Friday, November 4, 2011

Blueberry Almond Frangipane Tartlets

Trying to rejuvenate my interest in baking. Although lagging in inspiration and ideas, I run my baking pantry weekly to look at everything. With X'mas coming, it is time to plan for my cookie boxes again and hopefully I will come up with something better this year, more colorful and wonderful! And hopefully no more unexpected NorEaster like the one that hampered the kids Halloween celebration last week.

Earlier this year, I read somewhere that the new trend is to eat mini pies and tarts. Being a big fan of buttery and flaky tarts, I love this idea. Perhaps more work involved than a cupcake, I find that tarts and pies are really worth the effort as they can be both sweet and savory, flaky, crumbly, served cold or warm, relished with a group of friends or gobbled up in a sinful slice manner on the couch! But of course, the only downside is that it makes me lose consciousness of the calories count and which I can eat only a little at a time but hey, I have 3 other mouths to feed in this household, so hail to lovely tarts & pies.

These tartlets have a flaky crust containing a dense packed filling made up of grounded unblanched almond with eggs, butter, milk and sugar. I was hoping the frozen blueberries to be sweet and added less sugar in the almond batter and ended up less sweet than I wanted to. Nevertheless, sprinkling powdered sugar on the tartlets can always add more sweetness to them and I am glad the result of this baking was good. After not baking for sometime now, I start to doubt my skills, partly because I am not a trained baker and can never memorize and redo my own recipe twice without referring back to my blog! Sometimes I get it right and sometimes I get it wrong but if I pick it up again on a constant mode, things do get better, hopefully! Especially now, ushering into the baking seasons.

Frangipane filling
250g Almond Flour (grind 1 & 1/2 cups of Unblanched almond)
100g sugar
1 tbsp plus 1/2 tbsp Cornstarch
1 large Egg
50g Butter, Room Temperature
120ml Milk
250g blueberries

1. Stir the almond Flour together with the sugar and cornstarch.
2. Crack the egg and beat lightly and add into the Almond flour mixture. Stir to combine.
3. Beat in the soft butter to mix.
4. Lastly mix in the milk to get a thick creamy mixture, resembling creamy peanut butter.
5. Set aside in the fridge till time for use.

Tart Shell
300g All purpose Flour
180g Cold butter, cut into small pieces
1 large Egg
1 tbsp Sugar

1. Pulse the flour, sugar and cold butter pieces in a food processor for about 30 seconds. Do not overmix, just enough when coarse meal results.
2. Break in the egg and mix for another 10 seconds till the mixture comes together to form a dough.
3. Remove and gather all loose pieces into the dough and place inside a plastic baggie and let the dough rest in the fridge for 30 mins.
4. Grease an 9 inch tart pan/ring or 10 of 2 inch tartlet rings. Place on a larger firm baking pan.
5. Remove dough after 30 mins and take half of it and roll out. If using smaller tartlet rings, cut dough to fit the rings. If using large 9 inch tart ring, roll out the whole of the dough and line the tart ring/pan. Rest the lined rings in the fridge again for another 10 mins.
6. Preheat oven to 375F/190C. Bake the lined tart rings for 10 mins.
7. Remove from the oven. Increase the heat up to 400F/200C. Scatter the 2/3 of the blueberries into the partially baked tart shells Spoon in the almond filling and smooth out with a spatula. Insert the remaining 1/3 of the blueberries onto the almond filling.
8. Return the tarts into the oven and bake for 25 mins.
9. Cool on rack when done and serve warm with powdered sugar.

Makes: an 9 inch tart or ten of 2 inch tartlets