This weekend, Yvonne and her family celebrated two very special occassions, her father Ildefonso's birthday and his retirement. The Curiel's have always been known for throwing great parties and this one was no exception. There was a feast of traditional Mexican dishes: Carnitas, Costillas, her Mom's famous Rice and Beans, Tortillas as well as some American dishes: Earl's famous Pineapple Chicken, Macaroni Salad and Potato Salad. Guests were treated to refreshing Margaritas and shots of special Tequila from her Dad's home town of Laja Jalisco Mexico. The chilly San Diego night heated up when the Mariachi's arrived to serenade the guest of honor.
To compliment the amazing food and the two huge cakes, I was honored to be asked to make some of the desserts:
Blueberry Tarts with Shortbread Crust
Bite Size Raspberry Swirl Cheesecakes
Mini Chocolate Ganache Cheesecakes
Apple Pie Pie Pops
and for the kids Chocolate Chip Cookies and
Peanut Butter Cup Cookies
The cookies were a big hit with the kids. Some of their
comments were "mmm, yummy cookies"
and "this cookie is delicious!"
Today I'm sharing with you one of the recipes which actually happens to be Yvonne's favorite, Fresh Blueberry Tart with Shortbread Crust. The crust is crisp, rich and buttery just like a good shortbread should be and the fresh blueberry filling is elevated by the addition of fresh lemon juice and lemon zest. I hope you'll make it for your next "Fiesta" or just as as special treat for yourself and your loved ones!
A special thanks to Yvonne, her family and especially Mr. Curiel for allowing me to be a part of such a special occasion. Wishing you a happy retirement and many happy years to come.
Blueberry Tarts with Shortbread Crust
Makes one 9" tart or nine 3" tarts
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
8-10 tablespoons cold unsalted butter cut into cubes
6 cups of fresh blueberries, rinsed and dried
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons lemon zest
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2/3 cup granulated sugar
Pinch of salt
To make the crust:
In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar and salt. Scatter 8 tablespoons of the cold cubed butter over the top of the flour mixture. Using a pastry cutter, cut the butter into the flour until small pieces remain. The dough should hold together when squeezed. If your dough is too crumbly and doesn't hold together when squeezed, add 1 tablespoon more of the cubed butter and cut in again. Test again to make sure dough holds together when squeezed.
Transfer dough to a 9" tart pan with removable bottom (or into the 3" tart pans with removable bottom if using). Press evenly onto the bottom and up the sides of the tart pan. Freeze until firm, approx 20 minutes. Remove from freezer, place on a baking sheet and prick the bottom of the tart dough all over with a fork (this will help prevent the bottom from puffing up when baking). Bake at 375 for 20-25 minutes or just until golden brown. Remove from oven and cool completely. Note: If you are using a dark tart pan or mini tart pans, your baking time will be less because of the dark coating on your pan (darker pans bake faster). Check for doneness earlier during the baking process and then check frequently as soon as the tart shell starts to brown so you don't burn your tart shell.
Once your tart shells have cooled completely, make your filling.
Reserve 1 cup of blueberries for topping the tart.
In a small bowl, combine 2 tablespoons of cornstarch and 2 tablespoons of water. Mix well. Set aside.
In another small bowl, combine the lemon zest, lemon juice and sugar. Set aside.
In a medium saucepan, place 1/4 cup of water and 1 1/2 cups of the blueberries and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer for 3-4 minutes stirring occassionally until the berries begin to breakdown. Restir the cornstarch/water mixture to recombine then add to the pot of berries and stir well to combine. Immediately add the lemon zest, lemon juice, sugar and a pinch of salt. Stir to combine then bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer stirring constantly until thickened. The mixture will thicken pretty quickly and should be thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon.
Remove from heat and stir in the remaining 3 1/2 cups of berries. Immediately pour into the cooled tart shell (or distribute evenly between the mini tart shells). Top with the reserved 1 cup of berries and press down slightly to help them adhere to the filling.
Refrigerate until cool (approx 2 hours or up to overnight).
Before serving, I like to garnish with a few sliced almonds and a sprig of mint but that is totally optional. The tart tastes great without them!
Leftovers should be stored in the refrigerator tightly covered for 2 days.