BitterSweet

An Obsession with All Things Handmade and Home-Cooked

A Berry Refreshing Reinterpretation

30 Comments

Bubbling away furiously in the blisteringly hot oven, it was quickly becoming clear that my supposedly simple little tart was not going to behave according to plan. Baking up to a beautiful golden-brown around the increasingly crisp crust, but still almost entirely liquid in the center, something definitely went wrong in the recipe writing process. Disappointing, frustrating, and absolutely humbling, it’s an inevitable occurrence when baking from scratch, but every failure still stings all the same. Of all things, a most ordinary pastry got the best of me- What a blow to the ego!

Removing my mess carefully so as not to slosh that rich magenta berry juice onto the kitchen floor, I was stewing in my own juices, too. Time has been limited every since I took on a full course load of photography classes, and now a day’s worth of edible experimentation would be for naught. Such a sad waste of sweetness.

Like a child sulking at the tail-end of a tantrum, I left the unruly, half-baked dessert to cool and think about what it had done. It’s unlikely that it got the message from my cold shoulder approach, but it gave me time to think, because I wasn’t about to trash everything that easily. It wasn’t until nightfall when inspiration struck, but suddenly, I realized I may just yet have the makings for a stunning summer dessert on my hands.

An overnight rest in the freezer did the trick, completely transforming the once unservable slop into something worth remembering. Now perfectly firm and easy to slice cleanly, it also gained the added element of a refreshingly chilly temperature, making it ideal for these last few hot days of the season. Turns out my initial blunder may have been a blessing in disguise.

Since it was initially conceived as a quick way to clean out the fridge a bit, feel free to improvise with what you have on hand. Any mixture of berries and any flavor of jam will get along just fine in this lightly sweetened, malted crust. I personally can’t get enough of that indescribable malt flavor, but if you can’t get a hold of the flour, an equal measure of cocoa powder could create a delectable chocolate pastry shell instead.

Frozen Berry Tart

Malted Pastry Crust:

1 2/3 Cups All Purpose Flour
6 Tablespoons Cup Barley Malt Flour/Powder
2 Tablespoons Dark Brown Sugar, Firmly Packed
Pinch Salt
6 Tablespoons Non-Dairy Margarine, Chilled and Cut into Pieces
6 Tablespoons Vegetable Shortening
2 Teaspoons Plain Soy or Coconut Yogurt
1 – 2 Tablespoons Water, Ice-Cold

Mixed Berry Filling:

4 Cups Fresh or Frozen Mixed Berries
1/2 – 1 Cup Granulated Sugar*
3 Tablespoons Cornstarch
1/4 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Black Pepper
1/4 Teaspoon Salt

1/2 Cup Apricot Jam or Preserves of Choice

*Depending on what berries you choose and how ripe they are, their sweetness can vary greatly. To make sure that your tart isn’t too sweet or too sour, add the lesser amount of sugar at first, give the filling a taste, and adjust as desired.

Beginning with the pastry, combine both flours, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Add in the both fats, and use a pastry cutter or fork to cut them into the dry goods, until the mixture becomes a fairly coarse meal-like consistency with a few lumps, no larger than peas. Introduce the non-dairy yogurt and 1 tablespoon of water, stirring well (I find this works best with your hands, to make sure everything is being thoroughly incorporated). If the dough is still too dry to fully come together, slowly drizzle in the remaining water until you achieve a cohesive ball. Press it together firmly, and shape into a flat round. Wrap with plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before proceeding, or for as long as 12 hours.

When you’re ready to bake, preheat your oven to 375 degrees and lightly grease and flour a 9-inch round fluted tart pan with removable bottom.

Toss together the berries, sugar (to taste), cornstarch, pepper, and salt in a large bowl, until the fruits are evenly coated and distributed. Set aside.

Retrieve your chilled crust from the fridge, and quickly roll it out on a well-floured surface to prevent it from warming up too much. It is a very fragile dough, so don’t panic if it tears or threatens to completely fall apart. Just move it as best you can into the prepared pan, and use your fingers to press it evenly into the bottom and up the sides, patching holes as necessary. Spread your jam evenly across the empty pastry shell, and finally, top that with your berry mixture. Smooth down the filling so it’s not mounded up in the center, and bake for 40 – 45 minutes, until the crust is golden brown. The filling may still be very liquid, so handle it with care. Let cool completely before covering and carefully moving into the freezer. Let freeze overnight, or at least 6 hours, until firm.

