A Marionberry Tart to Dream About

Jul 17, 2016

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As a child, one of my fondest memories of dining out with my family was going to Pete’s Pond. Earning a reputation for one of the special occasion restaurants for dinner in our small rural town, it also served delicious breakfasts after which you would go out to the pond (thus, the name), and feed the geese and the swans. Oh, it was a child’s paradise. As far as the food, the only item I remember, and remember fondly, is their marionberry pie.

Every time, without fail, I would ask my parents for a slice of marionberry pie. At the time, I had no idea that marionberries were primarily only found in Oregon and had a short growing season, or at least were not grown by many farmers. The facts of its origins did not phase me, but its deliciousness was profoundly memorable.

To answer the question you may be asking: Marionberries were bred at Oregon State University in 1945 and released in 1956.  If you think they look a lot like blackberries, you are correct, but their flavor is unique unto themselves. The sweetness makes it distinctly different from blackberries which is primarily why I love it, and it offers a purple/magenta color, rather than black or deep, deep purple like the blackberry. The short harvest season is usually between early July and early August. In fact, the carton of marionberries I picked up happened to be on the last day they would have them available.

Where does the name come from? They were produced originally in Marion county in Oregon. Simple, makes sense.  Where will you find them? Marionberries are primarily grown in Marion county and Willamette Valley (western Oregon) due to the ideal growing environment: mild and warm with immense moisture.

But back to the tart (and yes, you absolutely can use this recipe with other berries (and I recommend that you do as the filling is scrumptious!). I have made many, many tarts on the blog (see the dessert page as evidence to the fact), but I now have a secret arsenal when it comes to tart fillings thanks to The Seattle Magazine‘s food contributor Lorna Yee. Needless to say, butter, vanilla, sugar and eggs (and a touch of rum or bourbon) do marvelous things to the flavor of this seasonal dessert.

Print Recipe
Marionberry Tart
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Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Passive Time 30 minutes
Servings
tart (4 mini tarts)
Ingredients
Pastry
Marionberry Filling
Crumble Topping
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Passive Time 30 minutes
Servings
tart (4 mini tarts)
Ingredients
Pastry
Marionberry Filling
Crumble Topping
Votes: 0
Rating: 0
You:
Rate this recipe!
Instructions
  1. Make the pastry and place in the refrigerator to chill for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degree fahrenheit (176 degrees celsius).
  3. In one large tart pan or four mini tart pans, roll out the dough and place in the desired tart pan(s).
  4. In a small sauce pan, melt the butter over medium heat until only lightly brown.
  5. In a mixing bowl, beat together the eggs and sugar until thick and creamy (about 3-5 minutes). Add the rest of the ingredients and stir to combine.
  6. Make the crumble: melt the butter in a small sauce pan. While the butter is melting, mix all of the dry ingredients. Remove the melted butter from the heat, add the dry ingredients to the saucepan until equally incorporated. Set aside
  7. Place the marionberries in an even layer at the bottom of the tart shell.
  8. Pour the egg and sugar mixture over the berries.
  9. Place a nip of unsalted butter (about 1 teaspoon) on each mini tart or 4-5 teaspoons on the large tart and then cover with the crumble topping. Pinch the sides of the tart over the edge of the envelope the tart and prevent any deliciousness from escaping (see finished tart above as an example – nothing fancy, rustic is fine).
  10. Bake the tart(s) in a preheated 350-degree oven for about 40 minutes (30 minutes approximately for mini tarts – check at 25 minutes), until topping is lightly browned.
  11. Cool and then enjoy with your favorite vanilla ice cream, coffee or tea!

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~a picture of the marionberries picked up fresh from the farmer’s market (no purple peppers were used in this recipe).~

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2 thoughts on “A Marionberry Tart to Dream About

  1. I happened to find a marionberry jam a few weeks ago and now I’ve been eating it with brie on water crackers for a snack. So delicious and just the perfect amount of sweet and savory. Sometimes I just eat it with a spoon though, because it is that good.

    1. Emily, That sounds absolutely lovely! What a great idea. And you’re so right, marionberries truly do marry the savory and sweet, not too tart, not too sugary. Thank you for your comment. 🙂

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