Monday, July 7, 2008

Round and Round the Mulberry Bush...


I have never seen Mulberries for sale anywhere in the United States (or anywhere else for that matter, but I haven’t been looking). Fortunately, I do see mulberries fairly frequently while I’m driving down the street in my home town, just outside of Chicago. Mulberries grow on trees (no, mulberries do not grown on bushes) that are fairly ubiquitous in the area, and which according to Wikipedia can be found throughout North America. If you’ve never had a mulberry, they taste sweet, and slightly like vanilla or pear. Unlike similar berries, when ripe mulberries are not at all tart. As mulberries grow, they start out green, turn white, then begin to darken and turn red, darkening to black when they ripen. When a mulberry is ripe it will pretty much fall off the tree when you pull it. If you can find some mulberry trees where you live, try to pick about four cups of ripe berries for this tart. Beware that mulberries are very staining. If you can’t find mulberries, or are wary of picking your own fruit, blackberries would work well in this recipe in their place.

To fill this tart I used Pierre Herme’s lemon cream, which I got through Tartlette. The lemon cream is delicious, very rich and lemony. Unfortunately, it also calls for two sticks of butter, which puts it pretty well into the not good for you range, but it is worth it. I used a pie crust for this tart rather than a specific tart crust because my mother had made a pie a few days ago, and there was another pie worth of dough left over. It was a good dough though, nice and tender, and not distracting from the flavorful filling.

Lemon – Mulberry Tart

Makes 14 inch tart

Crust

This recipe comes from Cooks Illustrated. It calls for vodka, which is odd, but works surprisingly well. This recipe may make more dough than you need for the tart.

2 ½ cups all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
2 Tbs sugar
12 Tbs cold butter, cut into ¼ inch slices
½ cup chilled, solid vegetable shortening, cut into 4 pieces
¼ cup cold vodka
¼ cup cold water

1. Process 1 ½ cups of flour, the sugar, and the salt in a food processor until just combined.

2. Add the butter and shortening, and combine until the dough starts to collect in homogenous clumps.

3. Scrape the bowl with a spatula and redistribute. Add the remaining flour and pulse until combined. Empty the mixture into a bowl.

4. Sprinkle the water and vodka and water over the dough. Use a rubber spatula to fold in the liquid until the dough is slightly tacky and sticks together.

5. Press the dough into a disk. On a floured surface roll out the dough into a circle that is larger than your tart pan.

6. Grease a removable bottom tart pan, and place the crust in the pan, pressing the dough into the sides. Trim off excess. Use a fork to poke holes in the bottom of the tart.

7. Refrigerate the tart until the dough is firm again.

8. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Press tinfoil into and over the tart crust. Fill the tart with weights. Bake for 15 minutes.

9. Remove the weights and the tinfoil from the tart. Place back in the oven and bake for another 10-12 minutes, or until the crust just begins to brown.

Lemon cream

1 cup of sugar
Zest of 3 lemons
¾ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
4 eggs
2 sticks butter, softened and cut into pieces

1. Mash the zest into the sugar. Place the sugar, zest, eggs, and lemon juice in a metal bowl set over a double boiler. Whisk to mix.

2. Whisk the mixture constantly until the mixture thickens, and the whisk begins to leave tracks, or until the mixture reaches 180 degrees.

3. Pour the curd into a blender or food processor. Let the mixture cool to 140 degrees. Add the butter, and process the cream until smooth. Place in an airtight container in the fridge until ready to use.

Glaze

1 cup apricot jam
2 ½ Tbs raspberry liquor

1. Place the ingredients into a saucepan over low heat. Bring to a simmer.

2. Strain the mixture to remove the solids.

Assembly

1. Pour all of the lemon cream into the tart crust, and spread it evenly. Place the mulberries into the tart, stem side down, working in circles from the outside going in.

2. Use a pastry brush to dab the glaze onto the tart.

4 comments:

Tartelette said...

Once in a while you *have* to do it and I gotta tell you, I'd rather put my butter on this tart thatn oil in my fries :) !!

Looks wonderful!

bridget said...

Robert, this looks scrumptious! Best of all, you've finally found a use for those ridiculous mulberries all over Glenview. I remember going on walks and coming back with purple feet!

Julia said...

That's almost too beautiful to eat. Wow..

Marie said...

That looks delicious. We have a mulberry tree in my backyard at home, and I believe that they are vastly superior to blackberries