June 23, 2014

Blueberry Almond Tart

Usually I have a freezer full of berries by now. My local berry picking place typically has one weekend where you can pick blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, and raspberries all at the same time, which means I can make any berry recipe I want. However, I was traveling during that wonderful weekend, so I currently have to rely on Costco to stock my kitchen with plump, ripe, juicy berries. Costco is great and all (have you seen the massive tubs of cookie dough???), but nothing compares to picking your own berries. If you can, I highly recommend using freshly picked berries, but supermarket berries--fresh, not frozen--will suffice if necessary.

This recipe is similar to my raspberry walnut tart but with a few fairly obvious differences: it's blueberry and almond instead of raspberry and walnut. You can use raspberries or blackberries instead, but the blueberries speckle the tart with a beautiful purple-y hue that pairs nicely with the almond. Of course, you can use another type of nut instead; for example, you could switch to hazelnuts and raspberries and drizzle the whole thing in chocolate. Still, I like the elegant simplicity of the blueberry and almond combination.

It starts with a basic pie crust. You could do a nut crust, like the one I used in the raspberry walnut tart, but I find that a basic sweet crust is much faster and easier and doesn't detract much in terms of flavor. If you want to spend some extra time making a nut crust to boost the almond flavor, go ahead. On the other end of the time spectrum, you can use a pre-made crust. I, however, am addicted to my basic pie crust recipe.

The filling for this tart is a little hard to explain. It's not really a custard, but it should be somewhat creamy on the inside with a very thin, crisp top when it's finished baking. It has a slightly sweet, buttery almond flavor that is the perfect canvas for fresh berries.

The first step in making the filling is beating softened butter until it's fluffy. You then add ground almonds (a.k.a. almond flour), some sugar, and just a little bit of flour. I would normally be concerned about stirring the flour too much and overdeveloping the gluten, but there's such a small amount that it doesn't really matter. Once all of those ingredients are combined, I beat in some egg, vanilla, and a splash of rum (or any other alcohol of your choice). You have to make sure you whip it until it's light and fluffy or you'll end up with only a tiny bit of filling, and it will be too dense to enjoy. Once it's done, just spread the mixture onto your (cooled) tart shell, sprinkle it with the berries, and bake it until it's golden brown. It's a delectable summer treat, especially when you have a fridge full of berries to use.

1 Recipe Sweet Pie Crust (See Below)
5 T Butter, Softened
½ Cup Ground Almonds
⅓ Cup Sugar
1 T Flour
1 Egg
1 tsp Vanilla
1 tsp Rum
2 Cups Blueberries

Heat oven to 400ºF.

Beat the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer until fluffy. Add the almonds, sugar, and flour and beat until smooth. Add the egg, vanilla, and rum and beat on high until fluffy, 1-2 minutes.

Spread the almond mixture onto the crust and sprinkle with the blueberries, pressing lightly to adhere. Bake for 30 minutes or until just set, covering with foil to prevent browning if necessary.

For the Pie Crust:
1 ¼ Cups Flour
¼ Cup Sugar
¼ tsp Salt
1 Stick Butter, Chilled
1 Egg Yolk

Pulse the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor until combined. Add the butter and pulse until small pieces remain. Combine the egg yolk with a tablespoon of cold water and add in. Pulse until it begins to form a ball, adding more water as necessary. Chill for 30 minutes.

Heat oven to 375°F. Grease a 9-11" tart pan. Roll the dough out to fit the pan and press to adhere. Grease a sheet of foil, then press onto the dough. Fill with pie weights and bake until firm, 25 minutes.

Makes 1 Tart
Recipe Adapted from Kosher Scoop and Bon Appetit