In summer, we usually don’t make dessert, we pick it. Or rather, let everyone pick their own. Conveniently located next to and above our outside dining table, we grow a succession of summer berries. First to ripen is the yellow raspberry “Blondie” and red summer raspberries are quick to follow. Later, it’s some hybrid berries and Japanese wineberry. And after that, autumn raspberries take over and continue to ripen the first frosts – last year we harvested the last ones in November.
The plants take up a minimal space – a stripe of just 50 cm along the fence is enough to grow a selection of berries that gives us a continuous harvest from June till October/November. Too often the vertical space is neglected in a garden design, but especially in small urban gardens that have fences and walls all around, it is important to use it fully.
Our berries get picked every day – at least once, and every day new ones ripen. There’s never a huge amount of ripe berries at one time. Rather, it’s the convenient drip-drip production that gives us a small bowl of berries every day. Not enough to make jam, but enough for the morning bowl of cereals and the dessert. Most of the time, we just eat the berries straight from the bush, but occasionally, I make a more elaborate dessert. Like soft chocolate raspberry tart. Because in case you did not know, raspberries and chocolate are best friends. Especially in this tart from the ever-inspiring Dorie Greenspan, where the slight tartness of raspberries is contained in a crisp crust under a blanket of velvety chocolate custard. A custard that, when cooled, tastes like a rich chocolate pudding – very suitable for a summer dessert.
Soft Chocolate and Raspberry Tart
From Dorie Greenspan: Baking: From my home to yours
makes about about 8 servings
For the crust:
170 g (1 1/4 cups) all-purpose flour
30 g (1/4 cup) ground almonds
60 g (1/2 cup) confectioners’ sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
125 g (1 stick plus 1 tablespoon (9 tablespoons)) very cold (or frozen) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 large egg yolk
For the filling:
90 g (3 ounces) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
60 g (2 ounces) premium-quality milk chocolate, finely chopped
125 ml (½ cup) heavy cream
50 g (4 tbsp) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
2½ tbsp. sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
150 g (1 cup (6 oz.)) fresh raspberries, rinsed and dried
Put the flour, ground almonds, confectioners’ sugar and salt in a food processor and pulse a couple of times to combine. Scatter the pieces of butter over the dry ingredients and pulse until the butter is coarsely cut in—you should have some pieces the size of oatmeal flakes and some the size of peas. Stir the yolk, just to break it up, and add it a little at a time, pulsing after each addition. When the egg is in, process in long pulses—about 10 seconds each—until the dough, which will look granular soon after the egg is added, forms clumps and curds. Just before you reach this stage, the sound of the machine working the dough will change—heads up. Turn the dough out onto a work surface and, very lightly and sparingly, knead the dough just to incorporate any dry ingredients that might have escaped mixing. (Since I do not have a food processor, I use the hand-held pastry blender – works just fine)
To press the dough into the pan: Butter a 9-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. Press the dough evenly over the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Don’t be too heavy-handed—press the crust in so that the edges of the pieces cling to one another, but not so hard that the crust loses its crumbly texture. Freeze the crust for at least 30 minutes, preferably longer, before baking.
Butter the shiny side of a piece of aluminum foil and fit the foil, buttered side down, tightly against the crust. (Since you froze the crust, you can bake it without weights.) Put the tart pan on a baking sheet and bake the crust for 25 minutes. Carefully remove the foil. If the crust has puffed, press it down gently with the back of a spoon. For a partially baked crust, patch the crust if necessary, then transfer the crust to a cooling rack (keep it in its pan).Bake for another 8 minutes or so, or until it is firm and golden brown.Transfer the tart pan to a rack and cool the crust to room temperature before filling.
Set a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water. Add the chocolate to the bowl and heat, stirring occasionally, until completely melted. Remove from the heat. Meanwhile, bring the cream and the butter just to a boil.
Pour the cream-butter mixture over the chocolate and let stand 30 seconds. Whisk together gently until smooth and well combined. Then stir in the sugar, eggs and egg yolk. Rap the bowl against the counter gently to break any bubbles that might have formed. Scatter the berries over the bottom of the crust, then pour the chocolate mixture over the berries. Bake for about 30 minutes, so that the filling does not jiggle if you tap the pan. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool to room temperature before serving.