Wednesday, March 3, 2010

What a Tart

The word tart has several definitions. As an adjective, it could mean having a pungent taste, sour or sharp and bitter. As a noun it can mean a dessert- a pastry shell with shallow sides, no top, and various fillings.
It can also mean a prostitute or sexually promiscuous woman, but we won't address that one today.


You'll never -evereverever- see me turn down a hefty slice of homemade pie. If that day comes, you better look outside because life as we know it might be over. But you'll also never see me make an easy decision when given choices.

Piece of pie or a cupcake? . . . um . . . um . . . um . . . panic!

Fun-sized desserts keep that indecision to a minimum since I can try a couple things. Like this weekend's Afternoon Tea- I was able to have a blueberry tart, a chocolate beignet, and part of a mini apple turnover before throwing up the white flag in surrender.
The small size might seem intimidating, but these blueberry tarts are really easy. You could get fancy if you want but I usually stear clear of embellishments in favor of rustic and simple.
I love rustic, it's much less stressful.
I used a muffin tin for the tarts, and because my biscuit cutters were too small I used the biggest glass I could find. It was still small (the dough didn't come all the way up the sides) but I was happy with the results. The tarts would have been bigger but this smaller size is what I was shooting for to begin with.
Of course I HAD to overfill a few, so those bubbled over.
So they looked less than perfect; so what? They tasted just as yummy.
One more thing: I had half a batch of my favorite pie dough (the one with vodka) in the freezer from the last time I made pie. I was able to make ten tarts so two of the muffin tins were empty and I had extra filling. I filled two ramekins with the leftover blueberry filling and I've been stealing spoonfuls every time I pass the fridge.
You could make more tarts and use up the filling with a full batch of pie dough. Be prepared with a second muffin tin.

Blueberry Tarts
makes 10
1 disk (1/2 batch) Vodka Pie Dough
6 cups frozen wild blueberries
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and grated
2 tsp lemon zest
2 tsp lemon juice
1/2-3/4 cup sugar
2 Tbs instant tapioca
pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray a muffin tin generously with baker's spray (containing flour) and set aside.
Remove the pie dough from the fridge and roll out on a floured work surface, about 1/8 inch thick. Using a biscuit cutter, cut circles from the dough and press gently into the muffin tin, especially at the bottom. Repeat with the rest of the tin and stash in the fridge for at least 15 minutes.
Place 3 cups of the (still frozen) blueberries in a small saucepan over medium heat. Smoosh blueberries with a potato masher (I don't own one, I used a whisk) to release the juices. Cook, stirring occasionally, until half the berries are broken down and the mixture has thickened and reduced, about 8 minutes.
Meanwhile, grate the apple and wring dry with a towel. Transfer the apple to a large bowl and add the remaining 3 cups of frozen berries, lemon zest, lemon juice, 1/2 cup sugar, tapioca, and salt. Toss to combine, then add the hot berry mixture. Stir thoroughly, and taste to see if you need the additional 1/4 cup of sugar. If you do add here; the frozen berries should be thawed by the cooked ones.
Spoon carefully into the chilled muffin tin, leaving a little clearance at the top so they don't bubble over. If they do, it's ok.
Bake for 30 minutes until the crust is golden brown and the filling bubbles. Transfer the tin to a wire rack to cool. If any of the tarts bubbled over, run a sharp knife carefully around the edges to make them easier to remove. Let cool for 15 minutes, then carefully remove the tarts to finish cooling on the rack.
Store the tarts in an airtight container before serving.
Would you rather make pie instead of baby tarts?
This filling and the method used to make it works extremely well in the mama version.
Just don't ask me to choose which one I like better.


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