Baking and Berries and Basil, Oh My!
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
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
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
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.
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.