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

Ingredients:

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

Procedure:

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

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A Pretty Peach Tart

I came away from the Muscoot Farm Market yesterday with beautiful peaches and a pint of raspberries.  Hmmm. A tart came to mind.  This morning as I assembled my ingredients, I noticed that half the raspberries had disappeared.  I had  to work fast.  This is a variation of my “Peach of a Pie” post of  August 7  but easier.Peach Tart

Peaches

Tart dough

1 ½ cups flour

½ t salt

½ cup sugar


8 T butter cut into a small dice

4 T ice water



Filling

6 large ripe and fragrant peaches

¼ cup instant tapioca

½ cup sugar

pinch of salt

Juice from ½ lemon

2 T butter cut into 8 ½-inch cubes

Pulse flour, salt and sugar in a food processor. Add butter.  Pulse briefly.  There should still be bits of butter visible.  Add ice water around bowl and again, pulse briefly, just until dough holds together when pressed between your fingers.  Don’t let a ball form.

On work surface, press dough outward with the heel of your hand.  Pat into a round, wrap in plastic and chill for a half hour.

Roll out dough into a 12-inch round. Drape into a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Chill in refrigerator for 20 minutes.

While tart shell is chilling, cut a small cross in the stem end of each peach, dip peaches one or two at a time into a pot of simmering water for 1 ½ minutes.  Let cool.  Peel off skin.  Slice into half-inch wedges.  Add instant tapioca, sugar, salt and lemon juice. Mix.

Pour half of peach mixture into tart shell..  Arrange remainder of peach slices into an attractive pattern.  Dot with cubes of butter and fresh raspberries.  Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes.  Turn heat down to 350 and bake another half hour or until mixture bubbles up and crust is golden brown.

The white nectarine version

The white nectarine version, this one an upside-down tart

Wild Raspberry Tart

IMG_1253Every year at this time we watch our wild raspberries slowly mature from firm and yellowish to juicy, bright red . . .  and pickable.  And then  we make our raspberry tart with its rich crust and pastry cream filling.  Instead of the tart pan with removable bottom, I decided to use my new straight-sided sillicon pan.  The finished tart popped out easily.

Tart dough:

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

1 T sugar

¼ t salt

6 T unsalted butter, cut into 1T chunks

2 T Crisco

4 T ice water

Mix flour, sugar and salt in food processor.  Place butter and Crisco on tope. Pulse briefly.  Sprinkle 4 T ice water around contents of bowl.  Pulse just tutil mixture holds ogether between fingers.  Don’t let a ball form.  Empty bowl on work surface. Bring together and press with heel of hand against work surface to incorporate ingredients.  Form into a disk, wrap and chill for at least a half hour.

Roll pastry into a 12 inch circle.  Unroll into a 9-inch tart pan or silicone straight-sided pan, press against sides and make sure dough is thick enough not to collapse.  Sides will shrink a little during baking. Trim excess.  Chill fifteen minutes.  Fit a piece of foil and pie weights into shell and bake in a 400 degree oven for ten minutes. Remove weights and foil and continue to bake until nicely browned (about 8 minutes).  Cool on wire rack.

Pastry Cream:

½ cup milk

4 t flour

2T sugar

Pinch salt

2 t powdered gelatin

1 egg

½ cup heavy cream, whipped

Heat milk in a small saucepan. Place flour, sugar, salt and gelatin in a heavy saucepan and stir together.  Mix in the egg with a wooden spoon un a smooth paste is formed.  Slowly whisk in the hot milk.  Place the saucepan over medium heat, whisking until mixture becomes a thick custard. To aid cooling, place mixture in a small bowl and allow to cool to room temperature.  Fold in the whipped cream.. Spread custard over pre-baked pastry shell.

1 ½ pints wild raspberries

2 oz. red currant jelly

Top with raspberries arranged in a circular pattern starting along the outside.  Melt red currant jelly and brush lightly over berries.  Thin with a dash of water (or Chambord) if necessary.

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