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Lemon Almond Blueberry Tarts

Lemon Almond Blueberry Tartlets" 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!

Lemon Almond Blueberry Tartlets
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 Tartlets

Lemon Almond Blueberry Tarts:

Quick Puff Pastry:

180 gr. flour
180 gr. sour cream
90gr. butter
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.

Frangipane Cream:

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.

Blueberry Filling:

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
2 eggs
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.

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Anonymous September 29, 2007 um 2:40 am

Sounds like delightful, delicious, cacophony and confusion at your place. The tarts look superb!

Anonymous September 29, 2007 um 3:39 am

These look fabulous and your level of patience even more great.
Cooking with kids is wonderful, especially when they offer swift culinary tips like the use of the AC, very resourceful!

Anh September 29, 2007 um 5:07 am

This tart looks heavenly delicious!

Anonymous September 29, 2007 um 5:39 am

Delicious looking tart! I’m curious about the pastry…

Rosa's Yummy Yums September 29, 2007 um 8:31 am

Those tarts must be mighty flavorful! That’s a great recipe…

Hilda September 29, 2007 um 12:52 pm

Eh mais c’est de la total decadence ça! Moi j’ai fait dans le plus traditionnel, mais comme tu as dit sur le mien, c’est très drôle d’avoir essentiellement pensé à la même chose. 😉

Jenny September 29, 2007 um 1:28 pm

Can I send my boys over to bake with you? 🙂
The tarts look wondeful!

Rachel September 29, 2007 um 2:36 pm

the tarts look great, but i love that little faux milk carton!

Big Boys Oven September 29, 2007 um 3:44 pm

Such a lovely, gorgeous blueberry tart….such a jewel!

Anonymous September 29, 2007 um 4:06 pm

Looks delicious!
I, too, love that little milk carton!

MyKitchenInHalfCups September 29, 2007 um 4:49 pm

That’s chaos at it’s best! You are so right about be calm with the fun, flour and flying tools around kids, it’ll all clean up later.
My goodness I do love the look of those tarts, they would make such beautiful blue tongues!

LizNoVeggieGirl September 29, 2007 um 6:26 pm

you never cease to amaze me with the various tarts and other baked goods that you create – this lemon-almond-blueberry variety is yet another winner, for sure!

Mr. X September 29, 2007 um 8:38 pm

hy. I like your blog. visit my blog at its a cool blog you will enjoy.

Anonymous September 29, 2007 um 10:15 pm

Super! You made what we talked about. These look utterly fantabulous. I’ve never cooked with kids but I’m sure I make enough mess on my own ;).

Peabody September 29, 2007 um 11:23 pm

Very pretty but would kill me(well the blueberries would).

Cynthia September 30, 2007 um 1:00 am

Sounds like you and the boys had a really good time.

Mallow September 30, 2007 um 1:04 am

Those sound amazing! The cream, the frangipane, blueberries…too much! I especially like the idea of cooling the tarts over the AC!

Mercedes September 30, 2007 um 1:04 am

Oh, the tarts are beautiful and scrumptious as usual, but you didn’t say anything about that cute little porcelain milk box in the background? pray tell!

Anonymous September 30, 2007 um 3:13 am

ohhh…they look great! i love frangipane!! and get a load of that cute little milk container!

Manggy October 1, 2007 um 6:24 pm

Argh! If only blueberries were available fresh here!! Also, it would help me out a great deal if almonds weren’t so incredibly expensive. Haha! I love your tarts.

test it comm October 2, 2007 um 1:31 am

That looks really good. Lemon and blueberries go well together.

Laura October 3, 2007 um 1:08 am

I would just like to tell you that this has to be my favorite all time blog. The pictures literally make me drool as I admire the intricate details of all of these pastries. Plus my family having such a sweet tooth, it gives me lots of ideas on different recipes. These are soo far from the typical cupcakes and rice crispy treats. Those sticky buns remind me of being at my aunt’s house in the wintertime, she would always make those for us on snowy days, food like this just warms you up. And the aroma that travels through the house is simply heavenly. But if I to try every recipe that you have listed, that I thought looked good, I would probably be 200 lbs. heavier. I can’t wait to see what else you will be posting, keep up the good work.

