Happy July!! Hope your holiday weekend is filled with fun!! For me, it's more than just the celebration of our nation's birth--it's also the start of Pie & Tart Season!!! Not that I don't make pies or tarts in the winter or spring but with all the wonderful fruits just ready for the picking (literally), pies and tarts are on my mind 24/7, which is either pathetic or kind of adorable, depending on your perspective. In any case, indulge me and allow me to share this truly wonderful and seasonal Easy Blueberry Tart. It's magnificent!
In talking with others about pies and tarts (already warned you, they're on my mind) I've found that many people are sort of frightened of making homemade pies and tarts, especially when it comes to the crust part and I find this sad because homemade crusts are a billion times better than anything you can buy readymade, even when they don't come out perfect. I get that you might find the rolling out and crimping kind of intimidating and overly time consuming (although that 's my favorite part of pie/tart making but then again I'm a pie nut) so today I'm sharing a recipe that whips up quickly and merely needs to be pressed into the pan. Guys, I want ALL of you to feel comfortable making your own pies and tarts and enjoying my summertime obsession!!! I promise that you can do this!
The crust bakes up golden, sweet and buttery. Almost shortbread like. My home judges went wild for it and yours will too!
And it can be filled with practically anything. Today I'm showing it to you with this fresh blueberry filling, but you could also simply top it with fresh strawberries or raspberries and a dusting a powdered sugar and be in heaven. Believe me, I know. Or you could make a bunch of mini tarts. Or fill it with a custard or cream filling. I tell you, this is one versatile crust!
If you're going with the blueberry filling, all you do is scatter a bunch of blueberries on top of the pre baked crust and then make a simple stovetop blueberry/sugar/lemon mixture that you pour over the fresh berries.
Serve it with some freshly whipped cream or vanilla ice cream and life will be complete!! And just think, the season of pies and tarts has only just begun!! Have a happy and safe 4th tomorrow!!!
Easy Blueberry Tart
Serves about 10 people
You will need a tart pan with a removable bottom, preferably 9 1/2 inches
Prep Time for the crust: 10 minutes; Bake Time for the crust: 20-25 minutes; Prep Time for the filling: 10 minutes, plus time for the tart to chill, at least 2-3 hours
For the crust
- 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/4 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
For the Filling
- 4 cups fresh blueberries (don't bother making this if you can't find fresh berries), divided
- 1/2 cup sugar (you may need a little more if the berries aren't sweet)
- 1/3 cup water
- 2 tablespoons unbleached, all-purpose flour
- Pinch of salt
- Grated zest of 1 lemon
Sweetened Whipped Cream or Vanilla Ice Cream to serve with the finished tart (optional)
1. To make the crust: Place a rack in the oven on the lower third and preheat to 350ºF.
2. Place the melted butter, sugar, vanilla and salt in a medium bowl. In a separate small bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder well and add to the butter mixture in the bowl. Use a spoon to mix it well together. If it seems really gooey, let it stand a few minutes to firm up.
3. Press the dough evenly into the bottom and sides of the tart pan to make a thin and even layer. You might feel like there is not enough dough to cover the pan, but just have patience and press it evenly, making sure to get it into the corners. (if you like you can even make the dough up to this point, 2-3 days ahead, wrap it well, store it in the fridge and then bring it back to room temp before you are ready to use).
4. Place the tart pan on a baking sheet and bake the crust for 20-25 minutes, or until the crust is fully golden brown. If it puffs up during baking, just gently press it down with the back of a fork or make a few pricks in the crust with the fork tines (Mine never puffs up but it gives this direction in the original recipe, so here it is just in case.) Remove from the oven and let cool completely on a wire rack.
5. To make the filling: Scatter 2 cups of the berries on top of the cooled crust. In a medium saucepan combine the rest of the berries, sugar, water, flour, salt and lemon zest and bring to a simmer, stirring often. Taste and see if it needs more sugar or not--it really depends on the sweetness of the berries. If so, add a tablespoon or two more. Once simmering, let cook, stirring often for another few minutes, until the mixture has thickened and is somewhat translucent.
6. Pour the mixture over the berries in the crust and use a fork to spread it out evenly, trying not to mash the fresh berries too much. Let cool and then place in the fridge for at least a couple of hours before serving. Cut into wedges and serve as is or with sweetened whipped cream or vanilla ice cream,
Note: Recipe adapted from Sinfully Easy Delicious Desserts by Alice Medrich. I cut down the sugar in the berry filling a bit.