Mûre

9 July 2011

 

I understand that mûre can mean many things.  It is the fruit you see above, but can also mean mature.  Or ripe.  I’m not sure which one is more eloquent in English, but suppose it depends on the thing to which you are referring.  I think I heard a woman once described as mûre, which could sound nice if the girl has grown up well but perhaps less so if she is already mature?  In any event, the best fruits are always served mûrs.  Perhaps not the best, but the mûres you see above were really not so bad, quite mûres.

Hello from Geneva, by the way, my home for the next few months.  It is not so hot here as it was there – thank God for that – and the food is darned good.  But my photography is still bad.  Taken against that always gorgeous offset of hot asphalt with the wonder of an iPhone, the picture shows how hot it was, I hope?  It was very hot.  I like it here.  And I’m trying to improve my French.

But back there, the tart sat on the kitchen counter next to a broken window while M and I talked.  Fortunately, there were no bugs.  It got all melty, though, and we ate it anyway.  Still tasty, but a fridge might be nice for those of us who are air con averse (or entirely deficient).  I do not plan to be making so many curd-type tarts these days, being of the latter category and in command of only a very small fridge.

I also do not recommend making this tart on any day other than a Saturday.  On Sunday you will feel as though you’ve lost your last day before the week begins, ever tragically, anew.  But Saturday you can take it to some friends in late afternoon, eat it in lieu of supper, and call it a night before the sun has even set.  The dog days of summer need not be so bad.  If it is a Sunday, however, perhaps make only the lime curd, a different version of the crust, scoop some ice cream (maybe basil?) and then strawberries on top of that.  The time may well be ripe, if not mature.

Tarte aux mûres, lime curd, ginger

I tried a new tart crust! This version is loosely based on an Alice Waters preparation from The Art of Simple Food.  It’s lovely, if much more time-consuming and technique-y than my go-to version is.  Given my lack of patience, I’m not sure I’ll make it again, but may I recommend you try it once?  It really is the perfect cookie crust. The lime curd is based on an amazing lemon version by Suzanne Goin in Sunday Suppers at Lucques.

For the tart crust:  ¼ cup sugar  |  6 tbsp (90g) butter  |  1 egg  |  1 heaping cup flour  |  2 tsp dried ground ginger, or a splash of vanilla extract, or both  |  1 pinch sea/kosher salt

For its  insides:  4 eggs  |  3 egg yolks  |  1 cup sugar  |  1 cup lime juice (maybe 6 limes, to be on the safe side)  |  10 tbsp (150g) unsalted butter, cold and in small pieces  |  big pinch salt  |  blackberries, a lot (about 3 small boxes did me)

Kit:  9 in (20cm) tart mold  |  very fine strainer (not strictly necessary, but nice)

Starting early in the day or the night before, make the crust.  Beat together butter and sugar with an implement of your choice until quite well mixed.  Stir in egg and beat a bit again.  Then stir in flour, ginger, and salt, mixing only as much as you must.  It will make a sticky ball, which you should wrap in plastic and put someplace cool.  Go do something else for half a day (or overnight).  When that is done, bring the dough back to room temperature.  This will take a while as well, and is not worth the battle of not waiting, so go do something else for another hour-ish.  Now roll the dough out using well-floured surfaces and then figure out how to get it into your tart mold.  My method involved a lot of patchwork, but they say that sheets of parchment can do wonders.  Prick the dough more times than you think you need to (at least 10) with a fork, all the way to the bottom.  Then put the thing back in the fridge for another half hour and heat your oven to 350F (180C).  When the oven is hot and the crust is cold, put the tart mold on a baking sheet and leave it in the oven for 30 minutes, turning after 15 if your oven is uneven (most are).  Finally, the thing is done.  Place it somewhere to cool, on a rack if you have one (I don’t) or an upturned oven shelf.

When the crust is cool or nearly cool is the time to make the curd.  Mix eggs, egg yolks, sugar, and lime juice together in a pot with some pronged or wiry implement (fork, whisk).  Set it over medium heat and stir and stir.  The mixture will go frothy and you will tire long before it thickens, but keep with it, and call it the week’s workout for your arms.  If it gets so frothy you can’t see anything, change to a flattish implement (spoon, rubber spatula).  Then go back to the fork and so forth until the mixture is thick enough that it ‘coats the back of a spoon,’ as they say, that is, it won’t dribble after you run your finger across the middle of that spoon’s back.  If you are uncertain, let it go a bit longer, as a runny curd is no fun.  When you are satisfied, stop stirring momentarily, take the mixture off the heat and your little butter cubes out of the icebox.  Then start stirring again with the whisk/fork, adding the butter a cube at a time.  Add a new cube when the previous one has nearly disappeared.  When they’re all done, add a pinch of salt, stir again, and then let cool for 10ish minutes.  Shove it through a fine meshed strainer and into the tart shell.  Chill until shortly before you feel like eating, at which point you can lay the blackberries prettily on top.  You are welcome to make a glaze as I did (example of which is here), but I’m not sure it’s necessary. If you do, consider using fresh ginger and then grate lime zest over all.

Serve to friends in hot weather, maybe 8.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Lexi July 11, 2011 at 11:44

Ground ginger in the tart crust! What a brilliant idea. And I am very impressed that you made such an involved crust in such hot weather.
Delighted to see another Moody Food post after such a long break. I hope Geneva is agreeing with you!

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me July 11, 2011 at 13:53

Thank you for the very kind thoughts, Lex! I’m hoping to get back into the swing of posting, at least once weekly. … Enjoying the CSA Files as always, though!

(Geneva’s fabulous. Recommendations welcome.)

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