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Blueberry Tartlets

January 13, 2011

I’m not necessarily one for cute food. I want something to taste good, and if it also looks good, it’s a pleasant surprise. However, it’s hard to resist these little suckers, not least because it seems like you are consuming less calories if you do it a little at a time.

Since coming to the UK, my sweet tooth has really asserted itself. I think it’s the weather: all of these gray clouds awaken some primal instinct to eat cake and cookies and pie, building up fat stores against the winter. The nice thing about these tarts is that they satisfy a sweet tooth, but are subtle enough that you can really taste the blueberries.

Anyway, whenever I make anything resembling Blueberry Pie, I get this song stuck in my head:

Browsing YouTube led me to this next song. Fats Domino, Louis Armstrong and Glenn Miller may have done better versions, but instead, ladies and gentlemen, I bring you the one, the only, Vladimir Putin:

That song led me to this epic piece of showmanship. (Stay tuned for the bicycle cam at 1:20.)

Why is he riding a bicycle? Why are the guitar-players joylessly skipping around the stage? There are just so many questions…

Sorry, I got off-track.

I originally made these Blueberry Tarts for Hobbit Day, but I wanted a sweeter crust, so this is a do-over. I started with flour, powdered sugar and salt. Based on the mess I made, you want to put an apron on first.

Add butter and vegetable shortening and crumble it into the flour with your fingers.

Add ice water until the dough comes together. Wrap it and refrigerate while you make the filling.

Mix together blueberries, brown sugar, cornstarch, salt, lemon juice and zest.

Form the dough into balls the size of walnuts and roll out to circles about 1/8 inch thick. Spoon some blueberries in the center of each.

Fold crust toward the center and pinch to seal. (No need to fuss; a little filling will run out regardless.) Brush each tartlet with milk.

Bake at 425°F for 10-15 minutes until golden brown. These are especially good when warm. Trust me, I had eaten two within 30 seconds of taking the picture.

Blueberry Tartlets

Makes 12-14 small tarts

For the Crust (These amounts also make one 9-inch pie crust)
1 Cup flour

Cup powdered sugar
½ teaspoon (scant) salt

8 teaspoons cold unsalted butter
8 teaspoons cold vegetable shortening
2-3 Tablespoons ice water

For the filling:
¾ Cup fresh blueberries, washed and picked over

2½ teaspoons cornstarch
3 Tablespoons brown sugar
½ teaspoon lemon juice
¼ teaspoon lemon zest
teaspoons salt

~3 Tablespoons milk for brushing

1. Preheat oven to 425°F/220°C
2. Whisk together flour, powdered sugar and a scant ½ tsp salt in a medium bowl.
3. Cut in butter and shortening until the lumps are the size of small peas.
4. Add water, a little at a time, until the dough just sticks together. Wrap in cling wrap and keep in the fridge while you prepare the filling.
5. In another bowl, combine blueberries, cornstarch, sugar, lemon juice, zest and ⅛ tsp salt.
6. Roll crust into balls about the size of a walnut. Roll into discs about ⅛-inch thick.
7. Place a spoonful of filling (about 6 berries) in the center of each disc. Fold crust toward the center and pinch to seal. Brush each tart with milk.
8. Remove to a lined baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes until lightly brown. Serve warm.

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