Berry Tart with a Cornmeal Crust Tutorial

  • Serves: Makes one 9-inch or 9 1/2-inch tart
  • Baking Temp (degrees F): 350
  • Views: 10644
  • Comments: 6

This is one of my favorite summer tarts to make. The golden, sweet cornmeal crust makes a perfect base to show off tangy, blackberry or bright red raspberry filling. It is also good with boysenberries.

KELLY SAYS: "The tart came out yummy. I like the cornmeal in the crust. It's a nice addition. I took a pic of the fresh blackberries growing in my garden. We have a HUGE blackberry hedge in our backyard, so, when I saw that Sarah's Berry Tart could also be made with blackberries, I got excited! Our berries were finally ripening and the birds were gobbling them all up. Time to go picking!! I got a bowl, and my boy and a-picking we went!"

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour; spoon into measuring cup and level to rim
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal, fine grind (regular)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

1 large egg yolk
3 tablespoons ice water; use water from bowl filled with water and ice

1 cup water
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 cups fresh or frozen raspberries, blackberries or boysenberries

1. Cut the butter into small pieces or shred on the large holes of a box grater. Freeze for ten minutes until frozen.

KELLY SAYS: I just marked where 2 tablespoons was on the stick of butter and grated to that point. It is easier and safer to do it this way.

2. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and salt until well combined.

KELLY SAYS: I always run my dry ingredients through a strainer to get out any lumps. This also helps to mix the ingredients.

3. Toss the frozen butter and quickly press it into the flour mixture between your thumb and forefingers until it resembles small bread crumbs (pea-size pieces are not necessary with this crust.)

3. In a small bowl, mix the egg yolk, and ice water.
KELLY SAYS: I like to separate the yolk from the white using clean hands. Make sure you wash your hands before and after.

Gradually add the egg mixture to the flour mixture while tossing with a fork until thoroughly moistened but not wet. The clump of dough should hold together when pressed between your thumb and forefinger, but look dry on the outside. You may not need all of the egg mixture.

4. Gather the dough in the bowl to bring it together (the dough will remain somewhat crumbly) and make a thick disk).

Wrap the dough in parchment or waxed paper; plastic wrap makes the outside sticky. Refrigerate until well-chilled, about an hour or more.

1. In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar and cornstarch.

Add the water and stir until the cornstarch mixture dissolves.

Cook over medium heat about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thickened.

2. Stir in the berries and immediately remove from the heat. If the berries are frozen, cook for about 30 seconds longer.

Immediately remove from the heat.

3. Cool completely with a piece of plastic wrap pressed on its surface.

1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and place a foil-lined baking sheet on it. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Generously spray a 9-inch or 9 1/2-inch tart pan with a removable bottom with vegetable oil spray. Fit a piece of parchment paper in the bottom, and spray with vegetable oil spray, again. Set aside.

2. SARAH SAYS: This dough must be well-chilled in order to roll properly; otherwise it will be sticky.
To roll the crust, place the dough between two sheets of parchment or waxed paper. Roll a circle about 12-inches in diameter and 1/8-inch thick.

SARAH SAYS: If the dough crumbles while rolling, just patch and press the dough together. If it softens too much, slide onto a baking sheet and freeze until it is very cold and the corner of the top sheet of waxed paper pulls away from the crust easily, about 10 to 15 minutes.

3. Fit the crust into the tart pan: Remove the top piece of wax or parchment paper. Chill the dough briefly in the freezer for about 5 minutes if it softens after the top paper is removed.

4. Set the tart pan bottom on the center of the rolled dough. Position the tart pan side over the bottom. Flip the cornmeal crust and tart pan over at the same time so the crust begins to ease into the pan. Peel away the second piece of wax or parchment paper. If the paper will not come off easily, chill everything as is in the freezer for about 5 minutes until cold.

Gently press the dough into the pan. Piece and patch any cracks with left-over dough. Before trimming the edge of the crust, make sure the top of the crust is secure by pressing gently with your index finger and thumb against the top rim of the tart pan.

Trim the tart by running a rolling pin over the top of the pan.

4. Pour the cooled berry filling into the crust, and smooth the top with the back of a spoon.

5. Place the filled tart pan on the preheated baking sheet and bake until the crust is lightly browned and the filling is gently bubbling, about 45 minutes.

6. Remove the tart to a wire cake rack to cool. Lightly spray a piece of plastic wrap with vegetable oil spray and place sprayed side directly on the surface of the filling so it won't harden as it cools. Poke a few holes in the wrap with the tip of a sharp knife or cut a few small holes with scissors to allow steam to escape, otherwise the filling will become soggy.

Cool completely in its pan at room temperature. Remove the plastic wrap, side and bottom of the tart pan. Carefully remove the parchment paper at the bottom of the tart, if necessary. Serve at room temperature.

Cover tightly with plastic wrap and store at room temperature for about 2 to 3 days or refrigerate if the room is warm.

QUESTION: How do I remove a tart from its pan?
ANSWER: Set the tart pan on a stable base at least 3-inches high, such as a coffee can. Holding the bottom let the side slip down and fall to the countertop. To remove the bottom, set the tart on a flat surface and carefully slide a long thin metal spatula (an offset icing spatula works best) between the parchment paper and the tart, if not using parchment paper, and the pan bottom. Carefully slide the tart to a flat serving plate placed at equal height. Carefully remove the parchment paper at the bottom of the tart, if necessary.

Kelly continues: "My son, Devon's, picking method is not very efficient. He utilizes the "3 for me, one for the bowl" method. It took a while, but we managed to pick a huge bowl of fruit. Enough for the tart, some scones and some to eat out of hand. They are SO tasty..."

Kelly Says: "Devon has always loved to graze on our blackberry hedge. Here is a picture I shot of him when he was just a toddler. Check out that berry face!"

Devon. Photos by Kelly Hong

Other Recipes