Summertime baking: blueberry-lemon tart


Growing up, I often craved American foods that my family did not make, such as mashed potatoes, spaghetti and meatballs, pizza, and apple pie.  As a teenager, I mustered the courage to try making some of these dishes–thinking about those first forays into American cuisine now make me cringe.  Where to start?  Mashed potatoes out of a box–check.  Spaghetti sauce out of a jar–check.  Frozen pizza and pie crusts–check, check.  I really can’t believe that I ate that stuff and thought it was good–not sure what that says about me or American cuisine…

Thankfully, these days I have a better palate and can make a variety of American dishes from scratch.  (And yes, I know spaghetti and meatballs is Italian, but you get the point.) As we reach the middle of summer, one of my favorite American things to make is blueberry-lemon tart.  Nothing epitomizes summer in New England like a tart with bursting blueberries, with the sweetness balanced by the acidity of lemon zest and juice.  For this tart, I’ve married two different recipes; the crust is from a peach kuchen recipe and the filling is from an Epicurious one.  Enjoy!

1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
2 tablespoons sour cream
(Note: You will need a fluted tart pan with removable bottom, or a springform pan also works.)

1 cup buttermilk
3 large egg yolks
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups picked over blueberries
some powdered sugar for dusting (about 1 tablespoon)

Crust: Heat oven to 375F.  In a food processor, quickly blend flour, salt, butter until it reaches cornmeal consistency (about 10-15 seconds).  Add sour cream and blend until dough begins to form into a ball.  Remove dough from the processor, pat into a ball wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 15 minutes.  Once dough has rested, remove from wrapping and using your palm and fingers, press the dough firmly into the fluted pan (all the way up the sides too), being careful not to leave any gaps or cracks.  This dough is pretty forgiving, so if you make a hole, just patch it by pressing the dough together.  Line top of dough with some foil and place pie weights atop–you can also use dry beans or rice.  Bake crust at 375 F on the middle rack for about 20 minutes or until edges start to turn golden, removing foil and pie weights after about 10 minutes.  Set aside and allow to cool completely.

Note: With a removable bottom pan, it is often easier to bake with a cookie sheet underneath to facilitate ease of movement into and out of oven.

Filling: Heat oven to 350F. Combine buttermilk, egg yolks, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, butter, vanilla, salt, and flour in a flour and whisk until smooth.  When crust is cool, arrange blueberries in a single layer and then pour buttermilk mixture on them.  Bake tart on the middle rack for 30-35 minutes, until the filling is just set.  Cool completely and dust with powdered sugar.

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