Star Spangled Fourth of July Berry Tarts

Looking for a stunning dessert to top off your Fourth of July cookout? What could be more patriotic than these starry mini berry tarts?  Raspberries and blueberries bursting under flaky pastry and adorned with freshly whipped cream assure a grand finale to your celebration.

Equipment needed: six 5-inch tart pans with removable bottoms

6-inch round cookie cutter

1 ½-inch star-shaped cookie cutter

Fluted pastry wheel


Tart dough  (Make two recipes; don’t double recipe):

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2  t salt

1 T sugar

8 oz. (one stick) unsalted butter, cut in 1 T pieces

4 oz. vegetable shortening, in 1 T pieces

1 yolk from an extra large egg

4 T ice water (approx.)

Raspberry filling

Mix together:

1 pint fresh raspberries

¼ cup sugar

2 T Chambord (raspberry liqueur) optional

2 t freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 T cornstarch

Blueberry filling

Mix together:

1 pint fresh blueberries

¼ cup sugar

2 t freshly squeezed lemon juice

½ t ground cinnamon

1/8 t freshly ground nutmeg

2 T cornstarch

2 T butter

Milk for brushing tarts

Raw sugar for sprinkling tarts

Whipped cream


Place flour in the workbowl of a food processor with metal blade. Add salt and sugar and pulse to mix.  Add butter and vegetable shortening.  Mix using a few quick pulses.  You should still see bits of better and shortening.  Add egg yolk. Pulse again for one second.  Add 3 T ice water around top of dough. Pulse briefly.  Continue to add just enough water to allow dough to hold together when pressed between fingers.  This is the crucial step.  If the dough is too dry it will crumble when you try to roll it out.  If you add too much water, the baked crust will not be light and flaky.  You should still see tiny bits of butter.  Don’t let a ball form.

Dump dough onto a sheet of plastic wrap, form into a disk and refrigerate for an hour or more.

Roll out pastry dough, one disk at a time, to 1/8 inch thickness. Cut out six circles.  Press into tart pans and, using your thumb, press up against inside rims.  Place in refrigerator while proceeding.  Cut out the number of stars you want for decoration with the star-shaped cookie cutter.  These are baked separately from tarts. Brush with milk and sprinkle with raw sugar.  Place on a cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees until golden brown, about 10 minutes.  Set aside to cool.

Cut a few ½-inch strips of pastry dough with a fluted pastry wheel to use for decoration.

Take tart shells out of refrigerator and fill with berry fillings.  You can fill a shell with one filling  or two fillings side by side.  Dot with bits of butter.  Decorate half of tarts with pastry strips arranged in a parallel fashion.. Brush strips with milk and sprinkle with sugar.  Set tart tins on an aluminum foil-covered cookie sheet and place in a 375 degree oven for about 45 minutes until crusts are lightly browned and berry filling is bubbling. Arrange the baked star cutouts decoratively on tarts. Remove tins. Top with a dollop of freshly whipped cream.

Adapted from Martha Stewart Living, July 2010

Photos by Sweetpaprika


Blueberry Buckle

You may have tried blueberry muffins, crisps, cobblers, grunts (yes, grunts), pies and tarts, but how about a buckle?  A buckle not only shows off blueberries at their best but just about any mix of fresh berries. Cakelike under a firm and crispy crust, buckles make great breakfast treats.  Serve a buckle with whipped cream for dessert or as a tasty snack just about any time.

Blueberry Buckle

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 9X13-inch baking pan



1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

1 t baking powder

½ t salt

½ cup (1 stick) butter at room temperature

½ cup granulated sugar

½ cup light brown sugar

2 eggs

½ cup milk

1 ½ t vanilla extract

2 cups fresh blueberries


½ cup all-purpose flour

½ cup light brown sugar

½ cup quick rolled oats

½ t ground cinnamon

Pinch of salt

4 T butter, cut into small cubes

½ chopped walnuts or pecans


For cake:  Sift the dry ingredients together and set aside. Cream the butter and sugar mixture in a mixer.  Add the eggs one at a time.  Add the dry ingredients alternating with the milk and vanilla. Fold in the blueberries and pour the batter in to the baking pan.

For the topping: Combine all the ingredients with a pastry blender or fork until the butter forms pea-size lumps.  Sprinkle over top of cake.  Bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool.  Run a knife around edge. Cut and serve.  Whipped cream makes a lovely addition.

Photo by Michael Kirigin


Blueberry Lattice Pie

Blueberry Pie, Food & Wine Section Dating Symbol blogNeed a luscious Easter dessert?  Something both sweet and tart with a light buttery undertone?  Think blueberries.  Available year round and often sporting a more than reasonable price.  And if that weren’t enough, blueberries have been found to be a “superfood”, so good for you that you should go out of you way to eat them.

And what could possibly be better than eating them out of hand?  How about a mouth-watering blueberry pie?  You may be picturing a pie with the juices running amuck or worse, a gluey texture.  Not to worry.   I think you’ll find this recipe to have the perfect texture with a combination of jammy and whole berries.  Enjoy!


2 ½ cups all-purpose flour

1 t salt

2 T sugar

12 oz. unsalted cold butter cut into 1 T slices

4 T Crisco

¼ to ½ cup ice water

Pulse flour, salt and sugar in food processor until mixed.  Scatter butter over flour mixture and pulse briefly. Add Crisco and pulse again.  You should still see tiny bits of butter.  Pour ¼ cup ice water around bowl of processor. Pulse until dough holds together between thumb and forefinger.  Add more gradually, one tablespoon at a time, if necessary.    This is a key step. Dough should not look dry nor should it look wet.   Don’t let ball form.  Place dough on work surface, pat together and press outward with heel of hand to incorporate butter into flour.   Gather into a ball and divide in half.  Form into disks.  Wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about an hour.

Line a large cookie sheet with aluminum foil to catch any filling that may bubble over.  Heat in a 400 degree oven while you’re making the filling.


4 pints fresh blueberries

1 cup sugar

1 t lemon zest

1 t fresh lemon juice

½ t ground cinnamon

¼ t freshly ground nutmeg

4 T tapioca flour (or cornstarch)

2 T unsalted butter cut into small cubes

Egg wash made with one egg beaten with a pinch of salt

1 t coarse sugar for finishing top of pie (optional)


Rinse and pick over blueberries.  Set aside 2 cups. Place remainder in a non-reactive saucepan along with sugar.  Cook over medium heat until the sugar melts and mixture is bubbling.  Stir and don’t allow mixture to stick to bottom of pan.  Add lemon zest, lemon juice, ground cinnamon, nutmeg and tapioca flour.  Continue stirring until mixture has thickened and is lightly bubbling.  Set aside to cool.

Roll out one disk of dough to fit into deep dish pie pan.  Trim overhang and place in freezer while you roll out the second disk of dough for the top.  Using a pastry cutter, cut strips of dough 1 inch wide.  Fold the 2 cups of whole berries and butter into blueberry mixture and fill bottom crust mounding in center.

Lightly moisten top edge of bottom crust with water.  Arrange strips of dough across top spacing about ¾ of an inch apart.  Then add strips at an angle across the first set.  Press onto bottom crust and trim overhang.  Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar.  Place in oven on preheated baking sheet.  Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes and then lower to 350 for 25 to 35 more or until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbling.

Cool on a rack.  Serve with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.  Serves 8.

Photographer Bill Brady

Food Stylist Brian Preston Campbell

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