Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Blueberry Lemon Crumble Tart

by Darla

A few months ago, my husband got me a new cookbook, The Art and Soul of Baking. I love this book. It’s beautiful and there are so many delicious recipes to choose from. They are, I admit, a little more advanced in some cases, and many of them are rather time consuming, but when I take the time to make them, it’s always well worth it!

When I came across a recipe for a blueberry crumble tart, I could hardly wait to try it. Then we moved, though, and I had to wait a bit. Which was a shame, really, because there are no blueberries, like Maine blueberries!

Instead, I splurged on some very pricey berries here in St. Croix. The recipe calls for three pints, which I didn’t really think twice about, but once I started assembling the tart…well, you’ll see.

When I decided to make this, I assumed, it being a tart, that it would be somewhat labor intensive and time consuming, but I’m finding that tarts actually tend to be rather quick and easy to make. This only took me about 30 minutes (minus baking and cooling times), from homemade tart shell to completed tart, to make. In fact, I made it the same day I made fresh ice cream, while still busy unpacking our home! If you have a tart pan, this recipe is worth trying, and if you don’t have a tart pan, I think you could certainly get away with making the dough in a pie pan instead.

First, though, let’s get started on the tart shell. You need sugar, cold water, salt, flour, and cold unsalted butter cut into chunks.

Make sure your butter is very cold and keep it chilled until you are ready to use it.

Combine the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse eight or ten times to blend the ingredients. Add the cold butter and pulse another eight to ten times until the mixture looks very sandy and crumbly (with pieces no bigger than peas).

Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and add a small amount (one to three tablespoons) of your cold water. Start out with less water, you can always add more as you go, but you can’t take it back out. Using a rubber spatula, press and mix the ingredients together. The mixture will be bits and pieces of dough and flour, but pick up a handful and squeeze it in your hand to test it. If it holds together when you release it, then it is ready to be kneaded. If not, you’ll need more water. Add more water, a little at a time, as necessary until the dough sticks together. If the butter feels soft at this point, place the mixture in the refrigerator to chill for at least 15 minutes.

Turn the mixture out onto a lightly floured surface and squeeze and knead it together until a cohesive dough forms. Try to do this as quickly as you can, touching the dough as little as possible, in order to maintain the butter pieces (the warmth from your hands will melt the butter). Shape the dough into a 6 inch disk, wrap it in plastic wrap, and chill for at least an hour.

The cookbook says to roll the chilled dough out to about an eighth of an inch thick, but because of a change that I think works better in the next step, I would suggest rolling it to a quarter inch thick.

Pick the dough up by rolling it onto a rolling pin, then unroll it gently into the tart pan. Once the dough is in place, gently lift and press it into the pan lightly. Now trim the excess dough off until there is about an inch of overhang.

At this point, the recipe suggests that you fold the ends under and press the dough into the sides of the pan to create a thicker side.

Then, use your finger to press the dough down over the edges of the pan in order to cut the excess. Chill for 30 minutes before baking.

I recommend skipping the fold over step and leaving a single layer of dough throughout the whole thing, then, after gently pressing the dough into the pan, just use a rolling pin to cut the excess, by rolling it over the top of the tart pan.

Whenever I do the whole “double layer wall” tart shell, the sides of the shell fall apart easily once the tart is removed from the pan. With a more uniformly thicker crust, you have better support with sturdier walls.

Line the dough with a sheet of heavy duty aluminum foil (or a double layer of regular foil), wrapping it securely over the edges. Fill the pan with pie weights (pennies or dried beans work well too), making sure that they fill the edges of the pan.

Bake the tart shell at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes, then remove the foil and weights (gently pull the four corners together and lift the weights from the pan). Be sure to set the hot weights up away from any curious little fingers. Return the pan to the oven and bake for another 20 to 25 minutes, until the tart shell is golden brown.

Place the tart shell on a wire cooling rack and allow to cool completely before filling.

Now it’s time for the yummy filling! There’s not a tons of lemon in the recipe, just enough to add the right amount of zing, and only in zest, but it really changes the whole flavor of the tart.

Obviously, for the filling you need blueberries and lemon zest.

You also need sugar and a little bit of all-purpose flour.

Toss all of the berries with the other three ingredients then pour the entire mixture into the cooled tart shell. Here’s where I explain to you why three pints of blueberries is way too much: when I tried to fill my tart the berries were mounded so high that they kept spilling over the edges, rolling across the counter, and bouncing away along the floor. It was very frustrating. Plus, there is still a delicious crumble mix that has to be put on top. I would recommend cutting the berries down to one-and-a-half to two pints. They will still mound in the pan, but it will be far more manageable.

