Sunday 16 November 2008

Recipe: Lattice-Topped Blueberry Tart

This was the recipe that inadvertently led to the discovery of '00' pastry - the benefits of which I've listed elsewhere in this blog: light as air; delicious; shrink-proof.....and additionally, it has a resilience which means it can be rolled very thinly (between two sheets of cling-film) without falling to pieces, and so has the virtues of being both economical (one eighteen ounce ball of pastry can be stretched to three, if not four, eight inch tart shells) as well as dietarily sound.

Anyway - enough tub-thumping...

This is excellent served either warm as a dessert, or cold the next morning with coffee. Either way, it won't last long, as one slice leads inevitably to another...

For one eight inch tart:


Pastry: 8 oz butter, frozen; 10 oz '00' flour; approx 1 tbs water. (This makes enough pastry for several tarts, but I've never bothered to try and pro-rata it down to make a smaller amount; either you can refrigerate unused pastry and use it over several days, or else freeze it for future use.)

Filling: 4 oz Cream Cheese; 2 tbs Sugar (or Splenda); 1 Egg; 1 tsp Vanilla Essence; 8 oz fresh Blueberries ; 2 tbs Blackcurrant Jam (seedless); juice of 1 Lemon. Optional: 1 tbs milk or beaten egg.


1. Make the pastry:
  • Using the grater disc on the food processor, grate the frozen butter into the processor bowl;
  • replace the grater disc with the standard cutter, then add the flour, and process for five seconds or so;
  • add the water through the feeder tube and continue to process for about twenty seconds until the pastry has 'resolved' itself into one homogenous ball. It shouldn't be at all sticky to the touch at this stage;
  • remove the pastry from the bowl and give it a 'fraisage' - place the ball of pastry on the work surface, and push it with the heel of your hand in five or six increments down onto the work surface and away from you 'in a firm, quick smear of about four inches' (I'm quoting the late great Julia here...incomparable on this kind of technical detail);
  • gather the pastry together into a ball, wrap in clingfilm and refrigerate to rest for half an hour or so;
  • roll out enough of the rested pastry as you need to line a greased 8" false-bottomed tart tin.
2. Blind bake the tart shell in an oven pre-heated to 190 degrees C. Bake approx ten minutes with weights in, and a further five or six after the weights have been removed. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly.

3. Beat together the Cheese, Egg, Sugar (or Splenda) and Vanilla Essence. Spread this over the base of the baked pastry shell. Distribute the Blueberries over the top of this mixture.

4. Heat the Jam and Lemon Juice together in a pan until the Jam has melted, then spoon this over the top of the berries.

5. Roll out enough pastry to make a lattice top for the tart - either by cutting it into strips and creating the lattice by hand, or - as I always do - by rolling a circle of pastry and using a circular lattice cutter (it saves a huge amount of time, and the result looks a great deal better...). Once in place on the tart, brush the lattice with either milk or a little beaten egg, to brown as it bakes.

6. Bake 45 minutes in a 190 degree C oven, and leave to cool down for ten minutes or so before serving.