Because A Friday Treat is the Perfect Way to End the Week!

Friday, 20 January 2012

Mixed Berry Crumble Tart

Hello all! This week I’ve decided to make an actual, real-life dessert rather than cakes or biscuits that one tends to graze upon without discrimination throughout the day. This tart will officially have a place at my dining table this evening and will be thoroughly enjoyed (take note, family) following dinner.

Now when it comes to desserts and puddings, fruit crumble is definitely in my top five...maybe even top three! While at school we used to have fruit crumble served pretty much every day and it took an almost Herculean effort on my part to resist indulging as often as I could. Even though I love it, it’s not particularly something I make regularly. It’s one of those dishes which for me, has to be made in the winter. After all, when it’s freezing outside, there’s nothing better than a delicious warm dessert to warm you up inside. 

Just writing a recipe for fruit crumble however, would not be anything particularly spectacular and when I decide to treat myself on a Friday, it must be spectacular. What I decided to do therefore to jazz it up a bit, was to throw some pastry into the equation, creating what is essentially a fruit crumble tart. So you basically end up with this great dessert which is delicious served warm with custard (or cream if that’s the sort of thing you like...although why you’d EVER choose cream over custard is beyond me) AND will keep really well in the fridge for a cold slice of greatness the next day at breakfast or lunch (it’s up to you as I have no actual control over you).

You will at this point, no doubt have noticed that I’m specifically making my tart as a mixed berry crumble tart. This is only really because this is my absolute favourite crumble. I’m not a huge fan of apples in crumble and definitely not of pears but any sort of berry is great. For this particular recipe, it’s really handy to buy one of those packs of frozen mixed berries. For one its cheaper than buying several extortionately priced punnets of fruit and it also gives you access to fruits which are not necessarily in season. I left mine to defrost a little before I put them in my pie but I have made crumble before where I’ve just thrown them in frozen. And on that note...

Some final tips before you get started:
  • Returning the pastry to the fridge again and again may seem tedious but it’s necessary. As I’m sure you know, the colder the pastry (or more specifically the butter in the pastry) the flakier and more delicious your pastry will be. That’s why it’s key to only mix your pastry to the point where some pea sized lumps of butter remain.
  • Don’t try and mix the crumble with a spoon, getting your hands in there and rubbing it together to form breadcrumbs is the only way. If you’re not sure how to do this, pick up a small quantity of the butter and flour and rubbing it with your thumb against your other four fingers, let it fall back into the bowl.
  • As with last week’s biscuits, when rolling out your pastry dough use plenty of flour on the work surface to prevent it from sticking. Just make sure you brush off any excess flour before you put in the tin for baking.
  • The easiest way I find to get my pastry into the dish without tearing holes in it is to fold it in half from bottom to top. I then fold this from left to right so I’m essentially left with my pastry in a quarter segment. This is easy to pick up and then unfold in your tart tin.
  • Be very gentle shaping the pastry into your tin. I speak from experience in saying that stretching the pastry to fit only leads to bad things.
  • Finally, when cooking both the pastry by itself and when the tart is fully assembled, place in the oven on a preheated baking tray. This helps the base of the pastry to cook evenly.

Mixed Berry Crumble Tart
For the Pastry (adapted from Hummingbird Bakery Cake Days):
110g Unsalted Butter (chilled and cubed)
225g Plain Flour
80g Caster Sugar
1 Large Egg
1tbsp. Ice Water

For the Filling:
400g Mixed Berries
75g Demerara Sugar
1tbsp. Plain Flour
½ tsp. Ground Cinnamon

For the Crumble:
140g Plain Flour
90g Unsalted Butter (softened to room temperature)
75g Caster Sugar
25g Rolled Oats
25g Chopped Mixed Nuts

23cm Tart or Flan Tin

1)      In a food mixer or processor, mix together the chilled and cubed butter to the point where some small, pea-sized lumps of butter remain. Stir in the sugar before adding the egg and ice water. Stir again until combined before bringing together into a lump of dough with your hands. Flatten into a disc and chill in the fridge for 20-30 minutes.
2)      Once chilled, roll onto a generously floured surface until around 5mm thick and large enough to line your tart tin. Dust off any excess flour and transfer to the tart dish (see method above). Gently push the dough to line the base and sides of the dish. Trim the edges of the tin with a sharp knife to remove any excess pastry and prick several holes in the base of the pastry.
3)      Return the dish to the fridge to chill for a further 30 minutes, preheat your oven and baking tray to 150◦C.
4)      Again once chilled, remove from the fridge, line the pastry with greaseproof paper and fill with baking beads before placing on the baking sheet in the oven to blind bake for 10 minutes. Following this, carefully remove the beads and paper before baking again for a further 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave to chill while making the filling. Turn the oven temperature up to 180◦C.
5)      In a medium sized bowl, combine the mixed berries, demerara sugar, flour and ground cinnamon.
6)      In a separate bowl, rub together the flour and butter until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Gently stir in the caster sugar, oats and chopped mixed nuts.
7)      Taking the pastry base, fill with the berry mixture before covering completely with the crumble. Bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes until golden brown. Leave to cool slightly before serving.


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