Sometimes, the best things happen when you dig around in your freezer (we won’t talk about finding that frozen glacier-sized hunk of unknown matter that has been lurking in the back of that icy hell for Lord only knows how long); I’m talking about the sweet lovely finds. For instance, yesterday: I was looking in the freezer and saw a bag of beautiful blueberries I picked last summer. I decided to use them. This is how I used them. I about fainted from joy. And I ate nearly that entire piece you see pictured there. Then, I required a nap.
My sister called me the other day and told me she had a bunch of stuff from her freezer that she wanted to donate to one of my freezers. “Oh, great,” I thought, “now I have to make some room in them.” Don’t get me wrong, I’m thrilled to be getting the bounty she wants to hand off, it’s just that…well…you know…cleaning out freezers is a thankless, scary, task. And it’s an enlightening one too. Seriously, who put a package of tater tots back in the freezer with only six (I may be exaggerating here) tots left? What good are six tots? Oh, and the answer to the above queries?
- Well, that would be me.
- They are good for nothing but collecting icy frost.
Anyway, back to the blueberries. And fainting from joy! I decided that, only because I didn’t want them to get freezer burn and ruin you understand, *wink* I would just have to make something with them. You feel sorry for me about now. Don’t you? Well, don’t. It would be a complete waste of sympathy. You see…I made this tart. And holy moly, was it ever good!
I’m not a huge fan of sweets, I’ll admit, but I just adore the combination of tart and slightly sweet. Even Mr. Saucy liked this tart (pun intended).
I know I say this a lot, but this really is a simple recipe. The only specialized equipment you need is either a spring form pan, or a tart pan with a removable bottom, and you don’t HAVE to have either. You could make it in a cake pan, but it would be harder to remove to a platter. If you’re not concerned with pretty-ing it up, and you don’t have either of the pans mentioned above, go for it. Even if the pieces don’t come out just perfect and beautiful…it’ll taste the same.
And you needn’t have picked your own berries, you can buy some in the grocery. I use store-bought frozen berries a lot; I don’t think they suffer at all from packaging. Also, you could use any berry you like. I fully intend to make this again using blackberries (for which I have an abiding love).
The tangy lemon custard that is poured over the berries is utterly delicious. It’s just the right balance of tart and sweet. The buttery, almond shortbread crust is nothing short of heaven. In short (bread – *snort*), make this tart. Do. Really.
- FOR THE CRUST:
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup slivered almonds
- 1 stick plus 6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces (total 14 tablespoons)
- 3 cups blueberries (or whatever berry you choose)
- FOR THE CUSTARD:
- 3 large eggs
- ¾ cups sugar
- Zest and juice of 2 lemons (about ¼ cup juice)
- ¼ cup flour
- FOR THE CRUST:
- In a food processor, place the flour, sugar, and slivered almonds and pulse until the almonds are ground fine.
- Add the butter pieces a couple at a time, and pulse until the mixture is crumbly.
- Pour the mixture out into a ungreased 9" tart pan with a removable bottom (or a spring form or cake pan) and press down evenly to form a crust.
- In a preheated 400 degree F oven, bake the shortbread crust until lightly golden brown, about 20 minutes.
- Remove the crust from the oven and lower the oven temperature to 325 degrees F.
- FOR THE BERRIES:
- If using frozen berries, thaw completely, and dry carefully with a paper towel. If using fresh berries, wash the berries, and dry carefully with a paper towel.
- Scatter the drained berries evenly over the baked shortbread.
- FOR THE CUSTARD:
- Beat the eggs with the sugar until thick and pale yellow.
- Whisk in the lemon zest, the lemon juice and the remaining ¼ cup of flour.
- Pour the lemon mixture over the berries.
- Making sure your oven temperature has lowered to 325 degrees F, bake the tart until the custard is set, about 30 minutes.
- Let cool, then dust with confectioner's sugar.