For the crumble mix (my favorite part), you need chopped almonds or walnuts (optional), salt, cold unsalted butter, sugar, and flour. I didn’t have any almonds or walnuts, but wanted the added crunch that they provide, so I chose to use True North Almond Pecan Cashew Clusters (um…totally awesome snack, BTW) for a little added sweetness. I just chopped the clusters up like I would have regular nuts. I’m really happy that I did, because it was seriously delicious!

Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl or the bowl of a standing mixer, and mix until it looks sandy (with clumps no bigger than the size of a pea).

Here, you can see how very mounded the filling was. Once you have the topping mixed, cover the entire tart with it, pressing very gently to form a sort of crumbly crust.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 40 to 50 minutes, until the topping is golden. Transfer to a wire cooling rack to allow to cool before serving.

I think this tart comes out so beautiful! It’s a little rustic and old fashioned looking, and completely looks like you used your own two hands to make it (in a good way)! You can see that, as it baked, the fruit settled and isn’t as tall as before.

It’s still rather difficult to cut, though, with so much filling. By using less, it will not only be easier to assemble, but also easier to serve, as well as eat.

This is wonderful served slightly warm from the oven with some fresh vanilla ice cream. This slice is a more reasonable amount of berries. It was much easier to make, all around, and far easier to cut and serve.

This recipe was very quick and easy to make. Every individual component of the recipe is simply made and mixed, so there’s not a lot of time and energy wasted on mixing, combining, and assembling. Yet, you still get a rustic-ly elegant, delicious dessert. Enjoy!

Blueberry Lemon Crumble Tart
Makes one 9-inch tart

Ingredients

FOR THE DOUGH
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
3 to 4 tablespoons ice water
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt

FOR THE FILLING
2 1/2 to 3 cups (12 to 18 ounces) fresh blueberries
1/2 cup sugar
finely grated zest of 1 large lemon (usually about a tablespoon)
4 teaspoons all-purpose flour

FOR THE TOPPING
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small chunks

To make the dough: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, sugar, and salt. Pulse 8-10 times to blend the ingredients. Add the cold butter and pulse another 8-10 times until the mixture looks sandy and crumbly (with pieces no bigger than peas).

Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and add about 2 tablespoons of the cold water. Using a rubber spatula, press and mix the ingredients together. The mixture will be bits and pieces of dough and flour, but pick up a handful and squeeze it in your hand to test it. If it holds together when you release it, then it is ready to be kneaded. If not, add more water. Add the water a little at a time, as necessary until the dough sticks together. If the butter feels soft at this point, place the mixture in the refrigerator to chill for at least 15 minutes.

Turn the mixture out onto a lightly floured surface and squeeze and knead it together until a cohesive dough forms. Shape the dough into a 6 inch disk, wrap it in plastic wrap, and chill for at least an hour.

Roll the chilled dough out into a 12-14 inch circle, about 1/4 inch thick. Using a rolling pin, pick the dough up by rolling it over the pin. Gently lay the dough into a 9-inch tart pan. Lift and press the dough gently into the corners of the pan and roll the rolling pin over the top edges of the pan to remove excess dough. Chill for 30 minutes.

Once chilled, line the dough with a sheet of heavy duty aluminum foil (or a double layer of regular foil), wrapping it securely over the edges. Fill the pan with pie weights (pennies or dried beans work well too), making sure that they fill the edges of the pan.

Bake the tart shell for about 20 minutes, then remove the foil and weights (gently pull the four corners together and lift the weights from the pan). Return the pan to the oven and bake for another 20 to 25 minutes, until the tart shell is golden brown.

Place the tart shell on a wire cooling rack and allow to cool completely before filling.

To make the filling: Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Toss all of the berries with the other three ingredients then pour the entire mixture into the cooled tart shell. Easy, huh

To make the topping: Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl or the bowl of a standing mixer, and mix until it looks sandy (with clumps no bigger than the size of a pea). Easy again, no

Cover the entire tart with the topping, pressing very gently to form a sort of crumbly crust.

Bake for about 40 to 50 minutes, until the topping is golden. Transfer to a wire cooling rack to allow to cool slightly before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature.

adapted from The Art and Soul of Baking

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 bttrflybabydoll August 18, 2010 at 10:15 am

Oh yum! Blueberry and lemon is one of my favorite combinations. I'll be trying this soon.

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2 bttrflybabydoll August 19, 2010 at 6:49 am

I was just looking at that book on Amazon. That's one HUGE cookbook isn't it?!

Reply

3 Sugarbear August 19, 2010 at 9:19 am

It really is!! And it's an awesome book! I love it…the recipes all sound soooo irresistible! But, like I said, they can be a bit labor intensive or complicated. They tend to have a lot of various components that have their own recipes elsewhere in the book. I plan for those recipes several dys in advance!

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4 Alex November 10, 2010 at 1:52 pm

Wow. Gonna have to make this for Christmas :D

THANK YOU!

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