Thursday, July 8, 2010

Cherry Blueberry Tart - And How To Salavage A Bad Day

I made this tart with the 4th of July in mind- red cherries, blueberries, and pastry cream seemed like a pretty patriotic combination (though I will admit, the egg yolks, vanilla and liqueur in the pastry cream turned it a bit yellowy/tan rather than white) and since I have been trying to make desserts inspired by holidays this year (my green st. patty's day cake was a hit) I decided to make this to continue the theme.

As it happens, the day I made this was shaping up to be JUST NOT A VERY GOOD DAY. Things were not going my way, and I felt angry and hurt by a series of events that morning. I was hesitant to start a project while feeling that way, worried that I would not be able to concentrate and put my best effort in. After some convincing from my favorite (and only) sister, I ended up discovering that making this tart was in fact just what my day needed. I turned on London Calling (which makes for great "I'm angry and I'm gonna bake things!" music), threw on my apron, and sang along while I worked. And I may have danced a bit. I am sure I looked like a fool, but by the time the tart was done, not only did I have a delicious dessert to show for it, my bad mood had been magically repaired. And I knew how to make pastry cream.

The components of this recipe were gathered from a few different sources, the pastry cream is from this recipe at as is the apricot glaze. The crust was a basic graham crust from The New Best Recipe which I added a bit of cinnamon and nutmeg to for interest.

Basic Graham Crust
Adapted from The New Best Recipe by the publishers of Cook's Illustrated
9 graham crackers (1 package)
5 tablespoons of butter
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

  1. Preheat the oven to 315F
  2. Melt the butter in and set in a medium sized mixing bowl
  3. Break the graham crackers into pieces and place in a food processor. Process until it is the consistency of cornmeal and no large pieces remain.
  4. Add the sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg and pulse to combine.
  5. Pour the mixture into the bowl with the butter, combine until all pieces are evenly coated with butter.
  6. pour into a greased tart pan, and press into the bottom of the pan and around the sides using the bottom of a cup measure or small bowl.
  7. Place on the middle shelf in the oven and cook for 15-18 minutes.
  8. Let cool.

Pastry cream

1 1/4 cups milk (I used heavy cream as I had it on hand)
1/2 vanilla  bean, split lengthwise- (or substitute 1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract if needed, it's what I did...)
3 large egg yolks
1/4 cup granulated white sugar
1/8 cup  all-purpose flour (I ended up using whole wheat flour, again, what I had on hand!)
2 tablespoons cornstarch
3/4 tablespoons liqueur (I used Grand Marnier) 

Directions:  (I cut and pasted these from the original source, as it is rather complicated and I didn't want any of the steps to get lost in translation, though I did cut out a few side notes they had included and reformatted it as I found the previous format a bit confusing to the eye, but feel free to check the link above to view the original if what I have done here is confusing.)  
  1.  In a medium-sized stainless steel bowl, mix the sugar and egg yolks together with a spoon. (Never let the mixture sit too long or you will get pieces of egg forming.) Sift the flour and cornstarch together and then add to the egg mixture, mixing until you get a smooth paste.  Set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, in a saucepan combine the milk and split vanilla bean on medium heat until boiling. (The milk will foam up to the top of pan when done, so watch carefully.)
  3. Remove from heat and add slowly to egg mixture, whisking constantly to prevent curdling. (If you get a few pieces of egg (curdling) in the mixture, pour through a strainer.) 
  4. Remove vanilla bean, scrape out seeds, and add the seeds to the egg mixture.  
  5. Place the egg mixture back into a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat until boiling, whisking constantly. When it boils, whisk mixture constantly for another 30 - 60 seconds until it becomes very thick and it is hard to stir.   
  6. Remove from heat and immediately whisk in the liqueur. Pour into a clean bowl and immediately cover the surface with plastic wrap to prevent a crust from forming. Cool. If not using right away refrigerate until needed, up to 3 days. Beat before using to get rid of any lumps that may have formed.
Apricot Glaze
Adapted from

1/4 cup apricot Jam
1/2 Tablespoon Grand Mariner
1/4 Tablespoon water 

  1. Heat the apricot jam and water in a small sauce pan over medium heat until liquid
  2. Remove from heat and add the liqueur, stir
  3. If needed, strain to remove any lumps
  4. allow to cool.
Then, to bring it all together:

 The last step of course, was to cut the fruit (I left the blueberries whole, but cut the cherries in half and removed the pits) and then assemble:

Into the cooled crust: smooth the pastry cream into an even coat at the bottom, layer the fruit on top of it in concentric circles, then paint on the glaze over the fruit with a pastry brush. Refrigerate. Happy Belated 4th of July!

1 comment:

  1. I am both honored to have been identified as your favorite sister, and jealous of this delicious looking tart! If only I could taste it through the interwebs...