What to Read Next

Baking and Berries and Basil, Oh My!

June 13, 2014

Baking and Berries and Basil, Oh My!

June 13, 2014

Farmers’ markets are at their most sumptuous during the warm-weather months, when fruits are abundant, flowers are voluptuous, and herbs are as fresh as can be. Inspired by the season’s sun-kissed flavors and heady fragrances, we created pies and tarts that mingle sweet fruits with aromatic edible plants. Consider this an ode to summer’s gorgeous bounty.

Related: Brunch Recipes to Try This Weekend

Red Berries + Lemon Basil

A few handfuls of raspberries, strawberries, and elderberries tossed in sugar rest atop a chilled custard infused with lemon basil. The herb, with its citrusy note, brightens the silky, rich filling.

Lemon-Basil Custard Pie with Red Berries

Crust
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
2 to 4 tablespoons ice water

Filling
1 cup milk
1 cup heavy cream
2 lemon-basil sprigs, plus more, with flowers, for serving
5 large egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon coarse salt

Berries
10 ounces fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced (about 2 cups)
8 ounces fresh raspberries, halved or cut into thirds if large (about 2 cups)
Fresh elderberries or currants, kept in clusters (optional)
1/4 cup sugar

1. Crust: Pulse flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor to combine. Add butter; pulse until mixture resembles coarse crumbs with some larger pieces remaining. Add ice water; pulse until dough just starts to come together. Pat dough into a disk, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour or overnight.

2. Let dough stand at room temperature until pliable. Roll out on a lightly floured surface to an 11-inch round, about 1/8 inch thick. Fit into a 9-inch pie plate, fold over edge, then crimp. Freeze until firm, about 1 hour.

3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line pie-crust with parchment and fill with weights or dried beans. Bake 25 minutes, then remove parchment and weights and continue to bake until golden, about 15 minutes. Let cool.

4. Filling: Meanwhile, bring milk, cream, and lemon basil just to a boil in a medium pot. Remove from heat, cover, and let steep at least 2 hours (or overnight in the refrigerator).

5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Return milk mixture to a simmer; remove lemon-basil sprigs. Whisk together egg yolks and sugar in a bowl, then whisk in cornstarch and salt until mixture is pale and thick, about 2 minutes. Slowly whisk in hot milk mixture until smooth. Pass mixture through a fine sieve into piecrust; skim any foam from surface with a spoon. Bake just until set in center (if browning too quickly, tent edges with foil), about 30 minutes. Let cool completely. Refrigerate until chilled, at least 4 hours or up to overnight.

6. Berries: Gently toss strawberries, raspberries, and elderberry clusters with sugar in a bowl. Let stand until juicy, about 5 minutes. Spoon berries and juices over chilled pie, top with lemon-basil flowers, and serve.

Related: 47 Ways to Maximize Space in Your Kitchen

Blackberries + Oregano

If you’re using oregano only in savory dishes, you’re missing out. We mixed chopped fresh oregano (it’s less pungent than the dried herb) with blackberries for a fragrant and sweet filling. The top crust is made by overlapping disks of pâte brisée, shaped with a fluted round cutter to echo the fruit’s silhouette.

Blackberry-Oregano Pie

If your food processor is not large enough to hold the entire amount of dough, divide the ingredients in half and make the recipe in two batches, then combine the doughs before dividing into thirds.

4 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
2 teaspoons coarse salt
3 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
3/4 cup ice water
7 cups blackberries (about 2 pounds)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh oregano
1/4 cup cornstarch
Pinch of coarse salt
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Coarse sanding sugar, for sprinkling
Sweetened whipped cream, for serving

1. Crust: Pulse flour and salt in a food processor to combine. Add butter; pulse until mixture resembles coarse crumbs with some larger pieces remaining. Add ice water; pulse until dough just starts to come together. Divide dough into thirds, pat into disks, and wrap each in plastic; refrigerate at least 1 hour or overnight.

2. Let dough stand at room temperature until pliable. Roll out 1 disk on a lightly floured surface to an 11-inch round, about 1/4 inch thick. Fit into a 9-inch pie plate. Trim overhang to just beyond rim of pie plate; tuck under to create a neat edge all around. Refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, roll out remaining 2 disks of dough to just under 1/4 inch thick; freeze on 2 baking sheets until firm, about 30 minutes. Using a 1-inch fluted cookie cutter, cut out as many rounds as possible from sheets of dough (rerolling and cutting out scraps once). Return cutouts to freezer.

4. Filling: Toss blackberries with lemon juice, granulated sugar, oregano, cornstarch, and salt in a bowl. Transfer to piecrust. Brush edge of piecrust with beaten egg and arrange overlapping rounds of dough on top of edge. Continue overlapping rounds to cover entire top. Freeze 1 hour.

5. Preheat oven to 400 degrees with a rack in lower third and a baking sheet on rack below. Brush entire top of pie with egg wash and sprinkle with sanding sugar. Bake 30 minutes. Reduce heat to 375 degrees and continue to bake until juices are bubbling near center (if browning too quickly, tent top or edge with foil), about 1 hour more. Let cool completely, at least 6 hours or overnight. Serve with whipped cream.

Related: 19 Easy Barbecue Recipes to Make This Season

Peaches + Chamomile

The mild sweetness of chamomile, a dainty little flower, is a nice counterpoint to the fruit’s lusciousness. A brew of sugar, water, and dried chamomile is used to poach the peaches, which are then nestled on top of sweetened sour cream in a fluted rectangular shell. We also seasoned the dough with the ground buds from chamomile tea bags.

