gluten-free mulberry, orange + almond tarts recipe

Everywhere you look around our neighbourhood at the moment you see laden mulberry bushes, branches hanging low with the weigh of their load and the ground littered with berries no one has picked. Coming from New Zealand where I've never even seen a mulberry bush it's quite a sight, and somewhat heartbreaking at the same time. I hate seeing food go to waste. 

It's true the mulberry doesn't have the sweetness of a strawberry, nor the tartness of a raspberry. The flavour is no where near as intense as a ripe blackberry, but it still holds it's own as far as delicious berries goes and I don't get why it's not eaten more often? They grow on bushes that I'd actually be more inclined to call a tree. Some are relatively small, around 3 metres tall, while other monster trees tower at around 8 metres high. The long berries hang down in clumps and a little stalk remains on the berry as you pull it free from the branch. 

We've been keeping an eye out for trees we might be able to pick from, Si's even knocked on a few doors to ask, but no ones been home. The other day he took Kye for a walk to our local park and went on a little bit of a foraging mission, coming home with huge berry grins and purple stained shoes. They had found the perfect tree only a few streets from our house, a monster one overhanging a fence with berries dropping everywhere just going to waste. So we made plans to return that afternoon after the kids had had a nap. This tree is amazing, from the outside it seems to only have a light sprinkling of berries, but as you scramble under the canopy and look up it becomes apparent just how many berries it holds!

Si and I picked as the kids stuffed their faces, bright purple juice running down our hands and cheeks, legs, arms... I'd say we picked a good 2-3 kilos and ate nearly as many. Like most berries, they don't keep very well at all, so once we got home I immediately froze all the really ripe ones in a single layer, packing them free-flow into bags the next day. The kids gorged themselves on bowlfuls, I stewed a few handfuls with a little honey and water to serve over thick yoghurt for breakfast and whipped up a batch of these tarts for afternoon tea.

Buttery, sweet and tender this classic frangipane mixture is the perfect base for the slightly tart berries and citrus burst from orange zest. I've used mulberries here, but of course any berry would do. In summertime you can use sliced plums, apricots or peaches or in autumn use sliced pears, figs or apple.

gluten-free mulberry, orange + almond tarts
If you don't have access to a mulberry tree (!) feel free to use any other berry you like, fresh or frozen. Or substitute with any other seasonal fruit of your choice. Feel free to use lemon zest in place of orange if preferred too. And remember I use New Zealand tablespoon measurements (15ml), so Australian readers take note, Australian tablespoons are 20ml.
makes 4

  • 110g soft butter
  • 1/2 cup (110g) caster sugar or pure icing sugar (powdered sugar)
  • 2 eggs at room temperature
  • 1 cup (110g) almond meal (ground almonds)
  • 3 tablespoons (30g) fine brown rice flour
  • the zest of 1 orange
  • 1 cup fresh mulberries, stems removed + extra to garnish
  • pure icing sugar, to dust

Preheat oven to 180 C/350 F. Grease 4 12cm loose-based tart cases and set aside.

Cream butter and sugar until pale and creamy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well between each addition. Add almond meal and fine brown rice flour and orange zest, beat until smooth. Spoon the mixture into tart cases, smooth the tops and scatter with mulberries, gently pressing the berries into the mixture a little. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden and cooked through. Cool in tins 5-10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Dust with icing sugar and top with extra berries to serve. Will store airtight for 2-3 days.

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  • Reply
    October 22, 2011 at 5:11 am

    wow they look so delicious!!
    I have never even seen the mulberry bushes here in Australia, but have read a few posts about them this week.
    And I didnt know that the NZ and Australian tablespoons were different! wow.

  • Reply
    October 22, 2011 at 5:32 am

    Beautiful, nothing better than foraging for berries!

  • Reply
    Janet NZ
    October 22, 2011 at 7:26 am

    MULBERRIES! – if i said BITCH… you would understand I mean it in the nicest possible way… eh??? XXXOOO

  • Reply
    October 22, 2011 at 6:47 pm

    So delicious, love mulberries!

  • Reply
    The InTolerant Chef
    October 22, 2011 at 10:03 pm

    Ooooh lucky you! I love mulberries, and free food! It's always so sad to see perfectly good food going to waste isn't it? I have several 'found food' sites I visit in season to pick- I figure it's either me or the birds 🙂
    Lovely recipe, and I bet they taste fantastic too with your lovely berries, yummm…

  • Reply
    Being Julia
    October 23, 2011 at 5:43 am

    I can hardly wait to try these! Yummmm!

  • Reply
    October 24, 2011 at 2:01 am

    Leonie~Yes it's somewhat annoying that we have different Tbsp measurements. Only Aussie has 20ml Tbsp. Weird I know.

    JanetNZ~ I fully understand 😉 No offence taken. Hehe

  • Reply
    Indulgent lime
    October 24, 2011 at 2:03 am

    Oh my what a delight to open your email! I remember mulberries from my childhood; will have to make do with Japanese strawberries. They're ripening so quickly in this warm weather 34 degrees today.

  • Reply
    the good soup
    October 27, 2011 at 5:48 am

    We've got a white mulberry in our yard, have you seen them, Emm? They're soooo beautiful. Related to the red mulberries you sometimes see about (rather than the black one you've been picking from). Their berries are super long and they ripen to an ivory white. And they taste like fragrant honey. And when the flying foxes and birds eat them, they don't leave purple coloured poo all over the place. They leave brown coloured poo. Now I say it it doesn't seem like much of an improvement.

  • Reply
    Couscous & Consciousness
    October 27, 2011 at 6:29 am

    These little tarts look divine. I have never actually tried mulberries. They are very beautiful looking berries – I will be really keeping my eyes peeled for some now. But I love your alternative suggestions – I can imagine these wee tarts in all kinds of incarnations.
    Sue xo

  • Reply
    October 27, 2011 at 7:20 am

    i'll definitely be trying this one. Thanks for the recipe.

  • Reply
    October 28, 2011 at 4:08 am

    Angela @ the good soup~ How cool, no I haven't heard or seen white mulberries! They sound beautiful.

  • Reply
    October 28, 2011 at 10:28 pm

    Just beautiful Emma, those mulberry remind of brambles that we used to get in Scotland. The perfect dessert for some of my gluten free friends.

  • Reply
    Cass @foodmyfriend
    November 8, 2011 at 10:42 pm

    When I was a kid we had a mulberry tree growing over our pool. It was a game to pick and eat them before they hit the pool! My father in law would love these!

    • Reply
      September 28, 2016 at 11:45 pm

      I love mulberries

  • Reply
    November 10, 2011 at 6:22 am

    Oh far out hanging over the pool! That would make a right mess if you didn't get to them in time!

  • Reply
    November 25, 2011 at 5:29 am

    Mulberries are succulent, full of juice — that is what I love best about them. Funny that the colors of the fruit do not identify the variety. The white mulberries can have white, and reddish or lavender and black fruits. Thanks for sharing a great pie recipe!

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