Saturday, September 17, 2011

Blueberry Custard Tart

As things have gotten busy around here, my baking has worked its way into two categories: baking with a deadline (for some event or another) and baking as a reward. This tart was my reward for getting through three crazy days of school meetings and work.

 Now, French meetings (at least the ones I've been to) can be quite pleasant. No one is in a hurry, and everyone talks a lot. There is often food or at least coffee involved. People are civil to one another even in disagreement.

And yet, I found myself sitting in meeting after meeting, tuning out and thinking, "OK, just two more meetings and then I can go home and bake something!"

So this is what I baked. Because I had made my piecrust dough ahead of time, it went together really quickly, but it was still a satisfying baking experience. I was especially pleased with my crust, which for a change didn't shrink on the edges (I baked it blind with a vegetable steamer!).

 When the girls got home, they asked, "What kind of quiche is this?" And they were right--this is an awful lot like a sweet quiche (ooh--breakfast quiche!). It's fruity and creamy, and the crust has a nice crispness. And it was gone in under 24 hours.

Here's the recipe. Treat yourself. 

Blueberry Custard Tart

1 c. (5 oz.) unsifted flour (some whole wheat is nice here)
2 T. (0.9 oz.) sugar
1/4 t. salt
1/2 c. (4 oz.) cold butter, cut into pieces
1 large egg

I made the crust in a food processor, though you could also do it in a mixer or by hand. Put the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor and pulse until mixed. Pulse in the butter until you have coarse crumbs. Then add the egg and process until it holds together. Turn out onto a piece of waxed/parchment paper (if you're going to store the dough for a while) or a rolling surface (if you're going to work with it now--you don't have to chill this dough). Knead it a bit until it holds together, then either store it for later or roll it out now.
Roll out the dough to fit an 11-inch tart/quiche pan, if you have one; I used a regular old 9-inch pie pan. Crimp the edges better than I did, prick the bottom and sides, and put the crust in the freezer for at least 15 minutes (while you preheat the oven).
Heat the oven to 400. Put a piece of foil or parchment over the crust, and then put in pie weights or beans or spare change or another, smaller pie pan or vegetable steamer--just something that's going to keep the crust from puffing on the bottom and shrinking on the sides. Bake for 10-15 minutes. Then remove the foil/parchment and the weights and bake another 5-10 minutes until golden. Turn the oven down to 325 and set the crust aside while you make the filling.

(Optional: 1/2 cup ground almonds or hazelnuts)
2 cups (8 oz.) fresh or frozen blueberries
2 large eggs + 2 egg yolks (in all honesty, I just now see the additional egg yolks. The tart was fine without them. Use your judgement.)
1/4 c. (1.75 oz.) sugar
1/4 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. nutmeg
1 t. vanilla
1 c. (8 oz.) cream

If you'd like, sprinkle the ground nuts on the bottom of the crust. This was my idea, and I liked it. Spread the blueberries over the nuts. Then whisk together the eggs, sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Whisk in the vanilla and cream. Pour that over the blueberries and put in that 325 oven for about 35 minutes; the custard will no longer jiggle. Serve at room temperature or cold (I liked it better room temperature).

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