Chamomile-Peach Tarts

Peaches
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup dried chamomile blossoms (from 10 to 12 tea bags)
3 ripe peaches, halved and pitted

Crusts
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
4 large egg yolks
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
8 teaspoons chamomile tea (from 8 bags)

Filling
1 1/2 cups sour cream
6 tablespoons sugar
Fresh chamomile flowers (unsprayed), for serving

1. Peaches: Bring 6 cups water, sugar, and chamomile blossoms to a boil in a medium pot, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Boil gently until reduced slightly, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool 1 hour. Strain out solids, then return liquid to pot and return to a simmer. Add peach halves and cover with a parchment round. Let simmer 3 minutes, then remove from heat and let peaches cool completely in liquid. Refrigerate, covered, until chilled, at least 2 hours and up to 2 days.

2. Remove peaches from liquid, peel, and cut each half into fifths. Pass liquid through a fine sieve and measure out 1 1/2 cups. Return peaches to remaining liquid. Transfer 1 1/2 cups liquid to a pot; bring to a boil and reduce until syrupy (about 2 tablespoons), about 15 minutes. Let cool completely.

3. Crusts: Meanwhile, combine butter and sugar with a mixer on medium speed until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add egg yolks, then flour, salt, and tea; mix until dough just starts to come together. Dividing evenly, press dough evenly into bottom and up sides of two 4-by-13-inch rectangular tart pans with removable bottoms. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.

4. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake crusts until golden brown, pressing down centers of tarts if puffing up, about 20 minutes. Let cool completely.

5. Filling: Stir together sour cream and sugar in a bowl and spread in bottom of crusts, dividing evenly. Remove peaches from liquid and blot dry. Dividing evenly, arrange peaches over filling; drizzle with reduced syrup. Serve immediately, topped with chamomile flowers.

Related: 22 Chicken Dinner Recipes in Less Than 30 Minutes

Plums + Roses

A rose is a rose is a rose … until you pair its delicate fragrance with plums, at which point it creates a sublime dessert. For this tart, rose water is sprinkled onto a mixed bunch of cut plums; the aromatic filling is then topped with a brown-sugar crumble before baking. Pair with a plum-rose sorbet.

Rose-Scented Plum Crumble Tart

Crust
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon coarse salt
1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
2 large egg yolks
1 tablespoon ice water

Filling
2 pounds mixed small plums, halved and pitted
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup packed light-brown sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
Pinch of coarse salt
1 teaspoon rose water

Crumble
1/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
Plum-Rose Sorbet, for serving (optional)

1. Crust: Pulse flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor to combine. Add butter; pulse until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add yolks and ice water; pulse until dough comes together. Pat into a disk, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate at least 1 hour or overnight.

2. Let dough stand at room temperature until pliable. Roll out on a lightly floured surface to a rough 13-inch round, about 1/4 inch thick. Fit into an 11-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. Fold over and tuck overhanging edges into pan. Freeze until firm, about 1 hour.

3. Filling: Toss to combine plums, both sugars, cornstarch, salt, and rose water in a bowl. Spread in tart shell in a single layer.

4. Crumble: Combine brown sugar, butter, flour, and salt in a bowl and mix with fingertips until clumps form. Crumble evenly over filling.

5. Preheat oven to 400 degrees with rack in lower third. Bake on a rimmed baking sheet until juices are bubbling and topping is browned, about 50 minutes. Let cool completely. Tart is best served the day it’s made, with sorbet.

Blueberries + Lavender

Each of these delightful tartlets comprises three distinct parts: a cornmeal crust; whipped cream infused with dried lavender for a floral, slightly minty kick; and a topping of firm blueberries and (dried or fresh) lavender. The assembly is easy; it can even be child’s play if you have a willing little companion.

Mini Blueberry-Lavender Cornmeal Cream Tarts

Cream
1 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh or dried lavender, plus more for serving

Crusts
1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1/4 cup finely ground cornmeal
1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1 stick plus 2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 large egg yolk
2 tablespoons ice water

Filling
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
1 to 2 cups fresh wild or regular blueberries or huckleberries

1. Cream: Bring cream and lavender just to a boil in a small saucepan. Remove from heat, cover, and let cool completely. Refrigerate until well chilled, up to 2 days.

2. Crusts: Pulse flour, cornmeal, sugar, and salt in a food processor to combine. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add yolk and ice water and pulse until dough comes together, then knead until very smooth and combined. Pat into a disk, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate at least 30 minutes or overnight.

3. Let dough stand at room temperature until pliable. Roll out on a lightly floured surface to a little more than 1/8 inch thick. Cut out 4-inch circles, gathering scraps and rerolling dough once. Fit into twelve 2 1/2-inch-diameter tartlet pans, making sides thicker than bottoms. Place pans on a rimmed baking sheet and freeze until firm, about 30 minutes.

4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake on baking sheet until golden brown, pressing down often on centers as they puff up, about 25 minutes. Let cool completely.

5. Filling: Pass cold lavender cream through a fine sieve into a mixing bowl. In a small bowl, mix sugar and vanilla-bean seeds with fingers until combined. Add to cream and whisk with a mixer on medium speed until soft peaks form. Dividing evenly, dollop cream into tart shells, top with blueberries and lavender, and serve.

More from Martha Stewart:
Quick, One-Pot Meal Ideas To Feed the Whole Family
41 Beyond Delicious No-Bake Dessert Recipes

Watch for More: