Fortunately, the raspberry season extends into fall. Delicate in taste as well as texture, dissolving in your mouth in a perfumed bouquet, raspberries are the preeminent berries. Aficionados will pay any price for great raspberries. Try to buy your raspberries at a farm stand near where they are grown. The small-scale raspberry growers I have met take great pride in their berries and will not sell anything that is not in top condition. You will never see mold on farm stand raspberries.
When possible, buy organic raspberries. If they are free of pesticides, you will not have to wash them. Water diminishes the flavor and texture of the berries. Just inspect for bugs and brush off any dirt specks. The quintessential way to present perfect raspberries is in a fresh tart. Cooking them would be blasphemous. Raspberries need little embellishment besides a buttery crust and some lightened cream. It is a good idea to make individual tarts so that each person can hoard their own.—Emily Luchetti
For the tart shells
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
Pinch of salt
10 tablespoons very cold unsalted butter
2 tablespoons heavy (whipping) cream
1 large egg
For the raspberry sauce
12-ounce bag frozen raspberries (no sugar added), defrosted
2 tablespoons sugar, or as needed
For the tartlets
1 cup mascarpone
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon good-quality honey
2 teaspoons sugar
Pinch of salt
3 tablespoons heavy (whipping) cream
Eight 4-inch prebaked tartlet shells
1 1/2 pints raspberries
1/2 cup Raspberry Sauce
Make the tart shells
1. To make the dough using a standing mixer put the flour, sugar, salt, and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer. In a small bowl, whisk together the cream and egg. On low speed using the paddle attachment, mix in the butter until it is pea sized. Pour the cream mixture into the flour mixture and mix until the dough comes together.
2. Remove the dough from the bowl and form it into a 5 1/2-inch disk. Wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
3. Place the dough on a lightly floured work surface. For individual tarts, roll the dough out 1/16 inch thick and cut it into 6-inch circles. Reroll scraps to make 2 more. Line the tart pans with the dough. Cut off any extra dough so it is flush with the top sides of the tart shells. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
4. To prebake the tart shells preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Cut parchment paper circles large enough that they come up several inches above the shell. Line the tart shells with the parchment paper circles. Fill with dried rice or dried beans. Bake until the edges of the crust are golden brown, about 20 minutes. Remove the parchment paper and rice and continue to bake for about 10 minutes until the bottom of the crust is golden brown.
Make the raspberry sauce
1. Purée the raspberries in a food processor. Strain the purée through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl, discarding the seeds. Stir in the sugar. Taste for sweetness and add another tablespoon of sugar if needed. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Make the filling and assemble
1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the mascarpone, honey, sugar, salt, and cream until thick. Spread the mascarpone mixture in the bottom of each of the prebaked tartlet shells.
2. In a medium bowl, gently mix together the raspberries and 1/4 cup of the raspberry sauce.
3. To serve place the raspberries on top of the filled tartlets. Place the tartlets on individual dessert plates and drizzle a little of the Raspberry Sauce around each. Serve immediately.
Planning ahead: The honey cream can be mixed a day in advance and kept refrigerated. Raspberry sauce will keep or several days in the refrigerator. Assemble the tarts right before you serve them.
Recipe © 2003 Emily Luchetti. Photo © 2003 Minh & Wass. All rights reserved.