at summer’s end

Hello. My name is Andrea. I write this food blog, Bella Eats. You may remember me, or due to my long absence you may not. I’m sorry about that, truly I am. I miss this space! Life has been busy. So so so busy. I started teaching architectural design at the University of Virginia. Teaching. At a University. !!! And before that teaching officially began there was training for teaching. And in the middle of all of that I photographed the wedding of a dear friend I’ve known since the fifth grade. Fifth grade! She was such a beautiful bride, and if you’re interested in seeing some of those images please check out the AHPhoto blog.

Oh, and I started a photography business. Because I love taking pictures of people. And buildings. And food. So if you know anybody who needs somebody to take pictures of people, or buildings, or food…feel free to send them my way. I’d appreciate it so so much. And thank you, all of you, who have commented and tweeted and emailed your support. You’re the best, truly.

And yes, I am still working for an architecture firm here in Charlottesville. So…yeah. Busy.

It feels as though summer has completely passed by Bella Eats. Since June I’ve posted about cherries, blackberries, and blueberries. There have been no luscious heirloom tomatoes, no juice-laden peaches, no golden ears of corn. I even have a new trick for releasing kernels from their cob without making a complete mess of the kitchen counter and floor, and I haven’t had the opportunity to share it with you. That is sad my friends, because this trick is a good one. It will change the way you view corn entirely. Soon, I hope.

Way back in the middle of July our dear friend Kristin celebrated her birthday. She celebrated with us, and with this lime tart topped with blackberries from our garden. Blackberry season is just about over, a sign that summer is drawing to a quick close. Our bush has shed it’s bounty completely, leaving only the tiny shriveled berries that didn’t ever come to full ripeness. Our freezer is packed full of quart-size bags of the frozen fruit, our pantry shelf stocked with various forms of blackberry jam. This tart was one of the last recipes made this summer using berries fresh from the garden, and looking at these pictures already has me feeling nostalgic.

What is it about food that stirs memories stronger than those evoked by any other sense? While blackberries don’t take me back to any point of my childhood, they do plop me down solidly in our backyard here in Charlottesville. For the past 4 years we’ve spent countless July and August evenings standing in our garden, bowls in hand, fingers stained purple, arms eaten by mosquitos, quietly and contently plucking berries one-by-one from a bush WE planted. I know that forever, no matter where we are, when I pop a freshly picked blackberry into my mouth I will be transported back to this place. I love that.

If you’re lucky you can still find pints of deep purple blackberries at your local farmers’ market, and if you do, I recommend you make this dessert before summer’s end. The crust is quite perfect, nearly the consistency and flavor of a shortbread cookie. It doesn’t flake and melt in your mouth like many pastry shells, but instead offers a firm vessel on which to carry a scoop of zippy lime curd. And scoop you will, because this tart never really sets up to a solid, sliceable state. Which is fine by me. The delightful combination of sweet shortbread, tart curd, and fresh blackberries had us all going back for seconds, despite our use of a spoon rather than a fork.

For the record, I am so unhappy with the spacing that this new WordPress theme defaults too, but I just haven’t had the time/energy to dig into the CSS code to fix it. And, we’re working on a redesign of Bella Eats to be launched right around the two year (two years!) anniversary of this site at the end of October.  So, please bear with me and the awkward/awful spacing of the text in my recipes… Thank you.

Lime Tart with Blackberries

from bon appetit, June 2010

Ingredients

for the lime curd:

  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 6 tbsp (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces

for the topping:

  • (3) 6-ounce containers fresh blackberries
  • 1 tbsp blackberry jam

for the crust:

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 large pinch of salt

Method

for the lime curd:

  1. Set a fine metal strainer over a medium bowl and set aside. Whisk the eggs, egg yolks, and sugar in another medium metal bowl to blend.  Whisk in lime juice.
  2. Set bowl over large saucepan of gently simmering water (do not allow bottom of bowl to touch water). Whisk constantly until curd thickens and an instant-read thermometer inserted into curd registers 178ºF to 180ºF, about 6 minutes.  Immediately pour curd through prepared strainer set over bowl.
  3. Add butter to warm strained curd; let stand 1 minute, then whisk until blended and smooth.  Press plastic wrap directly onto surface of curd, covering completely.  Refrigerate until cold, about 4 hours.*

*Lime curd can be made up to 2 days ahead.  Keep chilled.

for the crust:

  1. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar in a medium bowl until well blended, 1 to 2 minutes. Add egg yolk; beat to blend. Add flour and salt and mix on low speed until mixture resembles large peas. Using hands, knead in bowl just until dough comes together.
  2. Transfer dough to a 9-inch diameter tart pan with removable bottom. Break dough into pieces, then press dough evenly up sides and onto bottom of pan. Cover and chill 1 hour.**
  3. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Uncover crust and bake until golden brown, about 35 minutes. Cool completely in pan on rack.

