Before our annual circuit around the sun forces us to kiss off the blueberry season, I urge one and all to try this blueberry tart. Super-tasty and much simpler to make than the standard recipe, it features the usual buttery bottom crust, loaded with gobs of fresh berries and topped off with a crispy sweet streusel crumble.
If you happen to be one of those folks who’s daunted by the mechanics of pie-making – all that rolling out and crimping! – then this may be the tart of your dreams. The tin used here boasts a fluted edge, which means there’s no fancy crimp work required of y-o-u.
Even better, the top crust (the crumbly part of the pie) is made by combining some reserved pastry dough with sugar and nuts. In other words, the recipe’s one dough does double duty as the pie’s top and bottom layers.
Naturally, you’ll want to be sure to start with flavorful blueberries. Usually, that’s a given during blueberry season, but just to be safe, ask someone at the market if you might taste a berry or two before making your purchase. Bottom line: These berries have to speak up for themselves because there’s no “blueberry helper” in this recipe – no sugar or lemon juice added to goose up the flavor of an otherwise bland berry.
Regarding the nuts, I’m prescribing almonds, but if you’re nutty for a different kind of nut, swap it in. Finally, you might wonder if there isn’t too much doggone streusel in the recipe when you first pile it on top of the berries. Not to worry – just pat it down gently and you’ll see that it fits.
One last note: You may wonder why this tart takes so long to make. It’s because the dough needs resting time, both after mixing it and again after it has been rolled out so that the gluten has time to relax, ensuring a tender tart crust. So plan to make the dough in the morning or even the day before and then the tart will only take 1 hour 20 minutes to make, bake and cool.
Sara Moulton is host of public television’s “Sara’s Weeknight Meals.” She was executive chef at Gourmet magazine for nearly 25 years and spent a decade hosting several Food Network shows including “Cooking Live.” Her latest cookbook is “HomeCooking 101.”
Blueberry Streusel Tart
Start to finish: 5 hours (35 minutes active)
Ingredients:300 grams all-purpose flour (about 2½ cups)¼ teaspoon table salt2 sticks plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small cubes and chilled well¾ cup (3 ounces) slivered almonds¾ cup sugar5 cups blueberriesVanilla ice cream for garnishMethod:
In a large bowl, stir together the flour and the salt, add the butter and, working quickly with your fingertips or a pastry blender, mix the dough until most of the mixture resembles coarse meal, with the rest in small (roughly pea-sized) lumps. Transfer 2 cups of the mixture to a medium bowl (reserving the rest for the streusel topping), drizzle 4 tablespoons ice water evenly over the 2 cups and gently stir with a fork until incorporated. Gently squeeze a small handful: it should hold together without crumbling apart. If it doesn’t, add more ice water, 1/2 tablespoon at a time, stirring 2 or 3 times after each addition until it comes together.
Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface and with the heel of your hand, smear the dough in a forward motion on the work surface to help distribute fat. Gather the smeared dough together and repeat the process. Form the dough into a disk. Chill, wrapped in plastic wrap, until firm, at least 1 hour. Meanwhile, add the almonds and the sugar to the reserved flour-butter mixture and mix well to make the streusel topping. Chill.
Remove the disk of dough from the refrigerator for about 30 minutes before rolling it out.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough 1/8-inch thick. Transfer the dough to a 10-inch tart pan with a removable bottom, ease the dough into the pan, pressing it into the corners and trim off any excess dough hanging over the top. Prick the dough all over with a fork and chill it for 1 hour. Remove the streusel topping from the refrigerator.
Put a large rimmed baking sheet on a rack on the lower third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 375 F.
Fill the rolled-out tart shell with the berries and top the berries with the streusel mixture, pressing the mixture down gently. Bake the tart on the sheet pan for 30 minutes. Cover the tart loosely with foil and continue baking until the filling is bubbling, about 30 minutes. Cool in the pan on a rack for 20 minutes. Remove the side of the pan and let cool completely about 45 minutes. Serve each portion topped with ice cream.
Nutrition information per serving: 376 calories; 219 calories from fat; 25 g fat (13 g saturated; 1 g trans fats); 53 mg cholesterol; 62 mg sodium; 35 g carbohydrates; 4 g fiber; 8 g sugar; 6 g protein.