Custard Berry Tarts

It’s safe to say I got a little obsessed with the #baketogether this month. I’ve been on a bit of a pie-making kick lately anyway, and this fed right into my addiction. I can quit anytime, though. Really. Just watch. Next week I’ll do brownies, or mousse, or maybe pancakes. Definitely. Because I can stop. I can quit making piecrust anytime.

In the meantime, however, I am going to share another tartlet with you. My inspiration for this one was the custard tart, seen in bakeries across the U.K. and not nearly often enough in North America. Custard tarts are another addiction of mine. I could eat them every day forever.

Traditional custard tarts have a thick, toothsome crust, so I rolled my pie dough a  little thicker than usual for these. I also added berries: 2 raspberries and a few blueberries per tart. I love the flavor balance they bring: the mellow sweetness of the blueberries and the bright acidity of the raspberries merge beautifully with the creamy, eggy custard.

Give them a try and see for yourself.

Custard Berry Tarts

  • Pie dough (amount for a single crust pie, 1/2 the recipe in Oh Boy, Strawberry Pie)
  • 1 large egg, plus enough heavy cream to make 1/2 cup
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 T. sugar
  • about 1/2 cup each of raspberries and blueberries, fresh or frozen

Preheat oven to 400.

Divide the pie dough into 6 equal pieces. Roll each piece out and fit it inside a muffin cup. Prick the bottom of each crust with a fork. Fill cups with pie weights. Bake the crusts for 12 minutes. Remove from oven and remove weights.

Reduce oven temperature to 325.

Place 1 or 2 raspberries and 3 or 4 blueberries in each tart shell.

Whisk the eggs until well blended. Whisk in the heavy cream, vanilla, and sugar.

Pour the custard mixture over the berries, filling each tart shell as close to the top as you can get without it spilling over.

Bake until the custards are just set. if you use frozen berries, like I did, this will take 30 to 35 minutes. If you use fresh berries it will be faster.

Remove tartlets from pan while still warm, but cool completely before serving.

Try to eat just one. Go ahead. Try.

Savory Spring Vegetable Tartlets

This month’s #baketogether recipe is Very Berry Mini Pies. For those not familiar with the #baketogether phenomenon, there is a new recipe posted each month that anyone and everyone is invited to adapt to suit their own tastes. Normally I live for the chance to make desserts, but this month I decided to pinch hit and do an appetizer, mostly because of the challenge of turning a mini streusel-topped berry pie into something savory.

I stuck with the idea of using seasonal ingredients in the filling, but chose seasonal vegetables instead of berries. In my case that meant asparagus, and some lovely, meaty oyster mushrooms which I suppose aren’t actually a Spring crop, but which were grown and harvested by a small-scale mushroom farmer I ran into on Thursday who was out here visiting from B.C. I was so enthusiastic about them he gave me a handful, most likely to stop me from continuing to embarrass myself. I can get that way about food.

I cut the mushrooms and asparagus into thin little pieces, and chopped up a few garden chives to go along with them.

I prebaked the tart shells, to make sure they browned and crisped properly, and I also sauteed the veggies to brown them a bit and lower their moisture content before putting them in the crusts.

Then (and I admit this is my favorite part), I made a savory cheese streusel. I have never heard of such a thing before, and wasn’t completely sure it would work, but that’s never stopped me before.

I’m pretty pleased with how they turned out.

Savory Spring Vegetable Tartlets

Pie dough (amount for a single crust pie, 1/2 of recipe in Oh Boy, Strawberry Pie)

For Filling:

  • 3/4 lb. green asparagus, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped fresh oyster mushrooms
  • 1 T. chopped chives
  • 3 T. olive oil
  • salt, to taste

Saute the mushrooms in the oil until lightly browned. Remove them from the pan. Saute the asparagus until just tender. Mix the vegetables together. Add the chives, and salt to taste.

For Savory Streusel Topping:

  • 3 T. butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 c. flour
  • 1/2 c. shredded emmental or gruyere (I used emmental because it was what I had on hand, but gruyere would be lovely too) + an additional 1/4 c,  reserved for assembly.
  • 1/4 tsp herbes de provence
  • large pinch of salt

Blend flour with the salt and herbs. Blend in the butter, mixing until it comes together in large clumps. Add the cheese and mix a bit more to incorporate it into the streusel clumps.

To Assemble the Tarts:

Preheat the oven to 400.

Divide the dough into 10 equal balls. Roll each ball out into a flat disc and line the inside of a muffin cup with it. Prick the mini crusts with a fork, fill with pie weights, and bake for 12 minutes.

Remove the weights from the crusts and fill with the vegetable mixture. Top with the savory streusel. Sprinkle the reserved 1/4 cup of cheese over the streusel topping.

Bake tartlets for about 25 minutes, or until the topping is set and the cheese is golden brown.

Serve warm.