Berry Almond Tart is a combination of a rich pastry shell, filled with jam, ripe berries, and an exquisite custard topping. Raspberry almond tart is originally a Scottish dessert, rich and decadent and fit for serving at the finest tables.
Almond flavor compliments juicy sweet raspberries beautifully. Both raspberries and blackberries grow abundantly in Ireland’s cool, damp climate. Lovely summer memories of picking berries on wild bushes in the Irish countryside inspired me to make this cake. Now that spring has finally sprung, it is a perfect time to share a sunny days’ dessert.
I hope you enjoy this luscious custard tart as much as I do. I have adapted the traditional recipe by using both raspberries and blackberries. Perfect for a dinner gathering, or to bring to a pot-luck party, this dessert tastes good hot or cold. No need to worry if you can’t keep it hot.
- 1 and 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup ground almonds
- 4 oz butter (1 stick)
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/4 cup of chilled milk
- 2 tablespoons seedless raspberry jam
- 3 large eggs
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup ground almonds
- 1 oz butter (1/4 stick)
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 cup raspberries
- 1 cup blackberries
The pastry is made in advance. Sift the flour and ground almonds into a large mixing bowl.
You will have some nutty pieces left in the bottom of the sifter, so just turn it over and toss them into the mixture. I sift the ground almonds, not to remove these pieces, but to help aerate and combine the flours together.
Cut the butter into small pieces and add to the bowl. Rub the butter into the flour using the fingertips or a pastry cutter until the mixture resembles fine bread crumbs.
Lift your fingers as you rub the butter in. This helps to add air to the mixture and creates a lighter pastry. Once again, a reason why I don’t use a pastry cutter! You just can’t get air into the mixture unless you delve in with your hands.
I can still hear my Irish home economics teacher instructing us to lift our fingers. “Let the flour fall through the air, girls. It’s the only way to make good pastry.”
Next toss in the sugar and mix well.
Chilled milk will help form the dough. Add 3/4’s of the milk and mix with a fork or your fingers until the mixture clings together. Add all the milk only if needed.
I find the amount of milk required varies depending on where I am baking. The air in America is not as humid as in Ireland, and I always find I need a little more liquid to form pastry here, compared to when I am working in my mother’s Dublin kitchen. I suppose when baking at altitude a little more liquid might even be needed.
Feel free to use cold water instead of chilled milk. The difference in the pastry is barely noticeable.
Knead the dough lightly in the bowl until it’s smooth. If you wish you can turn the dough out onto a floured work surface to knead it, but I just do it in the bowl at this stage.
Wrap the pastry in parchment paper or foil, or just pop it in a plastic freezer bag. Refrigerate it for a minimum of 20 minutes before using.
Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees F and grease a 9-inch round tart pan with butter.
Roll the pastry into a round shape on a floured work surface. Ground almonds make this dough a little more brittle than regular pastry. If it cracks as you roll it, just press it together again with your fingers.
Ensure the pastry circle is at least 2 inches wider than the circumference of the tart pan, to allow enough pastry to line the sides.
Fold the pastry circle in half carefully. Lift it on top of the buttered tart pan or flan dish. Carefully press it into the outer circumference of the pan and up the sides. If it cracks, don’t worry, just press it together again with your fingers.
Use a knife to trim excess pastry from the edge. Prick the base all over with a fork.
Place the raspberry jam in a microwave safe bowl and heat it on high in the microwave for 20 seconds. Spread the heated jam over the pastry using the back of a spoon or a pastry brush. This is a very thin layer of jam. Too much jam will ooze when you cut the tart.
Place the raspberries and blackberries over the jam. Distribute them evenly since they will peep through the surface of the cake. Feel free to get creative and pattern them if you like. I prefer a more rustic look with blackberries and raspberries spaced all over the place.
Now it’s time to make the custard topping. Put the eggs, cream, sugar, ground almonds, flour and almond extract in a mixing bowl. Whisk together until smooth and aerated. This takes about 3 minutes. An over beaten custard mixture may rise too high in the oven and completely cover the berries.
I use a batter bowl for mixing the custard. It just makes it easier for pouring around the berries.
Melt the butter in a glass dish in the microwave. Twenty seconds on high usually does the trick. Pour the melted butter into the egg mixture and whisk together until fully combined.
Pour the egg mixture around the berries. Spread it evenly trying to pour between the berries rather than directly over them. Don’t worry if the filling looks a bit shallow. It’ll rise as it cooks.
Bake the cake in the pre-heated oven for 20 minutes at 375 degrees F. Then reduce the heat to 350 degrees and bake for another 20 to 25 minutes.
When cooked the filling should be fully set and a pale golden color. If you think it is browning too quickly, cover the tart with a foil tent half way through the cooking process.
Remove from oven and allow it to cool. Serve warm or cold with fresh cream.
This is one of my favorite desserts. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
Here is the printable recipe:
Slán agus beannacht leat!
(Goodbye and blessings)
Irish American Mom