Anonymous October 3, 2007 um 10:19 pm

Thanks so much for taking part in this month’s round of Hay Hay it’s Donna Day 🙂 The roundup should be posted later today or tomorrow 😀 Stay Tuned!

Barbara October 4, 2007 um 10:42 am

A wonderful entry Helene. I still enjoy baking with my boys even though they are big boys now. Thanks for joining hHDD. 🙂

Lucy October 17, 2007 um 7:29 am

The tarts look amazing! But where did you find the porcelain milk carton??

Lucy October 17, 2007 um 7:30 am

This comment has been removed by the author.

Anonymous December 4, 2007 um 5:16 am

I was reproducing these tarts for a bake sale, and was wondering about the gelatin mentioned in the directions but not the formula for the lemon curd. Do you use gelatin to firm it up, and if so, how much? Do you use sheet or powder? what ratio to water?

Helene December 4, 2007 um 5:47 am

Benedict: thanks for pointing that out. The recipe has been updated . Thank you!

Anonymous December 8, 2007 um 3:48 am

Btw, I made these delicious little things as promised. In the soul of innovation, I had forged ahead before I checked for the comments.

Onto my "mini-review"

The compote is a great compote. It has exactly the right ammount of sugar and the lime and cardamom really set it off. Blueberries this time of year was tough on the pocket book though. I subbed out blackberries for half of my tarts and they were excellent as well, but I had to adjust ratios a bit.

The lemon curd, since I hadn’t checked on, I replaced with a recipe of my own that uses "just" meyer lemons, sugar, and eggs and is prepped over a double boiler. I still have enough meyer lemon juice stored to try the curd recipe here.

The almond frangipane, well, I’m not sure about. Either I messed up somewhere (I don’t think I did) or this particular formula just doesn’t hit me. It was…not too sweet, but it had like a really strong honey flavor from somewhere. I was using white granulated sugar, unsalted sweet cream butter, whole almonds processed in a coffee grinder (only used for nuts), and cage free vegetarian fed eggs.

The dough, I just don’t know what I did wrong. I can only blame myself. I prepped the dough the night before, let it sit in my fridge wrapped for about 24-25 hours. Rolled out nice and thin, let sit for about 10 minutes to "relax" cut and fitted to my tart tins, baked, and half of them shrunk down the sides of the tins, until they were more like puff pastry rounds.

All of that aside, however, this was a great recipe. The tartness of the lemon, the savory not too sweet blueberry, and the sweet frangipane all came together with a satisfyingly crisp dough to really make a great tart.

Helene December 8, 2007 um 3:56 am

Benedict: did you blind bake your tart shells with parchement paper on top of the dough and pie weights wot weigh it down. That’s the only way I know to prevent shrinkage when baking them. Funny you mention honey since there was not any in it. Wonder if the sweetness of the almonds combined with the sugar did it….magic of chemistry!
Meyer lemon curd muct have tested awesome.
Thnaks for trying them!

Anonymous December 8, 2007 um 4:20 am

I did not in fact blind bake it, I just docked them and baked them off. I sadly don’t have as many weights as I used to and I didn’t have any beans to hand. Last time I used rice to blind bake, it went "through" the parchment paper somehow and lodged in the dough.

I love your blog, its probably first or second of my favorites. I just hardly ever comment on anyones.

Thank you for your rapid responses too!

Helene December 8, 2007 um 4:33 am

Well, I rarely sleep more than 5 hours (not that I am proud of it, I have insomnia) and I have the laptop on a countertop so I am always checking things out!
Last resorts when I don’t have beans or rice handy for blind baking: I put any oven acceptable dish custard cup, etc..on top of the parchment paper, or I use foil and push it hard against the side. Finally if all else fails, I make a litle hedge over the rim of the tarts so when it wants to shrink, it grips the edge and stays there.

Anonymous December 8, 2007 um 4:36 am

Well, I can tell you this much, your recipe proudly went off to a breast cancer charity bakesale. I included a lil card with each tart with your blog’s address on it.

I was very very satisfied over all with it

Helene December 8, 2007 um 4:42 am

Well, if my grandma were still alive she would kiss you right now for helping fight breast cancer. She died from it at 93. We were lucky to have her for so long. Thank you!
…and stop being a stranger!

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