Normally at this time of year, I post recipes exclusively for Blackberries and Salmon. I go back to British Columbia, where I was born and where my mother has retired in August to celebrate the birthdays of my family who are almost exclusively born under the sign of Leo. To celebrate Leo birthdays you in BC you eat Salmon and make desserts from freshly picked blackberries.
This year, I went a bit earlier than usual and yet, because of an early warm spell, the blackberries on Gabriola Island were already winding up. So, I made this recipe to feed to my mother and sister a full week before their actual birthdays. Also, there will be only one (well maybe two) new blackberry recipes this year. Don’t fret. If you need more blackberry recipes, scroll down to the gallery at the bottom!
My sister was really into editing photos of blackberry picking to make them look like stills from a zombie horror movie. Here is a gallery of she and I staring in a film I’m calling “THEY CAME FROM THE BLACKBERRY BRAMBLE!”
Stay tuned for the sequel “THEY CAME FROM THE BLACKBERRY BRAMBLE- NEXT GENERATION” Starring all of my teenaged second cousins, coming out in a couple of days (along with a recipe for Blackberry and Plum Pavlova).
Not only is this tart delicious and beautiful, it’s also gluten and dairy free. It started out as an experiment to see if I could make a vegan and gluten-free tart recipe to serve at The Illuminati Ball. Our excellent stage manager, Jalana, told me about using mason jar lids as little quick release tart tins. It’s such an economical way to make a lot of little tarts! But then I decided that I really wanted to use nice raw local honey instead of sugar or some kind of syrup, so the tarts are not vegan anymore. Also, this tart crust is really delicate. It’s like the crispest and lightest of almond cookies. In other words it is too finicky to make for nearly 40 people as part of an elegant 8 course, plated meal. It is very good, however, to make for your tender tummied, West Coast, bohemian family. You can take it to the beach and eat it while you watch the sunset. That’s what we did!
SAFFRON HONEY ALMOND CREAM
Makes 6 small tarts
- 1 cup raw blanched almonds (slivered or sliced is fine)
- 1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
- 1 generous pinch of saffron
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup local, raw, runny honey
- 3 Tablespoons coconut oil, melted
- Soak the almonds in water for at least 4 ours and preferably more like 8 hours. You can also make the crust the night before if you like (scroll down). It is a good idea, since both need to be cool before assembly.
- In a small bowl, combine the saffron, almond extract and 1/2 cup water.
- While the saffron soaks, drain the soaked almonds. Process or blend the drained almonds with the honey and melted coconut oil until it is pureed. With the motor still running, gradually add the saffron water until the almond paste is quite smooth and has an even saffron color. The consistency does not get as smooth as dairy cream or cashew cream. It’s like a fluffy marzipan with a beautiful saffron color.
ALMOND CRUST (DAIRY AND GLUTEN-FREE)
- 2/3 cup almond meal
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted and still warm, plus a bit for the pan
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- a pinch of sea salt
- 2/3 cup brown or white rice flour
- 3 Tablespoons potato starch
- 2 Tablespoon tapioca flour
- Preheat the oven to 4oo degrees. Grease 6 wide mouth mason jar lids and rings with some coconut oil and place them on top of a baking sheet.
- In a medium bowl, combine almond meal, sugar, melted coconut oil, vanilla and salt.
- Add the brown rice flour, potato starch and tapioca starch and mix until combined.
- Divided the dough into 6 even lumps and press each lump into the bottom and up the sides lid tart tins. As they bake the sides will slump down, but if you’ve built up the sides there will still be a bit of a bowl shape after baking that is useful when you fill the tarts. Place baking sheet in the oven for 15 minutes then rotate the sheet and bake for another 5 minutes or until the tarts shells are golden brown. Let the tart crusts cool completely before filling them.
- 1 and 1/2 cups of fresh ripe blackberries
Evenly distribute the almond cream across the 6 cooled tart shells. Arrange fresh blackberries on top and serve!
MORE BLACKBERRY RECIPES!