The Queen of Hearts,
She made some tarts,
All on a summer’s day;
The Knave of Hearts,
He stole those tarts,
And took them clean away;
The King of Hearts,
Called for the tarts,
And beat the knave full sore;
The Knave of Hearts,
Brought back the tarts,
And swore he’d steal no more.
Did you ever read Alice in Wonderland and wonder what a tart was? I mean it would have to be pretty damned amazing if the King of Hearts was willing to beat the Knave for them right? I can finally see what the fuss is about. I found blueberries on sale and decided to have some fun with them (don’t worry, that does not mean anything icky). Some of my work guinea pigs had asked for a fruit pie..but I needed to put my own twist on it. I decided on a free form blueberry tart.
Due to the fact that Wisconsin lost the bid for summer weather, it was cool enough for me to make the crust from scratch. If you have never done so, or are one of those smug bastards who just whips it up in their food processor, let me tell you, cool weather is important. The key to the flaky yumminess is the cold butter. I tend to wax eloquent (in my own head at least) about how important the butter being in the right state is. If a recipe calls for cold butter, it means business. Likewise if a cookie recipe wants softened butter, melted will not do. Trust me, it’s important. Anyways, this was the first time I did not cheat with a Pillsbury Pie Crust, and I am so happy with the results.
The guinea pigs were also happy….to the point of being a little scary. One of them offered (?) to stalk me so they could find out where I lived and force me to do nothing but make them more. Who knew I could bake something so delicious it would require a restraining order? I made the recipe again, not a gun point I swear, but cut the dough into quarters prior to rolling out and made four smaller tarts and they turned out just as well.
Free Form Blueberry Tarts:
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling out the pastry
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
- 1/4 cup, plus a tablespoon of ice cold water
- 1/4 cup sugar, plus 1 teaspoon for sprinkling
- 1 lemon
- 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 4 cups blueberries
- 1 egg white, beaten
- In a large bowl, combine the 1 1/2 cups flour with the ginger and salt. Add the butter and, using a pastry cutter, cut it into the flour until it is the size of small peas. Sprinkle on the ice water slowly while mixing with a spatula just until the pastry starts to come together. Turn the pastry out onto a piece of waxed paper and pat into a disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for two hours or until firm.
- 20 minutes before bake time, microwave the lemon on high for 10 seconds. Combine in a large bowl 1/4 cup sugar, the zest from the lemon and the flour. Cut the lemon in half and squeeze the juice into a small bowl. Fold the blueberries and 2 tablespoons of the fresh lemon juice into the flour/sugar/zest mixture. Once completely coated, let stand for 15 minutes. Preheat the oven to 375º F.
- Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. There is a good chance that the juice will leak out and you will thank me for this step later. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the pastry into a rough 14 inch circle. It should be about a 1/8 inch thick. The beauty of the rustic free form style is that this does not have to be perfect. All my fellow OCD’ers out there need to read and repeat a couple of times.
- Transfer the dough to the parchment and spoon the blueberry mixture into the center. Allow at least 1 1/2 inch border around the blueberries. Fold the pastry dough over the blueberries, pleat as necessary. Brush the beaten egg yolk on the pastry and sprinkle with the remaining sugar.
- Bake for 55 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown and the blueberries are bubbling. Remove from oven, guard from the Knave of Hearts. Allow the tart to cool to warm and serve cut into wedges. Make sure the King of Hearts gets his to avoid a beat down.