I had a store-bought puff pastry dough (masa folhada) ready for the occasion, and I had lots and lots of berries. Thanks to a quick Google search, I got the basic idea of how to make the filling. The setting agent for a berry pie/tart is usually either gelatin (not my thing) or made by making a jam out of part of the berry filling with sugar and cornstarch on the stove.
I don’t have cornstarch, so I got a little creative on my thickening agents.
Here’s what I had:
- A square pyrex baking dish, about 8″x8″ (I think)
- pre-made puff pastry dough
- about a cup (maybe a little more) of roughly diced fresh strawberries
- about 2 tbsp of ground hazelnuts
- about 1/2 cup of sugar
- 5 or 6 whole, roasted cacao nibs
- small handful of raw almonds
- about 1/4 cup oatmeal flakes
- at least a cup of sliced fresh strawberries
Put the roughly diced fresh strawberries, ground hazelnuts, and sugar into a pan and heat slowly until bubbling. Stir frequently, and keep the filling from drying or burning on the sides of the pan. Let it bubble (while stirring) for a couple minutes until it thickens a bit. Turn off heat, stir a couple more times, and let cool.
Cut the pastry dough to fit inside the baking dish. Be sure to line the dish with parchment paper first. Tuck the dough into the dish.
Put the cacao nibs, almonds, and oatmeal flakes into a food processor/grinder/blender/grinding-instrument-of-your-choice and grind until it becomes a floury, coarse powder.
Sprinkle the powder generously on the inside of the pastry crust. Spread the cooked berry filling into the crust. Dust a generous layer of powder over this cooked berry filling. Add fresh strawberries in a thick layer. Sprinkle to taste with the powder and with about a tbsp of sugar.
Bake at a medium heat until the puff pastry crust is golden.
The powdery goodness adds a nice, nutty, mellow flavor (plus good minerals, antioxidants, and I’m sure some other stuff), plus it thickens the otherwise too-runny berry filling. The sugars and juice from the berry filling combine with the cacao-infused nutty powder and create an almost honeyed baklava bottom crust. The puff pastry just enhances the sensation.
Granted, it isn’t hard to make a kick-ass crust that would not only taste better but would be healthier than a fat-bastard puff pastry crust… but let’s be honest- this was easy, and it was good. 🙂
This recipe is ripe for hacking, so I’d love to hear your tweaks as you come up with them.
PS- This recipe has been My-Man-Tested and Portuguese-Approved. 😉 It is also a valid breakfast food, in my house.