Sometimes, everything just comes together as if preordained. Such as with this tart. We had several pints of blueberries sitting in the refrigerator, we knew we’d be picking up a log of goat cheese from the CSA, and, we were browsing Eric Lanlard’s new book, Afternoon Tea, and saw this recipe. We felt we were fated to make this tart. And, now that you’re reading this, perhaps you’re fated to make this tart, too. Don’t worry, we’ll help.
First off, we admit to changing the recipe to use goat cheese (it actually called for 150g or 5 1/2 ounces of crème fraîche). Now, we usually just make the crème fraîche (it’s basically our homemade sour cream), but, we figured that goat cheese would be close enough. Finally, note that all the ingredients are listed in grams first; we recommend you weigh them if you can, but, if not, we’ve provided approximate conversions for you.
We weren’t sure what crème de cassis was, so we looked it up: it’s a liqueur made from black currants. As we expected, we didn’t have any, so we didn’t use any. For the goat cheese, we always use Black Mesa Ranch goat cheese because it doesn’t taste goat-y, and it’s sort of local, and they take good care of their animals. For the eggs, we get those from a rancher (Josh of Josh’s Foraging Fowls) who lets his hens peck and scratch in the grass, moving them to new pasture regularly. It’s the way hens should be raised, and we’re lucky to be able to support him. You probably can (and should) find similar suppliers where you live.
Procedure in detail:
For the crust:
Mix dry ingredients. No pockets of cinnamon for us, so, in a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, and salt until uniform and set aside.
Cream butter and sugar. Place the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on medium speed until smooth and glossy. It should only take a minute; if it’s taking longer, your butter’s not warm enough. Wait and try again in about 10 minutes. Once glossy, slowly add the granulated sugar — we like to add it at the rate it’s incorporated into the butter — and continue to beat until the sugar mixture is pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Stop the mixer periodically and scrape down the sides of the bowl.
Beat in egg. Add egg and beat in on medium speed. The mixture will look slightly curdled, but continue beating until it’s pretty well mixed in, about 1 minute. The mixture may still look curdled, but it’s okay.
Mix in flour. Add the flour mixture, and either pulse the mixer to start combining, or use a rubber spatula to cut in the flour mixture, then mix on low until just combined, 30 seconds. Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface, and, with the heel of your hand, smear the dough several times, folding it back up as needed, to ensure that there are no pockets of dry ingredients.
Refrigerate. Shape the dough into a 6-inch disk, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for at least an hour, but preferably overnight. This rest allows the gluten to relax and the flour to become fully hydrated so it’ll be easier to roll out.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9-inch tart fluted tart pan with removable bottom. If you don’t have a tart pan, you can use a quiche pan or even a pie pan. It’ll taste the same, but the baking times might be slightly different.
Roll crust. Roll out the crust into a circle about 11 inches in diameter. Transfer to the prepared tart pan and press into place, Trim the edges smooth so the tart will look nice. If you wish, you can re-roll the scraps and fit into small tart pans or pie plates and make a couple mini tarts as chef’s snacks.
Blind bake crust. Line the tart crust with parchment and fill with pie weights — use dried beans or rice, or even clean pea gravel, if that’s what you have — and bake on a baking sheet to catch any leaks for about 25 minutes, or until the crust is fully set. Remove the weights and parchment and bake until the surface is dry and lightly golden in color, about 10 minutes more.
Cool crust. Place the crust on a rack to cool. Lower the oven temperature to 325°F for baking the filled tart.
For the filling:
Cook blueberries. In medium saucepan over medium heat, combine blueberries, crème de cassis, if using, and about half the sugar. If you’re weighing the ingredients, use about 65 grams of sugar, or just estimate. The exact amount isn’t critical. Cook, occasionally stirring gently, until about half the berries have burst and the sugar has dissolved into the released juices. Remove from heat.
Make custard. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together remaining sugar, eggs, and goat cheese until smooth. This will be the custard that surrounds the blueberries.
Fill tart shell. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the berries to the tart shell, allowing the juice to drain back into the pan. Pour the custard over the berries and smooth with a spatula.
Make coulis. Strain the remaining juice through a fine mesh strainer and reserve as a berry coulis for serving. We really like the fact that you get a nice little accent for serving, without any additional work!
Bake. Place the tart on a baking sheet to catch leaks or overflow and bake until the custard sets and becomes lightly golden in a few spots, about 25 to 30 minutes.
Cool. Cool the tart on a rack for about 20 minutes before trying to remove from the tart pan and plating.
Serve. Serve slices of tart, drizzled with the reserved coulis.
While we were making this, we thought the crust had too much cinnamon. We were wrong. It paired up nicely with the blueberries, making the tart taste as if the crust were made from cinnamon graham crackers, or, perhaps even better, cinnamon toast. The crust is also nice and crisp, similar to a crisp cookie, while the custard is smooth and slightly tangy from the goat cheese. This is an easy five stars, especially since it’s an easy tart to make.