" Chaos"… that’s the word that comes to my mind when I think about these little tarts. They are not difficult to make, although they will take you some time if you make everything from scratch, but the results are really worth the effort. What I meant by "chaos" is all the noise, movements, tribulations that took place around them while they were getting their shiny coats and lemon dots.
I decided to make my tarts for Hay Hay It’s Donna Day, created by Barbara of Winos and Foodies and hosted this month by Sarina of TriniGourmet this past tuesday. My day was pretty skimpy on training appointments so I figured I would have ample time to make these and a couple of other pastries for orders. I started with the dough right before I left for work, inspired by one that did the rounds of the French bloggsophere last year. A sort of easy and fast mock puff pastry, which originaly calls for "petits suisses" as a moisture source but I’ll say "hot dang!" (because I love them) the day I find those here, so I subbed sour cream and everything worked out fine. Once back home, the dough got a little resting time on the countertop before being tooled out. Smooth as a baby’s bottom and soft as a pillow I almost wished our rolling time would have to come to an end in a pie plate…Have you ever kneaded a bread dough or other that was so nice to you, so pliable that you wish you could do it forever?…Ok, if it wasn’t official before, now you can definitely see how weird I can be about my doughs!
Anyway, I disgress…I was about to fill my mini pie pans when I heard kids’ voices in the garage. Our neighbors’ twins were down there figuring a way to get in the middle if the action with B. You bet, for two 7 year-old boys, our garage is like a treasure cave of trouble to get into with tools galore, boating equipment, golf clubs, crab and shrimp nests, etc….They are so bubbly, it sounded like there were 6 kids playing around. My dear husband sent them upstairs to get some water and a treat and that’s when chaos ensued…I love baking with children, I think their take on things is honest and down to earth. They are also very creative and bring good ideas to the table when it comes to ease of preparation and decorations. If you are calm enough to understand that within 10 minutes your kitchen is going to be splaterred with flour, sugar and your utensils flying in every directions, then you are going to have a serious good time!
One of the boys looked at the shells filled with the almond filling coming out of the oven and started to blow on them so they would cool faster and they’d be able to fill them with the blueberry compote. They even suggested holding them over the AC vent for quicker cool down time, not practical but smart for sure!
Once filled with the blueberry compore, the twins proceeded to help me out with dotting the tarts with lemon curd cream. I believe they were quite proud to get about one cup in the pastry bag and not on their shoes. The dots were another story… The three photographed tarts are actually the ok looking ones, the others much ressemble the surfaces of Mars and the Moon, and I even recall one tart attempted to smile. They ate 3 mini ones right then on the spot, too happy to show my husband their blue tongues! Within the nest couple of days, the tarts kept disappearing at great speed, so much so that I think I only ate one… not fair!
The recipe given by Sarina to illustrate this month "Tarts" theme starts with a puff pastry and I wanted to keep with this idea but was pressed for time visiting with the parents so I tried this quick puff pastry I mentioned above. The filling is my "go-to" frangipane (almond cream) filling that I used last month with fresh figs. The blueberry compote is nothing else than cooked down fresh picked blueberries (there is a patch 15 minutes down the road), and the lemon curd is leftover from the Meyer lemon curd I made for a Ricotta Cake and that I had in the freezer. All the parts can come together over several days, so there is no feeling of waiting or rushing if you spread the work over 2-3 days. You can also keep everything unbaked for 3-4 days.
While talking to Veronica a couple of weeks ago about the Meyer lemons Mary had sent us, I was talking to her about possible uses and tart options for HHDD. As it happens when most cooks and bakers talk together the conversation quickly moved from "lemon and blueberry tarts" to "Meyer lemon curd, blueberry compote on frangipane cream in mini shells"…I can see how a simple Sunday dinner could turn into a New Year’s Eve Party. I exagerate of course, but you get the point. Thanks Veronica for the tasty brainstorming!
Lemon Almond Blueberry Tarts:
Quick Puff Pastry:
180 gr. flour
180 gr. sour cream
pinch of salt
Process all the ingredients in a food processor until the dough comes together. Remove and knead a couple of times until smooth. Roll out and fold in three like a business letter. Repeat a couple of times and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
Roll the dough and fit into pie shells of different sorts or one large 12 inch one. Blind bake for 10 minutes at 350F. Let cool.
1/3 cup whole almonds (about 2 ounces)
1/3 cup sugar
1 large egg
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
4 teaspoons rum or brandy
Finely grind almonds with sugar in processor. Add egg, butter and 2 teaspoons rum. Process until batter forms. Pour filling into crust. Bake for 15 minutes at 350F. Let cool completely.
1 pint fresh blueberries
zest and juice from one lime
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. ground cardamom
2 Tb. cornstarch
In a heavy saucepan, combine all the ingredients and heat over medium until the blueberries release their juices and the whole mix start to thicken, about 10 minutes. Let cool to room temperature.
Lemon Curd Cream:
grated zest of 2 (Meyer) lemons
1 cup strained lemon juice
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tb powdered gelatin set to bloom in 3 Tb water
1/2 cup heavy cream, whipped to soft peaks
Combine the zest, sugar, juice in a saucepan, and bring to a simmer.
In a small bowl, beat the eggs until light.Beat some of the lemon mixture into the eggs to temper. Scrape the mixture back into the saucepan and cook stirring constantly until it thickens up, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the gelatin in the microwave until dissolved, about 30 seconds. Remove the curd from the heat, let cool completely. Gently fold in the whipped cream.
Spoon the blueberry filling into the tart or divide evenly among the mini ones. Pour the lemon curd cream into a pastry bags and dot the blueberry filling with it.
The combinations of all the flavors is truly outstanding. Just plenty to make it sweet and just enough of a little pucker with the lemon.