Isn’t it great to find good things unexpectedly? Surfing the net I accidentally discovered that Camera Obscura is the band responsible for a song I adore. Nice surprise. Like the one I had the other day while buying fruit at a supermarket near the office: fresh blueberries. They’re not easy to find near my house so I decided to buy a couple of punnets (despite their not-very-friendly price). Some were devoured plain – Joao thought they tasted a lot like pitangas – and some were used in the panna cotta and in this tart. Please do not ask me to pick favorites. ;)
Summer blueberry tart
slightly adapted from the wonderful Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook
6 tablespoons (84g) unsalted butter, room temperature
½ cup (70g) confectioners’ sugar
2 large egg yolks
1 ½ cups (210g) all purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon heavy cream
1 cup (240ml) whole milk
¼ cup (50g) superfine sugar
½ vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds removed with the back of a knife
pinch of salt
2 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons corn starch
1 tablespoon (14g) unsalted butter, room temperature, chopped
250g fresh blueberries
Start by making the tart dough: in the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, combine butter and confectioners’ sugar. Mix on low speed until combined, about 2 minutes. Add the egg yolks and mix until incorporated, about 1 minute, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add ¾ cup (105g) flour, and mix on low speed just until the flour is incorporated, about 30 seconds. Add remaining ¾ cup (105g) flour along with the salt and cream and mix just until flour is no longer visible, about 1 minute.
Turn out the dough onto a piece of plastic wrap and shape into a flattened rectangular. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight. Dough can be frozen for up to 1 month; thaw overnight in the refrigerator before using.
Make the pastry cream: in a small saucepan, combine the milk, 2 tablespoons (24g) sugar, vanilla bean and seeds and salt. Cook over medium heat until mixture comes to a simmer.
In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, cornstarch and remaining sugar. Whisking constantly, slowly pour the hot milk mixture, gradually, into the egg yolks mixture. Continue adding the hot mixture and whisking. Pour it all back to the saucepan and cook over medium-high heat, whisking constantly, until it thickens and registers 71°C/160°F on a thermometer. Remove from the heat and pass mixture through a fine sieve into the bowl of an electric mixer. Add the butter to the cream and, using the mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, beat in medium speed until butter melts and cream cools, about 5 minutes.
Cover with plastic wrap pressing it directly onto the surface of the pastry cream to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until chilled, at least 2 hours or overnight. Just before using, beat on low speed until smooth (or by hand).
Bake the crust: roll out the pastry between two large pieces of lightly floured baking paper until you get a 40x15cm (16x6in) rectangle, about 6mm (¼ in) thick. Fit dough into a 35x10cm (14x4in) lightly buttered tart pan with a removable bottom, pressing into corners. Trim the excess pastry and prick the pastry all over with a fork. Freeze for 40 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F. Line the chilled tart shell with a buttered piece of foil and fill it with pie weights or dried beans. Bake until edges are golden, 15-17 minutes. Carefully remove weights/beans and foil and bake for 20 minutes longer or until crust is golden brown all over. Cool completely in the pan on a wire rack.
Assemble the tart: spread the pastry cream into the tart shell and freeze for 20 minutes (it will firm the filling a bit so the berries do not sink into it). Arrange the blueberries on top of the cream and serve (you might want to wait for the cream to become silkier before serving).