We are right in the middle of berry season, my favorite of the year. This might be because I grew up in tropical countries, where most berries are tremendously poisonous. Or because in my childhood memories, picking up berries when I was visiting France in the summer was more exciting than any Easter egg hunt. I think I have berry excitement in my blood. I still recall my mom talking about “good old times,” when she would spend hours picking up strawberries in the neighborhood farms — and eating half of the them on-site! (The old maxim rings true: “one for the basket, one for me…”)
Blackberries are mean, though — they spread, they stain, they prick, they snare. Blackberries deserve to be hunted and eaten raw! We found four pounds of these devilish beauties near my mother-in-law’s pea patch, on July 4th, and decided to celebrate with delicious deep purple pastries. These mini-pies are made with an almond sugar crust, layered filled with a lemon and blackberry mousse, and topped with fresh infused blackberries. Enjoy!
Ingredients – for 6 mini pies:
For the Crust:
– 1 cup flour
– 1/2 cup almond powder
– 1 stick of warm butter (~110g)
– 1 egg
– 1/3 cup sugar
– 1 pinch of salt
For the filling:
– 1 pouch of gelatin (replace by 2 egg yolks and 1/3 cup of flour, if you want a creamy filling instead of a mousse one)
– 1/3 cup sugar
– 1 cup blackberries
– 1 lemon juice
– 400 millileters milk
For the topping:
– 3 cups blackberries (or, you know, 37…)
– 1 lemon, juiced
– Powdered sugar
Recipe – 30 min + 1h cooling:
– Mix all the ingredients in a bowl until the dough forms a ball. A stand mixer works best. Add a little more flour if it is too sticky, and a little bit more water if it is too dry.
– Flatten the dough with a roller, and press it into buttery mini-pie cupcake molds. Poke the bottom of each crust with a fork to increase air circulation.
– Bake for 20-30 minutes at 300° F and let them cool on a rack. When you un-mold them, they should have a lovely rustic style!
– In a pot, soak the blackberries in sugar and lemon juice, and heat for 5 minutes until the fruits are releasing juice. You can accelerate process by smashing the blackberries with a fork. It should smell gloriously syrupy when cooked.
– Add the milk and let it heat until it is starting to boil on the surface.
– Slowly add the gelatin while mixing until totally dissolved. Filter the mix to separate blackberry seeds from liquid. If you opted for the creamy version, then beat the yolks with the flour in a separate bowl, and slowly incorporate the filtered milk and blackberry mixture. Mix until the scrumptious goop has thickened.
– Let the mousse cool in the fridge for half an hour.
– Soak the blackberries with lemon juice and a little bit of sugar.
– When crusts have been baked and cooled down, and filling is gelled / thick, pour the mousse into each shell and top with blackberries.
– Sprinkle some powdered sugar — and voila!