butter and freeze the other 3 tbsp.
- In a food processor, blitz the flour, sugar and baking powder to combine. Add the chilled 5 tbsp. of butter and pulse 10-15 times until you have moist looking crumbs, and no large chunks of butter visible.
- Then add the frozen 3 tbsp. of butter and pulse 3 times. This time you want the butter in large pieces (see notes).
- Add the cider vinegar + 1 1/2 tbsp. of ice water. Pulse 3-4 times. Unplug the food processor. Pinch the mixture between your fingers. If it sticks together, you’re done. If not, add more water 1/2 tsp at a time until it comes together when pinched.
- At this point you will not have a ball of dough, just a lot of crumbs. This is what you want. Tip the mixture into a large zip loc bag and seal it. Using your hands, knead the dough until it comes together. Flatten into a disk and chill for 30 minutes.
- Make the filling: Holding the nectarine upright, slice off the sides. The reddish area closest to the pit tends to be bitter, so you want to avoid this. You should be able to get 4 sides from each nectarine. Then thinly slice them and add to a large bowl.
- Toss in 8-10 blackberries depending on size. Sprinkle in the sugar and cornstarch and give it a mix. Set aside.
- Remove your pastry from the zip loc bag and place it between 2 sheets of parchment paper. This will make rolling the dough very easy.
- Roll your dough into a 12″ circle. Use a ruler or dinner plate to help guide you. Don’t worry if it’s not a perfect circle. Cut off any scraggly bits of dough to get an even circle. Chill for 10 minutes.
- Spread the apricot jam in the center leaving a 2″ border. Pile in your fruit. Gently fold over the edges, turning the dough as you go (it’s still on the parchment paper so you’re really just turning the paper). Slide the parchment onto your pre heated stone or cookie tray.
- Bake for 45-60 minutes, rotating half way through cooking time. If the top is browning faster then the bottom, cover loosely with foil.
- When finished, remove from the oven to cool. Scatter with some extra blackberries over the top.
- Serve at room temperature or slightly warm with a dollop of vanilla ice cream.
*Butter left in large chunks creates a flaky crust.
*Dough can be chilled for 3-5 days, or frozen up to 3 months.