Thursday, March 15, 2007

Blueberry Cream Cheese Tartlets

Blueberry Cream Cheese Tartlets

These are from Claudia Fleming's The Last Course.

This seems like a good moment to share some baking advice (which you may or may not have heard before.) Don't take recipes too seriously. This particular recipe involves making a crust, a pastry cream, and a berry topping. As long as you successfully make those components, it doesn't really matter how you go about the process.

It's perfectly acceptable to make the tarts in any shape you would like, or to substitute strawberries or raspberries for blueberries. If you're used to making pastry cream slightly differently, go ahead and do what you're comfortable with. All the details are to ensure you don't curdle the yolks.

That said, this recipe is really great. My mom describes the pastry cream as "killer."

Graham Cracker Tart Shells
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup honey
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Cream Cheese Pastry Cream
1 cup milk
5 tbsp sugar
4 large egg yolks
2 1/2 tbsp corn starch
3/4 cup cream cheese, cut into cubes and softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup heavy cream, whipped to soft peaks

Blueberry Topping
2 1/2 cups blueberries
1 tbsp sugar

1. To prepare the graham cracker shells, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the buter and sugars until smooth, about 1 minute. Add the honey and beat until well combined.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, salt, and cinnamon. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture in two batches, scraping down the sides of the bowl between additions. Mix until the dough is well combined. Scrape the dough onto a piece of plastic wrap and form it into a disc. Chill until firm, at least 1 hour and up to 2 days.

3. Preheat the oven to 325. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to 1/8 inch thick, about a 13x16 rectangle. Using a 3 inch cookie cutter, cut out 16 circles of dough and press them into greased mini muffin pans of 2 inch tart pans, triming away excess dough. Alternatively, fit the dough into mini rectangular tart tins. Prick the dough all over with a fork and chill for 20 minutes.

4. Bake until golden brown, 18-20 mins. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

5. To prepare the pastry cream, combine 3/4 cups of the milk and 3 tbsp of the sugar in a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, cornstarch, and the remaining 2 tbsp sugar. Whisk the remaining 1/4 cup milk into the yolk mixture. Remove the milk mixture from the heat and add a little of the hot milk to the yolk mixture to warm it, whisking constantly to keep the yolks from cooking. Pour the egg yolk mixture into the hot milk mixture, whisking constantly as you pour.

6. Return the custard to the stove and bring it to a boil, whisking constantly. Let the custard cook for 1-2 minutes until it thickens. Add the cream cheese and vanilla and whisk until smooth. Strain the mixture into a clean bowl. Cover the surface with plastic wrap and refrigerate. When it is chilled, whisk the pastry cream until smooth and fold in the whipped cream.

7. To make the blueberry topping, in a medium saucepan , mix 1 cup of the berries with the sugar. Cook over low heat until the berries have all popped and broken down, about 5 minutes. Strain the cooked berries into a bowl and discard the solids. Add the remaining 1.5 cups berries to the cooked syrup and toss to combine.

8. To assemble, spoon the pastry cream into each tart shell and top with 2 tbsp of the berries. Serve soon after assembling.

1 comment:

chaven said...

These were awesome and easy! Thanks for sharing!