(yes, I realize mine isn’t as pretty as the original, but it was my first attempt, and it still tasted amazing!)
I recently came to learn that I have access to the Cooking Channel on my television and in realizing this have been dying to watch Laura Calder’s French Food at Home. With soft, subtle French melodies playing in the background, she demonstrates with her confident, yet calm and inviting demeanor that anyone really can make our own French food. And while the episodes I have been taping thus far are reruns from a handful of years ago, they were new to me and I was thrilled to be able to watch them. The first dessert I watched her bake was her Fresh Blueberry Tart and I knew I had to give it a go.
With a few changes, I made four tartlets and what an easy recipe it is to follow. The one thing that she does call for in her filling is crème fraiche, and since I realize that many people don’t have access to this ingredient, I simply used cream cheese instead (as you will see below in the recipe) and it still tastes absolutely delicious.
So if you’re planning on visiting your local farmer’s market this weekend or next week and you see some fresh blueberries, why not impress your guests, or just treat yourself to something that summer treats tickles our sweet tooth with?
Fresh Blueberry Tart (or Tartlets)
(adapted from Laura Calder’s recipe – French Food at Home)
1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick - chilled)
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 egg yolks (reserve 1 egg white for later)
1 cup flour
6 tablespoons cream cheese
1/4 c. granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 cups fresh blueberries
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup granulated sugar (more if needed)
2 tablespoon cornstarch dissolved in 2 tablespoons water
lentils or coffee beans (for forming the dough)
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
2. For the pastry: cream together the butter and the sugar. Beat in the egg yolks. Add the flour and mix only until incorporated. Chill for 30 minutes to one hour.
3. Remove dough from the refrigerator and roll out into either a 9 inch tart shell or 4 mini tart shells.
4. Using a tart pan (with a removable bottom), place the dough in the pan(s).
Line the shell with foil, then pour in the beans right to the rim. Bake 20 minutes for 1 large tart and 12-15 minutes for tartlets. Remove the beans and foil, reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake until lightly golden brown – about 10 minutes for a large tart and 5-7 minutes for the tartlets.
5. After removing the tart shell(s) from the oven, paint the base with a little whisked egg white to seal the base. Allow to cool completely.
6. While you are waiting for the tart shell(s) to cool, make the cream cheese filling by mixing together by hand cream cheese, 1/4 cup sugar and vanilla. Set aside.
7. With more time to spare while the tart shell(s) cool, take a 1 cup of blueberries and place in a sauce pan with water, 1/4 sugar and dissolved cornstarch. Bring to a boil and immediate return to simmer until juicy and thick and the color is entirely that of a blueberry. Remove from the heat and toss to coat with the other 3 cups of blueberries.
8. Spread the cream cheese mixture on the bottom of the tart shell(s). Spread the blueberry mixture on top and let set. Serve and enjoy!
Images: (1) Simply Luxurious (2) Cooking Channel