These tarts are very nostalgic for me. I made them to remind me of the Blueberry Cream Pie we would sometimes pick up at Brieremere farms in Riverhead when I was a kid. It was extra special because they would only sell it at the height of blueberry season, so we could only get it if we were there at exactly the right time (because I am out of touch with the earth, I checked Google and apparently it’s blueberry season in New York RIGHT NOW so this is very appropriate). The pairing of fresh blueberries with cream cheese whipped cream, instead of the more traditional pastry cream, feels much more laid back and summery.
I decided to make tartlets instead of a regular size tart shell because it’s so much easier to control how much you make. The deeply frustrating problem with a lot of baking is that you have to keep throwing out delicious halves of tarts and cakes because you cannot possibly eat them all. This recipe is for 6 tartlets, but it can easily be halved or divided into thirds to make 3 or 2 tarts depending on how many you’re serving. Just make a complete portion of the dough but divide it up into the amount you want to make right before the refrigerate step: you can keep the unused dough in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or the freezer for a month if you want to make the rest of the tarts another day.
YIELD: 6 4″ diameter tartlets (I used these tins)
Tart Shell (Pâte Sucrée), from Cook’s Illustrated
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 tablespoon heavy cream
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 ¼ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- ⅔ cup confectioners’ sugar
- ¼ teaspoon table salt
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick, very cold), cut into twenty-four 3/4-inch cubes
- 1 tablespoon unbleached all-purpose flour for dusting
- Whisk together yolk, cream, and vanilla in small bowl; set aside. Pulse to combine 1 1/4 cups flour, sugar, and salt in bowl of food processor fitted with steel blade. Scatter butter pieces over flour mixture; pulse to cut butter into flour until mixture resembles coarse meal, about fifteen 1-second pulses. With machine running, add egg mixture and process until dough just comes together, about 25 seconds. Turn dough onto sheet of plastic wrap and press into 6-inch disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least 2 hours.
- Unwrap dough; Use pastry scraper to divide into 6 pieces. Lightly flour large sheet of parchment paper or plastic wrap and place 1 piece dough in center. Roll out dough to 1/8” thick and line tart pan. Repeat with each mini tart pan. Freeze dough 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, adjust one oven rack to upper-middle position and other rack to lower-middle position; heat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Place chilled tart shells on cookie sheet; press 5-inch square of foil inside each tart shell and fill with metal or ceramic pie weights. Bake on lower rack 12 minutes, rotating halfway through baking time. Carefully remove foil and weights by gathering edges of foil and pulling up and out. Transfer cookie sheet with tart shell to upper rack and continue to bake until shell is golden brown, about 5 minutes longer.
- Let cool for 10 minutes, then unmold tart shells and leave on cooling rack to reach room temperature.
- 10 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
- 1 2/3 cups heavy whipping cream, chilled
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- Using an electric mixer or by hand, mix together the cream cheese and sugar until smooth.
- Using the whisk attachment, whip the cream and vanilla into stiff peaks (do not over-mix!).
- Working in batches, begin folding a small portion of the whipped cream to the cream cheese mixture to lighten it up.
- Add the cream cheese mixture back to the rest of the whipped cream. Fold until combined.
- 10 oz blueberries
- 6 cooled tartlet shells
- Cream filling
- Scoop enough filling into each cooled tart shell to create a slightly domed top.
- Top with blueberries, lightly pressing into filling to keep in place. Serve immediately, or refrigerate until serving.