Blackberry Cobbler with Honeysuckle Crème Anglaise
One of the South’s most wonderful seasons is early summer, when rich sweet honeysuckle perfumes the damp evening air. Chef Frank Stitt takes advantage of the beautiful honeysuckle essence on both the filling for these tarts, and the crème anglaise he serves with them. If you don’t have honeysuckle, don’t despair: the tart and crème anglaise will still be wonderful.
- All Purpose Flour - 2 cups
- Salt - 1 teaspoon
- Sweet Butter - 12 tablespoons chilled, cut into bits
- Ice Water - 1/4 cup
- Sugar - 1 cup
- Orange Zest - Zest of 1 orange
- All Purpose Flour - 2 tablespoons
- Blackberries - 1 pint ripe
- Fragrant flowering honeysuckle - 8 large sprigs
- Honeysuckle Crème Anglaise
- Vanilla Beans - 1, split lengthwise
- Half and Half - 2 cups
- Milk - 2 cups
- Sugar - 1/2 cup
- Egg Yolks - 5
- Honeysuckle sprigs - (above)
To make the pastry: Place the flour, salt, and all but 2 tablespoons of butter in a mixing bowl. Blend well with your fingertips or a pastry blender until the mixture is the texture of meal. Add the ice water and blend quickly with a fork, shaping the dough into a ball. Dust it lightly with flour and shape into a flat disc. Wrap in waxed paper or plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes (or up to 2 hours).
Divide the dough into 2 pieces, one slightly larger than the other. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the larger piece of dough to fit individual 3-inch removable fluted tart shells; the dough will be 1/4 inch thick. Place the dough in the pans, sprinkle each with 1/2 teaspoon of the filling sugar, and refrigerate for several hours.
Roll out the remaining piece of dough in the same fashion and cut it into 1/2-inch strips. Wrap the strips in waxed paper and refrigerate. If you make the dough ahead of time, let the dough strips rest at room temperature for 1-1/2 hours before using them.
To make the filling: Sprinkle half of the remaining filling sugar, the orange zest, and the flour over the blackberries in a large bowl. Add about 6 honeysuckle flowers. Toss to coat the berries and let macerate for 2 hours.
To complete the tarts: Preheat the oven to 450 F. Sprinkle the remaining filling sugar over the tart shells and fill them with the macerated blackberries. Create a lattice top for each, weaving pastry strips. Dip your fingers in cold water and seal the strips to the pastry shells at the edges. Bake for 10 minutes on the middle rack of the oven, then lower the heat to 425 F and bake 15 minutes more, until golden.
To make the crème anglaise: Combine the cream and milk in a heavy saucepan. Scrape the vanilla seeds into the cream mixture and drop in the pods. Add one half of the honeysuckle blooms and half the sugar. Heat the mixture until it boils, then remove from heat. In a separate bowl, gently whisk together the egg yolks and remaining sugar until smooth. Stir in a large spoonful of the hot cream mixture, then slowly pour the eggs into the cream mixture, stirring constantly. Place over low heat and cook, stirring constantly, until it coats the back of a spoon. Remove from heat and strain through a fine-meshed sieve. Let cool.
To serve: Spoon the crème anglaise in the center of four serving dishes. Place a warm cobbler on top of each. Garnish with the remaining honeysuckle sprigs.