You may remember that, when we showed you how to make Pâte Sucrée, the recipe results in enough dough for two 9-inch crusts. It wouldn’t be particularly easy to scale it back to make only enough for a single crust, so we had an extra crust that we popped into the freezer for later. Fortunately, most doughs for crusts freeze remarkably well. Of course, that meant that we needed to think of a dessert that would match well with a slightly sweet, slightly almond-flavored, crust.
Then, it turned out that blueberries were on sale since they’re coming into season (we noticed that when we were hiking during our vacation, as we had the opportunity to pick wild blueberries from alongside some of the trails), so we figured we would make something involving blueberries. We thought about the simplest dessert we could make — blueberry gallette — but we decided to go with a dessert that’s a bit more formal. Hence the Blueberry Cream Tart. This really isn’t a recipe per se, as it just combines a few basic pastry items, but we managed to combine the best. The Pâte Sucrée is from Thomas Keller, the Pastry Cream from Dorie Greenspan, and the blueberries from Mother Nature.
Fresh blueberries will work best for this recipe. They’ll look nice, plus they’ll taste great. Note that you need to make 1 1/2 times the amount of pastry cream called for in the original recipe. It’s not difficult; just multiply all the ingredient amounts by 1.5: so 3 eggs, 1 1/2 cups milk, etc.
Procedure in detail:
Butter tart pan. Lightly butter the tart pan with just a bit of butter. It doesn’t have to be a lot, because this crust won’t stick. It’ll shrink a bit and pull away from the edges, but we do recommend using a tart pan with a removable bottom if you have one. It’ll make it super simple to plate later.
Roll and press crust. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough as best you can until you have something like a 10-inch circle. If your dough behaved like ours did, it will have cracked through in places. Don’t worry, you can fix that in a bit. Place the rolled-out crust into the prepared pan, press it into the fluted edges, press together the broken parts, and trim and press dough into any holes. Use a sharp knife to trim off the excess dough.
Fork and freeze. Dock the crust with a fork and place it in the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes. Pricking the bottom of the crust with a fork and freezing it will help prevent the crust from puffing while it bakes.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat (if you have one).
Weight crust. The final step to help keep the crust from puffing while it bakes is to weigh it down with something. We use baking parchment and rice. You could also use foil and beans, or specialized pie weights. Whatever you use, line the crust with either parchment or foil, then weigh it down.
Blind bake. Place the tart crust on the baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes, rotating from front to back halfway through.
Remove weights. Remove the crust from the oven and carefully lift away the baking parchment and rice. Don’t spill the rice into the crust, because no one will enjoy biting into a grain of rice in a creamy tart.
Bake. Put the crust back in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, rotating from front to back halfway through, until the crust has a nice golden brown appearance. This is the only time the crust bakes, so you want it baked completely, but you don’t want it dark brown either. Start checking at about 17 minutes or so.
Cool. Let the crust cool completely before filling. If you don’t let it cool, the pastry cream will melt into the crust. Needless to say, that’s not what you’re looking for in a dessert.
Add pastry cream. When the crust has cooled completely, scoop in the pastry cream and smooth it evenly. It will make a layer about 1/2 inch thick.
Top with blueberries. Wash and dry the blueberries, then, one by one, and working from the edges in toward the center, lightly press blueberries into the cream.
Cover and chill. Wrap with plastic and chill until you’re ready to serve.
This dessert is a study in simplicity. A crust, some cream filling, and blueberries. But we loved it. Every part was good enough to stand on its own and make us happy. The crust is perfect, lightly crispy, sort of like a vanilla-almond cookie, but not as sweet as cookies. The pastry cream is like the best-tasting vanilla pudding you can find, a good strong vanilla flavor, with just a touch of sugar. And, well, blueberries are just one of our favorites. All together, the blueberry cream tart is even better than any one part on its own. Five stars.