Friday, August 15, 2008
Summer Berry Tartlets
I couldn’t commit to just one berry – I’m pretty sure if I had to pick a favorite berry, it would be blackberries, but I figure there’s still time in August and September to use those – so I went with raspberries and blueberries. These are variations on a couple of recipes, and make a perfect little dessert buffet, or breakfast, or whatever . . . . I am a huge fan of dessert and coffee for breakfast, and these seem almost healthy if you think about it. Heee!
OK – true confession time – I am going to give you the recipe for a fabulous all-butter pie crust that you can use for the tartlet shells, but I do not use it for these tartlets – I buy frozen pre-made tartlet shells (raw) and bake them fresh right before I assemble the tartlets. The shells are GREAT, and this is one of those “life’s too short” sort of things . . . .
Tartlet shells (recipe below)
Pastry cream (recipe below)
Sweetened whipped cream
Assembly: Prebake the tartlet shells – approx 12 minutes at 400 degrees F. Cool. Fill with pastry cream. Top with raspberries. Garnish with whipped cream and mint leaves. The really swanky among you might want to brush the baked shells with melted dark or white chocolate, for an additional flavor hit. Also, brushing with chocolate ensures that the shells stay crisp if you want to assemble them a bit ahead of time.
Double Blueberry Tartlets
4 cups fresh blueberries
¾ cup sugar
3 T. cornstarch
1 T. lemon juice
1 T. butter
Thin strips of lemon zest
Sweetened whipped cream
Assembly: Prebake the tartlet shells as above and cool. Take half of the blueberries and cook them with the sugar and cornstarch until they are cooked and thick, low heat, approximately 10-15 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in the lemon juice and the butter. Let cool a little bit, then stir in the fresh blueberries and use this to fill the tartlet shells. Garnish with whipped cream and strips of lemon zest.
1 cup milk
3 large egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 t. vanilla
1/2 cup well-chilled heavy cream
Scald the milk. In a clean pan whisk together the egg yolks, the sugar, the cornstarch and the vanilla. Whisk in the milk and bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking constantly. Simmer for 3 minutes -- it will be very thick --transfer it to a bowl and chill it, its surface covered with plastic wrap, for 4 hours or until it is firm. (May be made one day ahead.) Beat the heavy cream until it holds stiff peaks. Whisk the pastry cream until it is smooth, whisk in half the whipped cream, fold in the remaining cream gently but thoroughly.
All Butter Pie Crust
2 cups flour
12 tablespoons chilled butter, cut in bits
1/2 t. salt
5 tablespoons ice water (more as needed)
Pulse flour, butter and salt in a food processor until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the ice water and pulse until the mixture just clumps together. Form into two balls, flatten each slightly and wrap in plastic wrap or waxed paper and refrigerate at least 15 minutes until firm. If you really need to use these right away, you can probably get away with it if you roll the crust out between sheets of waxed paper or plastic, or flour the rolling surface really well.
Makes one double crust, or use in tartlet shells – roll out to about ¼” thick and cut into rounds to fit into 3” or 4” tartlet shells.
The best part about this recipe is that the formula can be adapted for any quantity. Just use 2 tablespoons butter for every 1/3 cup flour. So a small, single crust works out very well with 1 cup flour and 6 tablespoons butter, while a larger single crust would take a stick of butter and 1 1/3 cups flour.