One reason I chose this little apartment in Paris is because it has a decent sized oven, as opposed to the table top combination microwave contraptions that seem to be everywhere here. Essentially, I’m living in a kitchen with a bedroom in it. And a living room. And a dining room. And an office.
I figured it was time I did a little baking.
This tart is not difficult, particularly if you make the crust and filling ahead of time. The brown sugar filling — sort of like a frangipane without the almond — can be refrigerated for three days or frozen. I always make more pastry dough then I need and freeze some for future projects. Tart shells can be frozen, baked or unbaked, for weeks or months.
I love this particular combination, but the brown sugar filling is delicious with many different fruits: Blackberries, peaches, and apricots are all good. Just resist the urge to pile in too much fruit, unless you enjoy a soggy tart.
You can make one large tart or several small ones. In any case, the shell(s) should be fully baked before you add the filling and bake them again.
As they bake, the filling puffs up an surrounds the berries, and the berries burst and release their juices. It all smells very, very good.
Because I am a boring and predictable person, I will be eating serving these with a little créme fraîche. You, however, should consider ice cream. Vanilla, pecan, or peach would be especially good.
I always like a good buttery pate brisée, but you can use any type of crust you like. If you don’t have a knack for pastry, this recipe might turn you around. Whatever you use, make sure to patch any holes (with a little raw dough) in the prebaked shell before filling it.
Finally, I should tell you that the recipe for this filling comes from my dear friend Heather Miller, whom I miss very, very much.
Blueberry and Brown Sugar Tart(s)
This recipe yields more than enough filling for a 9 or 10 inch crust, or numerous small tarts, the exact number depending on their size. Similarly, a pint basket is plenty of fruit for one large tart, but you may not use all of it.
1 large or several small tart crusts, fully baked, left in the pan(s)
6 oz (12 T) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 c light brown sugar, packed
2 eggs, at room temperature
1/4 c all-purpose flour
pinch of salt
a few drops of vanilla extract
1 pint blueberries, more or less
1. Preheat the oven to 350°.
2. Make the filling: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or with a handheld mixer) beat the butter, brown sugar, salt and vanilla on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition and stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowls as needed. Add the flour and mix on low speed only until just combined. Use immediately, refrigerate for up to three days, or freeze.
3. Spread a layer of filling about 1/3″ thick in the bottom of the tart shell(s). Top the filling with a single layer of blueberries. Bake the tarts 20-30 minutes, until the filling is puffed, golden, and set, and the berries have burst.
4. Serve the tart(s) warm or at room temperature.
Notes: I baked the tarts still in their metal pans, which have removable sides. Do not try to remove the finished tart from its pan until it has cooled somewhat. This tart should be eaten the day it is made.