People who know me would tell you that it's hard to tell which I like more: gardening or cooking. I'd say it depends on which I'm doing at the moment. Anyway, French cooking and French gardening go hand in hand. For me, cooking is an on-going adventure. Join me here on my culinary explorations, where I share with you both my old favorites as well as new inspirations. It's my fondest wish that these recipes serve as a springboard for your own new creations.
09/27/2010 Wild blackberry-meringue tart (Tarte meringuée aux mures des bois)
1 recipe short crust pastry 4 slightly rounded cups wild or garden blackberries 1 c. heavy cream 4 eggs separated 1 1/3 c. sugar 1/2 t. vanilla extract
Make and chill the short-crust pastry for at least 1 hour. Roll it out and use it to line a 10" tart pan. Prick all over and chill for at least 1 hour. Preheat the oven to 400 F. Line the pastry shell with foil and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake 12 minutes, carefully remove the foil with the beans and bake about 5 minutes more, until pale gold and dry. Leave the oven on.
Meanwhile, make a seedless blackberry puree by one of the following methods. You can whirl the berries in a food processor, then run them through the fine grate of a food mill or a chinois. Or, if you have the sort of juicer that also makes seedless purees, you can use that.
Blend together 4 egg yolks, 2/3 c. sugar, the cream, and the vanilla. Stir in the blackberry puree until thoroughly blended. Pour this filling into the prebaked tart shell, reduce the heat to 375 F and bake for 15 minutes or until barely set.
Beat the egg whites until stiff, then beat in the remaining sugar gradually to make a thick, glossy meringue. Spread it decoratively over the tart, making sure to seal it to the crust so it doesn't retract after baking. Bake the tart for about 5 minutes at 400 F until the meringue is lightly golden.
This fragrant tart is best served about 2 hours after baking.