Sunday, July 19, 2009

Blueberry Lemon Cream Tarts

It is definitely blueberries season now! One thing about picking them is that you can go on and on and forget on how much you have filled the box until you pay for it at the farm kiosks. But unlike strawberries or raspberries, eating blueberries is a fun thing as they are small and juicy and eating more only means you are doing good to your body with anti-oxidants overload.

Over the years, I have bought a number of cake tins and tart moulds. Sometimes due to impulsive buying and most of the time I am tempted by the shapes of these moulds and tins and love to imagine on how to create an eye catching pastry or dessert that I have in mind at that particular moment. Although I look plain, my mind is always full of colorful ideas when comes to baking!

I have come to like this new idea of baking tart cases, using straight sided pan instead of the norm of jagged edges. Presentation wise, it is definitely more neater and able to contain more fillings. Making wise, the dough has to be rolled a little thicker and bigger to cover the whole of the mould. To ensure a uniform shape, the dough needs to be drapped over the mould and slowly pat into the middle and sides of the mould before the excess is slowly cut off the rim. As with all baked goods, tart cases shrinks during baking and it may look hugely hollow before the baking and filling. After everything is done, the tarts never looked better!
As I am yet to get any mould rings, I resorted to using my mini cheesecake springform tins. Of all my baking tins collection, these 2 tins are my favorite as I use them everytime I want to experiment making cakes for they are the perfect size to nibble and doesn't take up space in the fridge as in a full sized round cake. Measuring 4 inches each, I used the same unsweetened pastry recipe as in the Bacon Basil tart instead of a pate sucre/sweet pastry. For the filling, the cream was first infused with grated lemon rind for 15 mins prior to cooking it with sugar, egg yolks and flour. I added 2 tbsp of fresh lemon juice after the custard has been cooked and removed from the stove. Cooking this pastry cream is not difficult, it is just that attention is required once the eggs and flour are added and constant stirring is required. Once the custard starts to coat the stirring spoon, it must be immediately removed from the heat to prevent curdling or else a new batch will have to be made again as there is no way a curdled and lumpy custard looks or tastes good on anything! The cream will thicken and firm up beautifully in the fridge after 1 hour.
I filled up one tartlet with the pastry cream and blueberries only while I did some fancy work on the other one. I whipped up some cream and added a bit of pureed blueberries with added sugar for the piped lilac part on the surface of the pastry cream. To create the dots/blooming effect, I simply used a small plastic bag, conveniently snipped with a small opening and piped the cream in a circular motion till it filled up the whole of the surface.

After everything was done, I only wished that I had made a sugar glaze instead of using the powdered sugar. Unlike strawberries and raspberries which are porous and absorbs the powdered sugar easily, blueberries are firm fruits and the powdered sugar kind of deter the natural hue of the fruit, hence non perfect contrast in terms of the colors! The lemony custard cream complements the blueberries nicely both in color and in taste.

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