**Dough can be made 1 day ahead. Keep chilled.

assembly:

  1. Remove sides from tart pan and place crust on plate. Spread lime curd evenly in baked crust. Arrange blackberries in concentric circles on top of tart.
  2. Place am in small microwave-safe bowl. Heat in microwave until jam is melted, about 15 seconds. Whisk to loosen and blend, adding water by teaspoonfuls if thick. Brush jam over berries.*** (I only brushed jam over the outer ring, because I liked how they looked without the glaze.)

***Tart can be made up to 8 hours ahead. Chill uncovered.

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28 responses to “at summer’s end

  1. You are as sweet as this dessert! :) That looks delicious! MMMM! Now I’m hungry! :)

    XOXO!

  2. Wow, you sure are busy! The tart looks gorgeous, and you deserve a huge pat on the back for taking on so many responsibilities :). Good luck with all of your endeavors!

  3. Wow–what a cool new gig! Congrats/good luck! Also, these tart pictures are making me mighty hungry…!

  4. Oh don’t worry darling, I could never stray from your amazing recipes! Just one look and you have me hooked for life! :)
    Congrats on all of the wonderful things happening for you right now.

  5. What an exciting/busy time! Congrats! We made this same tart and simply adore it. Yours looks totally gorgeous!

  6. When I saw you’d started a photography company, I assumed that was your new full-time job. So I’m all the more impressed to hear about all this juggling! Congrats on making it work, and glad to see you still have time for dessert in there somewhere. :)

  7. Oh my gosh. This looks delicious. If we were to do our wedding over again (we got married in Richmond), I would have you photograph it in a hot minute. And congratulations on the job at UVA! So exciting!

  8. Your pics are always amazing- looking forward to that corn trick :)

  9. Wow, you are busy! I’m surprised you can keep all that together; good job! The tart looks wonderful, I will have to give it a try if I can still find blackberries (unfortunately I think they’re gone, though).
    As for the spacing (I have the same problem with mine) if it really bothers you, you can click on the HTML tab (right next to the VISUAL tab) on the outer upper right hand side of the box where you type your posts, and from there manually scroll down and fix it (you can delete the extra lines). Hope this helps!

  10. Christina: Every word is true! :)
    Lauren, Jill, Lauren : Thank you!!!
    Blue-Eyed Bakers : Thank you! We loved the tart, it will definitely stay in our rotation each summer.
    Maddie : The juggling is tough, but worth it! And there is always time for dessert. :)
    Mary Frances : I’m flattered! If you have any friends getting married… :)
    DJ Karma : Thank you! Corn trick coming up soon, I hope!
    Janae: Thank you for the tip! I will try that in my next post. :)

  11. this looks delicious,..

  12. oooo, I like the image of each blackberry floating delicately on the soft lime curd, so pretty! Although you were eaten alive my mosquitoes, I feel envious of your summer nights picking berries… ;]

  13. On another note, your life sounds a lot like mine. This past year I juggled my blog, teaching two different women’s rights law courses (I know exactly what you mean when you say “at a university.”), a research trip to china, a day job, my food blog, all the while trying to do a bit of work on my creative writing projects. Somehow we manage to be super women, don’t we? Anyway, your blog, photos, and food are all fabulous. Keep it up!

  14. AH gorgeous! I just made a very similar dessert but it was lemon..you can see a brief photo here: http://www.thesweetslife.com/2010/08/columbia-crest-cork-fork-dinner-party.html

    I have yet to post the recipe but my husband declared it the best dessert of his life! :)

  15. Wow you are INsanely busy. I would love to talk photography with you at some point. Your photos are stunning.

  16. Definitely some lovely photographs – and a tasty sounding tart!

  17. From one teacher to another, I know how hectic things can be. I wish you all the best in your new endeavours and look forward to seeing the new bella eats in the future.

  18. This looks so delicious and yummy! I love anything with lemons!!

    I gave you an award on my blog! Please go check it out! It’s under my new post cheesecake brownies :)

  19. Best of luck in all of your endeavors and thanks so much for sharing this lovely treat with us. It will serve as the perfect way to say goodbye to summer.

  20. I need to make such delicious tart :)

  21. I am exhausted just reading about all you are up to! Love the lime/blueberry combo, and as always, your pictures are wonderful!

  22. It looks so pretty. You are so talented and sounds like you have a lot on your plate.

  23. You are so talented! I had no idea you were an architect on top of being an amazing photographer and chef. Wow.

  24. Gadzooks! Surely there must be a way to tweak my giant stock of frozen blackberries into this deliciousness…

    Congratulations on all the new endeavors, so well deserved. Busy, yes, but full and rich, it sounds.

  25. Wow, congratulations on the teaching and the business. You are such an inspiration!

    Lime and blackberry is such a wonderful combination. I had a lime blackberry sorbet once that was to die for. This tart might beat the iced dessert though, since it has a tart/pie crust. And who doesn’t love crust?

    I wish I could take photos like you do! They are absolutely gorgeous…

  26. Wow, congratulations on the teaching and the business. You are such an inspiration!

    Lime and blackberry is such a wonderful combination. I had a lime blackberry sorbet once that was to die for. This tart might beat the iced dessert though, since it has a tart/pie crust. And who doesn’t love crust?

    I wish I could take photos like you do! They are absolutely gorgeous…

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