Blueberry Lemon Curd Tart
There is nothing quite like the simple pleasure of biting into a fresh fruit tart in the middle of summer. Your hand gets sticky from the lemon curd, blueberries slide down to stain your shorts, but who needs napkins? You’re just going to get covered again when you go in for a second slice in about 45 seconds. This is a recipe that will ultimately lead the the kind of pleasure I’m describing. If you’re not using a premade crust it takes a nice chunk of time to put the whole thing together (the crust needs to be fully baked before any lemony-blueberry goodness can set up shop inside) but I can assure you it’s well worth the wait. I’ll be the first to admit it, I’m very lazy. But I try to push that attribute under the rug when it comes to making pie and tart crusts; homemade crust is just better. There’s no way to describe it. However, I know there are times when one doesn’t have the entire afternoon to wait around for a disk of butter and flour to chill to the perfect temperature so here’s my tip. Find one day where you have many free hours (or maybe that night when you couldn’t sleep and ended up watching half a season of Mad Men on Netflix..) and make a bunch of crusts. Label them with dates, then stick ’em in the freezer for future use. They’ll be perfectly preserved! Then you’ll be all set when the cry for fresh pies ring out on a lazy summer Sunday. You’re welcome, earth! Just FIY, this recipe would be just as good if raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, or even bananas were used in place of the blueberries. Blueberries aren’t my favorite fruit, but my father has gotten into the habit of bringing home two cartons of them home literally four times a week. Check my fridge if you think I’m kidding. It looks like a million tiny Violet Beauregardes are taking over the fruit shelf. Not great. Now, were he bringing raspberries or peaches I’d probably be greeting him at the door every day with a mini confetti cannon, but beggars can’t be choosers, so here we are! It was still pretty darn delicious.
Crust (from Williams Sonoma Essentials of Baking)
1 1/4 c. flour
1/2 c. confectioners’ sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 c. butter, cut into pieces
2 egg yolks
1 tbsp. heavy cream
In a food processor, combine flour, confectioners’ sugar, and salt, pulsing one or two times to mix. Add the butter pieces and pulse 7 or 8 times until the mixture forms coarse crumbs (size of small peas, you know the drill). In a small bowl, lightly beat the egg yolks, then stir in the cream. With the motor running on the food processor, add the egg mixture and process just until the dough comes together, but does not form a ball. On a work surface, shape the dough into a six-inch disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 45 minutes or up to overnight.
Remove the dough from the fridge, unwrap it, and bring it to a lightly flour-dusted work surface. Rolling from the center out, roll the dough into a 13-inch round that is a little less than 1/4-inch thick (let’s not talk about how my cookbook told me it should be 3/16-inch thick and I had a mild panic attack because I couldn’t find a ruler and apparently forgot for a moment how to do second grade math. It’s fine guys.) Remember to flip and turn your disk, adding more dustings of flour to the rolling pin and work surface, as you roll it out to prevent sticking and cursing and starting over again.
First things first, check to make sure your tart pan has a removable bottom. Now get a bunch of neon post-its and write “MY TART PAN HAS A REMOVABLE BOTTOM IF YOU TOUCH IT WITHOUT REMEMBERING THIS YOU WILL LIKELY BURN YOURSELF AND RUIN A NICE CRUST YOU DO NOT WANT THIS ON YOUR CONSCIENCE BEWARE”. Now you’re ready. To get your disk of dough onto your tart pan, carefully roll the dough around the rolling pin. Unroll the dough. Lifting the dough and ease it into the curves of the pan. Trim off the overhang and press it into the sides to create a double thick crust edge. Freeze until firm, about 30 minutes.
You’ve now reached the second to last step in your Crust-Quest: Prebaking. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line your chilled crust with heavy aluminum foil, being careful to gently press the foil into all the nooks and crannies of the crust. Fill with dried beans, uncooked rice, or pie weights (I use dried chickpeas). Dry out the crust by baking for 15 minutes. Check to see if it’s ready by carefully lifting the foil. If it sticks, continue to bake for 2 minutes at a time, checking the foil. When it no longer sticks, remove from the oven REMEMBERING THE REMOVABLE BOTTOM. Remove the weights by gathering the foil and carefully moving it up and out. Now you’re ready to fully bake. Reduce oven temperature to 350 and put the crust back in the oven and bake until golden, about 10 minutes. If the edges are getting very dark but the center is still not done, cover the edges with small pieces of aluminum foil or crust shields. If the crust begins to form giant bubbles, prick them with a sharp knife and gently press down with a metal measuring cup. When it’s done, remove from the oven REMEMBERING THE REMOVABLE BOTTOM and place on a wire cooling wrack. Make the filling as the crust cools.
To unmold the crust, place the fully cooled crust on a large inverted bowl and carefully slide the outer ring off. I like to leave the bottom of the tart pan on as a reinforcer, but you can do as you will and bravely use an offset spatula to separate the pan bottom from the crust
Filling (from foodnetwork.com)
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. lemon juice
6 tbsp. butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 tbsp. lemon zest
3 eggs, beaten
about a pint of fresh blueberries
In the top of a double boiler, heat all the ingredients until they thicken to a custard and bubbles form on the surface, about 10-15 minutes. When the mixture coats the back of a wooden spoon, remove from heat and strain through a mesh sieve. Let it cool until you’re ready to assemble the tart. To assemble the tart, pour the filling into the cooled crust and arrange the blueberries in a pretty pattern or simply dump berries on to embrace Normcore in your tart. Chill until you’re ready to serve!