Introduction: Wild Wineberry Tartlets

Today, I will be introducing you to a plant called the Wineberry, also known as the Japanese Raspberry. It is a very easy plant to identify and is safe for beginning foragers because there are no poisonous look-alikes. Then, I will share my recipe for delicious Wineberry tarts and tartlets using the berries we pick. It features a buttery and flaky crust, a smooth and velvety custard, and juicy red wine berries to top it off.

There is NOTHING more satisfying than going outdoors and picking my own fruit, and then coming home to make something delicious with my harvest, so let's get started!

PLEASE refer to my instructable on how to forage for tips and safety notes!

Step 1: Identifying the Wineberry Plant

Scientific name- Rubus Phoenicolasius

Nicknames-Wineberry, Wine Raspberry, Japanese Raspberry

Status-Invasive, Wild, Very high abundance. In the first picture all or most of it is wineberry plants!

Physical features (Identification)- Multi stemmed shrub with dark maroon hairy stems that can grow waist to chest height. Alternate leaflets that have 3 parts, each part toothed, usually lobed, and with a pointed tip. Leaves have distinctive silvery white undersides. Flowers with 5 white petals.

Most distinctive features are the little cocoons that cover the developing fruit called calyxes.

In the Summer calyxes unfurl to reveal the wineberries ripe and ready to eat. Calyxes are hairy and very sticky.

The fruits are bright ruby red berries with multiple drupes that reflect light (in contrast to domestic raspberries that are opaque and don't reflect light).

Season- Late spring to early Summer.

Location and preferred habitat-Mainly in the eastern areas of the country, from Canada to North Carolina and west to Michigan. The Wineberry prefers sunlight and disturbed areas, and grows well along the edges of roads and open fields. (Although it's seriousely EVERYWHERE) (Map taken from the USDA NRCS plants database)

Poisonous lookalikes? None.

Step 2: Let's Make the Tart Dough

Taken from Epicurious's Basic Tart Dough Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for surface
  • 6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 large egg, beaten

Steps:

1. Combine dry ingredients in a bowl

2. Incorporate the cold butter until the mixture resembles course sand

3. Whisk in beaten egg

4. It's normal for your mixture to seem dry but it will come together. Pour the dough onto a surface and use your hands to work it into a dough ball

5. Your tart dough needs to chill in the fridge for about 2 hrs, so flatten it into a disk and cover with saran wrap before placing it in your fridge.

Step 3: Let's Make Some Custard (while the Dough Is Chilling)

Recipe adapted from Home Cooking Adventure's Vanilla Eclairs

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups (480 ml) milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/3 cup (70g) sugar
  • 1/3 cup (40g) cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp (15g) unsalted butter

Steps:

1. Combine egg yolks and sugar and whisk until pale yellow and slightly expanded

2. Add your cornstarch and mix well

3. Heat your milk on the stove until simmering

4. Slowly add some of your milk to your egg mixture (like a third) and stir well

5. Add the egg mixture back into the saucepan with the rest of the milk

6. Keep stirring and bring the mixture to a boil while it thickens, then stir in your vanilla

7. Remove your custard from the heat and stir in your butter

8. Cover the surface of the custard with saran wrap to prevent a skin from forming and then stick it into your fridge to chill

Step 4: Let's Bake the Crust!

I originally had the idea to make one big tart but decided to make tartlets instead, but the steps are the same for either.

Steps:

1. Take your chilled dough and roll it out until its about 1/8" thick and large enough to cover your tart pan

2. Lay it over your tart pan with the help of your hands or the rolling pin (many methods can be applied here)

3. Gently press your dough into your pan and poke holes with a fork to keep it from bubbling and rising in the oven

4. Preheat your oven to around 375°F (Adjust this temperature according to your own oven) and bake the tart shells for 15 to 20 minutes, keeping a firm eye on them to ensure that they do not over bake. We're looking for a golden brown crust (ugh so warm and flaky and I want another tart writing this instructable rn ;( )

5. Take your tart shell out of the oven and let it sit for a couple minutes before filling it with custard.

Step 5: Assembly ( You Know, Like the Ones You Used to Have to Go to in Middle School)

Steps:

1. First, spread an even layer of your chilled custard over the crust

2. Here are all the berries I managed to salvage from the grabby hands and mouths of my family members, now you want to arrange these over your custard layer

3. Garnish if you desire and ENJOY!!

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