Well, I'm finally making good on that promise! We've been baking quite a bit and I'll share all of those recipes with you bit by bit (or should I say bite by bite?). They are all keepers.
The basic recipe we used is for a Blackberry Heart, but we made it in a regular pie shell. The first version we made according to the recipe (but I completely forgot to take pictures). At the end I'll tell you how we modified it for the blueberry version.
from The Martha Stewart Cookbook
(makes one 7-inch heart-shaped tart)
3/4 cup red currant jelly
2 tablespoons blackberry liqueur
1 cup Crème Pâtissière flavored with 1 tablespoon blackberry liqueur (recipe below)
1 7-inch heart-shaped Pate Brisée tart shell, baked and cooled (recipe below)
2 pints fresh blackberries
Whipped cream for garnish
Melt the red currant jelly with the liqueur over low heat. Strain through a fine sieve and let cool slightly
Spoon the crème pâtissière evenly into the tart shell and arrange the blackberries (reserving 10 of the most perfect ones) carefully and neatly on top. Brush lightly with red currant glaze and top with the reserved berries. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Garnish with softly whipped cream
(Basic Pie Crust)
Makes 2 8- to 10-inch tarts or single-crust pies, or one 8- to 10-inch double-crust pie.
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon granulated sugar (optional)
1/2 pound (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water
Put the flour, salt and sugar in the bowl of a food processor. Add the pieces of butter and process for approximately 10 seconds, or just until the mixture resembles coarse meal. (To mix by hand, combine the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. using a pastry blender or two table knives, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal.)
Add ice water, drop by drop, through the feed tube with the machine running, just until the dough holds together without being wet or sticky; do not process more than 30 seconds. Test the dough at this point by squeezing a small amount together. If it is crumbly, add a bit more water.
Turn the dough out onto a large piece of plastic wrap. Grasping the ends of the plastic wrap with your hands, press the dough into a flat circle. This makes rolling easier than if the pastry is chilled as a ball. Wrap the dough in the plastic and chill for at least an hour.
Preheat oven to 400℉. Lightly butter or spray with vegetable cooking spray the pie or tart pan you'll be using. On a lightly floured surface, roll out pastry to a thickness of 1/8 inch. Place the pastry in the tart pan or pie plate and press it into the bottom edges and along the sides. Trim the pastry along the upper edge and crimp or decorate the edge if desired.
Carefully line the pastry with aluminum foil, pressing into the corners and edges, and weight with beans, rice, or pie weights. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes. When the pastry begins to color around the edges, remove the foil and weights and continue to bake just until the pastry dries out and turns a nice amber color. Let cool completely on wire rack before filling.
makes approximately 1 cup
1 cup milk
1/2 vanilla bean (I didn't have one and used vanilla extract)
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
3 egg yolks
1 tablespoon flour
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon unsalted butter
Combine the milk, vanilla bean (I added the extract at the end), and 1/4 cup sugar in a saucepan and heat until the sugar dissolves. In a bowl, beat the egg yolks with the remaining sugar until thick. Sprinkle the flour and cornstarch into the mixture and continue beating until well mixed.
Remove the vanilla bean from the milk. Beat half the hot milk into the yolk mixture. Return to the remaining hot milk and bring to a boil very quickly, whisking to prevent scorching. Remove from the heat and pour into a bowl to cool. Rub the top of the crème to prevent a skin from forming. Cover with plastic wrap and cool completely.
For the blueberry variation, we basically replaced the blackberries with fresh blueberries and used an orange-flavored liqueur instead of the blackberry flavored one. One tip - use fresh fruit. We tried it with thawed frozen blackberries and they just had too much liquid. We had to eat the tart from bowls with spoons. It tasted wonderful, but didn't look quite so nice.... (Oh, and because the pie crust recipe makes enough for two tarts, the second tart didn't take at all long to make.)
The recipe seems quite involved, but really you can make all of this in stages ahead of time and then just assemble shortly before serving. It's definitely worth making!!
P.S. I was thinking just now that if you made this tart with a store bought pie crust, it wouldn't be much work at all and still taste great!