Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Wild Blackberries Tart

Unripe wild blackberries growing in Madrid area
To say that Madrid is a beautiful city is an understatement, but even the most delightful city can be stressful sometimes. Luckily, the regions surrounding Madrid offer an escape from the hustle and bustle of urban life.  Whenever you are tired of the frenetic life in the city you can always escape to one of the numerous villages in the Madrid area and in half an hour you can find yourself surrounded by beautiful and soothing landscapes.

It was on hot Sunday morning that my sister and I decided to go and discover one of those beautiful places. We headed to Manzanares del real, a wonderful place just 40 minutes by bus from down town Madrid.

As soon as we started walking towards La Pedriza  protected biosphere along the river, we made a  pleasant discovery.
On the road sides the abundance of wild plants growing took me back in time to when I was young and used to make such little discoveries every time I left the city for  the village and  go to the fields to pick up apricots and plums, enjoy a corn on the cob grilled on wood flames, pick up luscious and inviting pomegranates, but above all to fill my stomach with ripe (and sometimes unripe) blackberries. Their sharp taste and fragrance were and still are too difficult to resist.

Blackberries filled the area, looking at me and my sister as if they were begging to be picked and eaten. It was the perfect surprise that complemented the joyous discovery of this wonderful village.
As we started picking and savoring that amazing taste of our childhood and remembering the good old days, we thought we should pick up some more to take home. We had a bottle of water that we emptied quickly and started to fill it as we walked along the riverside. It wasn't easy finding ripe fruits, but we managed to fill almost all the bottle. And this is how we got back to Madrid with some free fruits and a wonderful taste of the Madrid countryside.

At first I thought it was best to eat these fruits, fresh, as they are. But, it's not always easy finding quality fruits like that, so in honor of their exquisite taste, I decided to feature them in a tart. Who would say no to another tart with summer berries? I know I wouldn't!

Ripe blackberries, a true delicacy
It wasn't hard to come up with something that would do justice to these fruits. Their fragrant and sharp taste would perfectly complement a creamy velvety mascarpone filling accompanied with a buttery crust that melts in your mouth.

To do this mascarpone cream and blackberries tart you will need few ingredients, some patience and a lot of love.

For the crust you will need:
  • 250 g flour
  • 125 g butter
  • Tsp of sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • Ice cold water
This amount is sufficient for a 20 cm tart pan. If you have a larger pan or you need to do more calculate the amount accordingly. The steps needed to succeed in doing the crust were clearly explained in my previous post Tartelettes or mini tarts, so please check it for all the details you need.

Few steps are needed to have the perfect pie crust

For the filling
  • 200 ml of cream
  • 200 g mascarpone or cream cheese if you wish
  • 20 g of sugar
  • teaspoon of vanilla
  • Teaspoon of white rum, or any other liquor that you prefer

The essential steps you need to do
Whip the cream with the sugar until the cream is fluffy and has soft peaks. As you have noticed, the amount of sugar used in this recipe is minimal. You can add more if you want, but remember that you want a balanced dessert and not a sickly sweet one.
In a separate bowl, whip the mascarpone, the vanilla and the liquor to fluff up the cheese. Finally combine the whipped cream and the cheese.

Pour the cream into the cooled crust, or pipe it. It doesn't have to be an elegant piping. Then let the berries fall over the cream. You can add some shaved chocolate or leave it as it is. 

Blackberry and cream cheese pie with a hint of chocolate for added flavor

And now you can enjoy a summery and delightful dessert!

Light and fruity, a pie to do again and again

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