Pate Brisee (Short crust Pastry):

1 1/4 cups (175 grams) all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon (2 grams) salt

1 tablespoon (14 grams) granulated white sugar

1/2 cup (1 stick) (113 grams) unsalted butter, chilled, and cut into 1 inch (2.54 cm) pieces

1/8 to 1/4 cup (30 - 60 ml) ice water


1 pound (454 grams) berries (combination of cut up strawberries, cherries (halved and pitted), blueberries, raspberries, and/or blackberries)

1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated white sugar, or to taste

Zest of 1 lemon (outer yellow skin of the lemon)

1 - 2 tablespoons (10-20 grams) all purpose flour


Pastry Crust: In a food processor, place the flour, salt, and sugar and process until combined. Add the butter and process until the mixture resembles coarse meal (about 15 seconds). Pour 1/8 cup (30 ml) water in a slow, steady stream, through the feed tube until the dough just holds together when pinched. Add remaining water, if necessary. Do not process more than 30 seconds.

Turn the dough out onto your work surface and gather it into a ball. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for about an one hour before using. This will chill the butter and allow the gluten in the flour to relax.

While the pastry is chilling, line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Once the pastry has chilled sufficiently, remove the pastry from the refrigerator and divide into four equal portions. On a lightly floured surface, roll each portion of pastry into a 7 inch (18 cm) circle. Place the four pastry circles onto the prepared baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Place in the refrigerator to firm up the pastry while you make the filling.

Filling: In a large bowl, combine the berries, sugar, lemon zest (if using), and flour. Remove the pastry from the refrigerator and divide the filling between the four pastry circles, leaving about a 1 inch (2.5 cm) border around the outside edges of the pastry. Gently fold the edges of the pastry up and over the filling, leaving the center of the tart open. Press the edges gently so the pastry sticks together. Once all the tarts are assembled, cover and return to the refrigerator for about 15 - 30 minutes to chill.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C) and place rack in center of oven. Remove the unbaked assembled tarts from the refrigerator and bake for approximately 25 - 30 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and the juices are bubbling and start to run out from the center of the tart. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool before serving. Serve with softly whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. Cover and refrigerate any leftovers.

Makes 4 individual tarts.

(Can double the recipe to make 8 tarts.)


If you have looked under the 'Pies & Tarts' section of the website you know that I have a fondness for tarts, especially fruit tarts. These individual free form Berry Tarts are especially nice as they have a crisp and crumbly pastry base and the filling is made with a medley of lightly sweetened berries, although you could replace the berries with other fruits. Wonderful warm from the oven with a dollop of vanilla ice cream or softly whipped cream.

The pastry I like to use for these Berry Tarts is Pate Brisee (short crust pastry), which has a wonderful buttery flavor and crumbly texture. It is easily made in the food processor, just remember that the butter and the water need to be very cold. Once made, the pastry must be chilled until firm. Once chilled, it is divided into four portions and each portion is rolled into a circle. The tricky part is rolling out the pastry. In order for it to roll out smoothly, without it sticking to the counter or tearing, it has to be at the right temperature. Too cold (it will tear), too warm (it will stick). This "feel" for the dough will come with practice, so don't get discouraged if you have some trouble at first. If the rolled out pastry tears a little, don't worry, just patch it back together as best as you can. Each round of pastry is then topped with a mound of lightly sweetened berries. Then gently fold the pastry up and over the filling, making sure that the folds of pastry are sealed so that the pastry does not fall open during baking. The tarts are baked in a hot oven until the crusts have nicely browned and the fruit's juices just start to run. The advantage of fruit tarts over fruit pies is that you do not have to wait several hours before serving them. They can be eaten straight away with a dusting of powdered sugar and who can resist a little whipped cream or vanilla ice cream on the side.