The best part of getting new kitchen toys is finding ways to use them – and this has been the month of the New Mini Tart Pans.
I happened to see blueberries at the grocery store. I’m not sure they’re quite in season yet, but I bought a package anyway. And since the mini-tart pans were still sitting on my kitchen counter, I figured I’d make blueberry tarts.
So I went though that huge pile of bookmarked recipes that everyone has, and I found the recipes I needed for a nice, basic pastry cream tart.
The crust is from David Lebovitz. Unlike the turtle tart dough, which used cold butter, this recipe has you put the butter in the oven for 15 minutes. That gives it time to get that nutty brown butter flavor. I’m not sure exactly what the tablespoon of oil is for, but I suspect it’s there to keep the dough from getting too firm to eat when it’s chilled.
The pastry cream is from The Kitchen. The recipe as it’s written there isn’t very interesting – on my first attempt, I doubled the vanilla, and it still just didn’t pop for me. If I wanted a very strong vanilla flavor, I think I’d scrape a vanilla bean in with the milk. Plus, even with the smallest amount of flour, it was too thick and floury.
So, for version 2.0, I replaced half the flour with cornstarch, so it didn’t have to be cooked as long. And then I decided lemon would be better with the blueberries, so I put in 1/4 teaspoon of lemon oil instead of the vanilla – and that made it exactly right.
Overall, they were good – the crust was amazing, the pastry cream tasted like the bottom part of lemon meringue pie, and the blueberries kept the pastry cream from being too overwhelming.