To honor a few dear friends I had a special dinner and we enjoyed these Blueberry Tartlets for dessert. It’s always good to have some girl time when the men in your life are out of town. My husband is currently in Nashville recording a new album, which is super exciting. I hate when he’s gone but take advantage of the time to get quality time in with girl friends. It also helps that I’m unemployed and have enough time to make tarts all day! We enjoyed chatting about all of the transition going on in our lives, new jobs, babies, possibilities of new jobs and possibilities of new babies and dreamed together of what our futures might be like when we grow up 🙂 One friend hopes to become a children’s book writer some day, another is traveling to Haiti to serve the hungry, and another talks of her sweet boy and the delights of being a mom. All of my friends are so unique and fascinating to me. Our other fun menu items were Wild Mushroom Crostini, a recipe I got from my friend who is a professor at the U and also delights in good foods, and Asparagus and Sun Dried Cherry Risotto, a favorite around our house. We enjoyed our food as well as the utensils we ate from…my mother recently handed down to me her wedding stem wear and we got to use it for the first time. Forks, knives, spoons, and serving utensils that I’m not even sure how to use, that have been sitting in a safety deposit box for way too long. I hope to get some good use of them and pass them down along with the stories that go with using them over a shared meal.
1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
1/2 cup grams of very cold butter
2 TB sugar
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 egg, beaten with 2 teaspoons of water
Sift the flour, sugar and salt directly onto a work surface (a cold surface such as marble works best). Cut the butter into small pieces. The butter must be very cold before you add it into the flour. Mix the butter into the flour by using a metal pastry scraper to cut in the butter and fully incorporate it into the flour mixture. You can also use your fingers, but if you do you must do it quickly to ensure that the butter stays as cold as possible. Once the dough has the texture of fine sand, create a well in the center by using a cup or a glass. Add the egg and water to the center (you can do this in batches depending on the size of your well). Gently beat the egg in the center and slowly incorporate the flour into the center making sure that the well does not break. Once most of the flour has been incorporated you can start using your hands. Knead the dough and form a round ball of dough. At this point, take a small handful of the dough, and, using the palm of your hand, smear it out completely onto the counter surface. This process makes sure that the butter is fully incorporated into the dough, and helps form a dough that will be easy to work with. Re-form the smeared piece of dough, and repeat with the rest of the dough until you have a pile of chunks of dough. Form it into a ball again. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and leave to rest in the fridge for at least 45 minutes.
Preheat your oven to 375 F. Take the dough out of the fridge, unwrap and leave it out for a few minutes so it warms up a little. Lightly flour your working surface and roll out the dough to about 1/8 inch thick round. Use small cookie cutters to cut out circles of dough. Place in buttered individual molds and gently prick the bottom of the dough with a fork a couple times. Then, place a small circle of parchment (a little bigger than the size of the mold) in the center of the circle of dough and place some baking beans on top to weigh the paper down. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the edges of the tart turn a light shade of golden brown. Let the tartelettes cool for a couple minutes, discard the beans and parchment paper and leave to cool on a cooling rack.
2 cups whole milk
1/2 vanilla bean, split and scraped (or 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract)
4 egg yolks
1/3 cup of sugar
2 TB flour
2 TB cornstarch
Separate the eggs and combine the yolks with the sugar. Whisk until the mixture turn a yellow pale of yellow (about 3 minutes). In a separate bowl, stir the cornstarch and flour together and add it to the sugar-yolk mixture. Stir to remove any lumps. In the meantime, bring the milk and vanilla bean to a boil. Stir occasionally. As soon as the milk starts boiling, add a ladle of hot milk to the egg mixture and stir vigorously (this ensures that the eggs won’t curdle). Add all the egg mixture into the milk mixture and whisk until the mixture thickens. This take 1-3 minutes. Remove from the heat as soon as the mixture thickens. Place the pastry cream in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Make sure that the plastic wrap touches the surface of the cream (this prevents the formation of a skin). Let the pastry cream cool.
1 small box of blueberries
A couple spoonfuls of apricot jam
1 tablespoon of water
Once the tartelettes and pastry cream have cooled down, add some pastry cream to the bottom of each tart. The cream should go up 2/3 of the tart shells. Add the blueberries on top. In a small saucepan, heat the apricot jam for about 3 minutes. Add the water and stir. The glaze shouldn’t be too thick, so add more water if it seems to thick to brushed on top of the fruit. Once the consistency of the glaze seems good, gently brush the glaze onto the blueberries and serve.