Serves 10 – 12

Printable Recipe

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Author: Hannah (BitterSweet)

Author of My Sweet Vegan, Vegan Desserts, Vegan a la Mode, and Easy as Vegan Pie.

30 thoughts on “A Berry Refreshing Reinterpretation

  1. OMG amasing tart, beautiful pictures, “Hannah’s return in style” ♥

  2. Mmmmm, Hannah, this looks scrumptious and, as luck would have it, I’ve got some fresh fruit that needs to be used. I love the idea of baking and then freezing which makes it a great make-ahead dessert. Thank you.

  3. I find all too often that my vegan sweets dont cook in the centre. I usually end up keeping them in the oven on the lowest temp for quite some time.
    It looks as though you recovered this desert well though! And all those berries mmmmm.

    Rose

  4. Beautiful, beautiful tart, Hannah! I find that when I make pies/tarts/whatever, it never really sets up like that and I can’t cut into it without the filling spilling out everywhere. I need a lesson in patience!

  5. Oh wow…this looks absolutely bealutiful and delicious!!!!

  6. I love that you were able to turn a potential disaster into something amazing. I usually try to do the same thing. I hate throwing food away. My mistakes are usually the result of rushing or not really paying attention.

    Oh and thank you for the sweet email. Honestly you are so talented that all I do is observe and remark.

  7. Welcome back! I am very jealous of your adventures in Europe, although it’s unfortunate about your computer.

    This tart looks so luscious. I really like eating frozen fruits sometimes because of its texture, so I imagine this frozen pastry must be delicious, cold and crunchy.

  8. Hannah, that crust looks incredible. I really want to get a nice tart pan. Sometimes frozen fruits alone taste too watery for me; does the jam and cornstarch help the filling from setting too much?
    Anyway, glad you and your pictures are back safe.

  9. That looks so yummy and refreshing!

  10. I love it when a good dessert can be saved. Yeah!!!

    This looks so incredibly delicious. I like the idea of adding malt. Very unique taste. Yum!

  11. I stew over my kitchen failures too. But I wouldn’t call this a failure–it looks great!

  12. Love your quick thinking to save the day, Hannah! The malted crust is also very intriguing. What a lovely why to feature summer berries.

  13. the hallmark of a good cook, I believe, is someone who can turn a kitchen nightmare into something delicious. you did just that here! What a gorgeous frozen tart!

  14. welcome back!!!! simply stunning sweet treat!! I would love a slice!!

    sweetlife

  15. So innovating, it looks refreshing. Honestly I would have probably dumped it when you got the initial results.

  16. It surely is berry refreshing. If my bad tart looked that good after having rest in freezer I would bake dozens. But sadly mine I usually end up dumping when I make it from scratch. Lets see if this recipe will do the trick and give me the improvised confidence.

  17. Oh My, it looks delicious and pictures are awesome! What a brilliant idea you had to save it this way! I love the black pepper addition in the berries mixtures!

  18. The pie looks perfect! I love reading about ways to “save” less-than-perfect dishes.

  19. The tart looks absolutely wonderful!

  20. Well done you! If only we could turn all our little failures in life into such blinding successes… ah well, at least you’re an inspiration in that regard!

  21. Good save! When life gives you lemons, you make frozen berry tart- haha!

  22. yum! can i come over for a slice? :)

  23. How interesting Hannah, using barley flour in the crust…must taste good :-) Love the idea of using frozen berries, therefore you can make this tart anytime of the year ;-)

  24. I have the same “pooling” of juices disaster every time I use frozen berries! I have found that if i thaw and drain frozen berries it works out better; but still..it’s so frustrating to have a pie or a tart end up to watery..

  25. Mmmmm……what a great idea. I have a freezer full of berries that I have been saving.

  26. This tart looks amazing! Thank you for sharing the recipe :)

  27. That tart looks beautiful and sounds absolutely refreshing!

  28. Happy to hear it turned out in the end! It’s always so disappointing when baked goods don’t turn out as you’d hoped. I love that you used barley malt flour in the crust.

  29. Now that’s what I call a berry tart- looks seriously yummy! Also love the fact that it’s dairy-free. Good job!

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