What foods evoke childhood memories for you? Raspberries, blackberries and boysenberries are the berries of my childhood. I would spend hours picking berries from my grandparents’ berry bushes and devour every last one. My mom would make her famous berry pie every Thanksgiving…and often times throughout the year that was the perfect combination of tart and sweet. Now I take my own kids berry picking every summer to carry on these memories and we dream about all the delicious baked goods we want to make as we pick, including this free-form berry tart.
For the past few years this berry tart has become a summertime staple around our house. I love taking our freshly-picked berries, simmering them down to the most delicious berry filling and scooping them on top of a simple, buttery, free-form pie crust. It is the perfect kid-friendly recipe as they can help pick the berries, make the pie crust and decorate the tart in whatever way they want. I often double (or 1.5 times) the crust in this recipe so that I can freely give my kids dough to make their own creations with. Then I’m not stressing about not having enough crust to go around.
Flaky, Buttery, Crust
One of the things I love about this tart is the crust. It is flaky, buttery and oh-so-tasty. This crust allows room for error with it’s free-form shape and rustic appearance being baked straight on a sheet pan with parchment paper. Resting the dough in the fridge for an hour after mixing helps solidify the butter and gives a little bit of extra flakiness to this divine crust. It bakes up perfectly around the berry mixture and is golden brown and delicious. Cooking the berries into a beautiful jam-like mixture before baking them into the tart helps condense the flavor and prevent a soggy crust. Just blissful, buttery, crispy edges here.
Berries are at the forefront of late spring/summer in our family and this flaky free-form berry tart is the perfect dessert to enjoy on a summer night. Enjoy!
Free-form Berry Tart
Yield: 1 free-form tart (about 14 by 10 inches)
Time: 25 minute preparation, 1 hour chill, 25 minute bake
- 3-4 cups fresh berries (raspberries, blackberries, blueberries), washed and hulled
- ⅓-½ cup granulated sugar (depending on how sweet you like it)
- Pinch of salt
- 2-3 Tablespoons flour
- 1 Tablespoon butter
Flaky Tart Crust
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar, plus 1 Tablespoon for sprinkling
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter, cold from the fridge
- ½ cup cold water
- 1 egg for egg wash
- Wash the fresh-picked berries and add them to a small saucepan. If you choose to use larger berries, such as strawberries, take off the stems and cut them into halves or quarters. A mixture of berries works well here too.
- Over medium-low heat, add the sugar, salt, flour and butter. You can adjust the sugar in the recipe by adding more or less depending on how sweet you like it. The more flour you add, the thicker the berry mixture will be.
- Mash the berries with the back of a wooden spoon or use a potato masher if you have one. Simmer over low heat, stirring more as it starts to bubble. Let the mixture come to a boil and continue stirring for a few minutes until it has thickened.
- Take off the heat and cool completely.
Flaky Tart Crust
- To a medium-sized bowl, add the flour, sugar and salt. Mix together.
- Cut cold butter into small chunks and place them on top of the flour mixture. Alternatively you can grate the butter into the flour mixture like this recipe.
- Using a pastry cutter (affiliate link) or two forks, break the butter up into lima bean-sized pieces. You still want to see some small chunks of butter throughout the flour mixture.
- Add the cold water and lightly mix together to form a ball. Separate the dough into two equal pieces.
- Place the two balls of dough on separate pieces of parchment paper. Gently flatten into a rectangle shape on the parchment paper. Wrap and refrigerate for an hour before assembling the tart.
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Lightly flour two large pieces of parchment paper (large enough to fit on a half sheet baking pan). Transfer a rectangle of dough to each sheet of parchment paper.
- Roll the dough into a large rectangular shape on the parchment paper.
- Choose one rectangular shape of dough for the base of the tart and spread the cooled berry mixture on top of the dough. Leave ½ an inch around the edges of the dough.
- Using a pizza cutter or sharp knife, slice the second sheet of dough into strips. Begin by covering the edges of the tart with 4 strips of dough to help hold in the filling. Decorate the tart as you choose using a criss-cross fashion or other design.
- In a small bowl, whisk an egg with a teaspoon of water together. Using a pastry brush, brush the egg wash over the top of the tart. Sprinkle with the reserved 1 Tablespoon of sugar.
- Bake for 25 minutes until golden brown. Let cool completely before slicing into squares and serving. Enjoy!
Please share this recipe if you enjoyed it! Post a photo and tag me @amybakesbread so I can see your bake 🙂