blueberry tart

IMG_3746This tart is so fun to make, and the process is fairly simple and straightforward too. Bake the slightly crumbly tart shell, make a smooth vanilla pastry cream, and cook fresh blueberries down until they become a gorgeous compote.  Once each element has cooled, just layer and serve!  It’s a great use for any blueberries you have that may be a little too soft to enjoy plain, like I had.  Three simple components that come together to create a beautiful and satisfying summer dessert.

French tart dough adapted from David Lebovitz
Pastry cream from Alan Carter and Better Homes and Gardens
 

For the French tart dough:

3 ounces unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 ounces (1 slightly rounded cup) flour (I used whole wheat white flour, as I do in pretty much everything)
 

For the pastry cream:

1 cup milk
1/4 cup sugar
2 egg yolks
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
 

For the fresh blueberry compote:

9.5 ounces fresh blueberries
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

 

First, make the tart shell.  Preheat oven to 410 degrees.  Put the butter, oil, water, sugar, and salt in a glass pie pan (or any other ovenproof bowl or pan) and cover with foil.  Bake for about 15 minutes.  The butter will be melted and bubbling.

Carefully remove the pan from the oven.  The mixture under the foil will be popping quite a bit due to the hot oil and water sloshing around together, so take the foil off very slowly.  Gently add the flour, and stir it in with a wooden spoon until it comes together to form a ball.

Coat a 9-inch removable bottom tart pan very lightly with cooking spray, then plop the dough ball in the center.  Pinch off about a teaspoon of dough and set it aside in case you need to fill any cracks after baking.  Gently press the dough down with the palm of your hand and cover the bottom of the pan.  Then press it up the sides of the pan with your fingers.

Take a fork and pierce the dough on the sides and the bottom several times to prevent the shell from puffing up too much.  Bake until the shell is golden, about 12-15 minutes.  When it’s done baking, fill any large cracks with a little bit of the raw dough you saved earlier.  Let the tart shell cool in the pan.

…………………………

While the shell cools, make the pastry cream.  Heat the milk and 1/4 cup sugar in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally until milk is hot and bubbles start forming around the edges.

Meanwhile, whisk together the egg yolks, 3 tablespoons sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a medium-sized bowl until well blended.

Gradually whisk 1/3 cup of the hot milk into the egg yolk mixture, then quickly stir in the rest of the milk.  Return to saucepan and whisk constantly until the mixture comes to a boil and is thick.  Remove from the heat and stir in the butter and vanilla.

Pour into a bowl and cover the surface of the pastry cream with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming over the top as it cools.

…………………………

To make the compote, combine half of the blueberries with the sugar, water, and lemon juice in a saucepan over medium heat.  Stir occasionally for about 8 minutes, until the blueberries are broken down and the juices have reduced and are thick and syrupy.  Dump the rest of the berries in and stir them together for 1 more minute.  Transfer to a small bowl to cool.

Once everything has cooled, spread the pastry cream in an even layer over the bottom of the tart shell.  Then spoon the blueberry compote over the top.  For the prettiest appearance, serve within an hour or so.  If you make it too far in advance, the juices from the blueberries will spread and bleed into the pastry cream.  If you aren’t ready to serve immediately after assembling, keep the tart refrigerated until you’re ready to cut and serve.

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