There have been a lot of sweets around here lately. I would apologize, but this little blog is a glimpse into my kitchen and sweets are what I am craving these days. Ice cream. And popsicles. And tiny tartlets with fresh fruit mounded on top. Even though Summer has officially just arrived, here in Virginia you'd think she'd been around for at least the last month. And when Summer lands firmly on our dry + crispy lawn I like for the food passing my lips to be cool and refreshing, laden with flavors of citrus and berry. Of course, there are salads abounding as well, but salads aren't nearly as much fun to photograph, write about, or share here in this space. Except that I've been slicing kumquats to sprinkle overtop of my spinach lately and that, my friends, is a really good idea. If you can find kumquats in your area I suggest you give it a try, I think you'll be pleased.
While you're out, pick up a few pints of fresh blueberries, and then hurry home to whip up these sweet little tartlets. The blueberries are such a nice accompaniment to the sharp tang of lemon curd nestled within the butter pastry. You'll only need one of those pints for this recipe, but if you're like me you won't be able to resist eating berries by the handful as you prep.
Oh! And if you're in central Virginia, pick up the Summer issue of Flavor Magazine. Not only because Flavor is a wonderful resource for sustainable eating in the Capital Foodshed, but because you may just recognize a photograph in the Pairings section on page 79...!
Happy Summer, friends!
Chantilly cream is one of my great pleasures. I experienced it for the first time at K-Paul's in New Orleans when it was served with my cafe au lait, and I just about licked the bowl. Sprinkled with dried lavender, it is a lovely accompaniment to sweet blueberries. Add in the lemon curd and butter pastry and you've got quite the divine dessert.
I should also note that I've never, ever been able to achieve a non-shrinking tart or pie crust. This recipe is suggested by Joy of Cooking for tartlets specifically because the pastry is not supposed to shrink, but, mine still did. Apparently pastry dough and I just don't get along. I'm working on it.
Blueberry Lemon Tartlets with Chantilly Cream + Lavender
makes (6) 4-inch tartlets, with some leftover lemon curd and chantilly cream (darn!)
- 1 cup plus 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 1 tbsp white sugar or 2 tbsp powdered sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 6 tbsp (3/4 stick) cold unsalted butter
- 3 oz cold cream cheese
- 2 to 3 tbsp cold heavy cream
- 1 cup sugar
- 8 tbsp unsalted butter (1 stick), cut into small pieces
- 8 large egg yolks
- 1/2 cup strained fresh lemon juice (from 2 to 3 lemons)
- 1 tbsp grated lemon zest, plus more for garnish
- 2/3 cup heavy cream
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp brandy
- 1 tsp Grand Marnier
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 tbsp dairy sour cream
- 1 pint fresh blueberries
- 1 tsp dried lavender
- Place a medium-size bowl and beaters in the refrigerator, to be used for the chantilly cream.
- To make the pastry, whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt. Cut the butter and cream cheese into 1/4-inch pieces. Using a pastry blender or 2 knives, cut the butter and cream cheese into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs with some pea-sized pieces. Drizzle the heavy cream over the mixture and cut in with the blade side of a rubber spatula, or stir with a fork until the dough begins to gather into moist clumps. Press the dough into a flat disk, wrap tightly in plastic, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 2 days.
- On a lightly floured work surface, roll the dough about 1/8 inch thick, then cut into rounds wide enough to cover the bottom and sides of your tartlet pans, with 1 to 1.5 inches extra dough to spare. Press the dough rounds into the pans, then fold the overhanging dough back on itself over the crust sides, doubling their thickness. Press the doubled dough firmly to seal, then thoroughly prick the sides and bottoms with a fork. Arrange the crusts on a baking sheet and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
- Position a rack in the center of your oven and preheat to 400°F. Bake the crusts for 5 to 7 minutes, then prick the bottoms of any that have puffed. Continue to bake until the crusts are golden brown and firm to the touch, 12 to 15 minutes more.
- For the lemon curd, preheat your oven to 350°F. Combine the sugar and butter in a heat proof bowl. Bring 1-inch of water to a bare simmer in a skillet, and set the bowl of sugar and butter in the skillet. Stir until the butter is melted, and remove the bowl from the skillet. Add the egg yolks and beat until no yellow streaks remain. Stir in the lemon juice and return the bowl to the skillet. Heat the mixture over medium heat, stirring gently until it thickens to the consistency of heavy cream and lightly coats a spoon, 6 to 8 minutes. Strain the lemon mixture through a clean fine-mesh sieve into a bowl, then stir in the lemon zest.
- Pour the filling into the tart crusts. Bake the tartlets until the center looks set but still very quivery, like gelatin, when the pan is nudged, for 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool completely on a rack.
- Meanwhile, make the chantilly cream. Combine the cream, vanilla, brandy, and Grand Marnier in the chilled bowl and beat with an electric mixer on medium speed for 1 minute. Add the sugar and sour cream and beat on medium just until soft peaks form, about 3 minutes. Do no overbeat!!!
- To assemble, pile blueberries on top of each tartlet. Add a generous dollop of chantilly cream and sprinkle with fresh lavender and lemon zest.
- If you make the tarts ahead, lightly oil sheets of plastic wrap and press directly on the filling in each tartlet. They can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 day. Dress with blueberries and chantilly cream when ready to serve.