michi: lemon-blueberry tartlets

I have always wanted to make those ovular tarts that I see on Instagram, but the issue was that I didn’t own the right tart tins. This should be the part where I say “until now”, but it’s not. I still don’t. But I do own aluminum foil, and from my previous experiences with using it, I found out rather quickly that I could just make my own damn tart tins. So suck on that, culinary specialty stores, I don’t need you. I just need very thick strips of aluminum foil that are folded over enough to not be flimsy. Honestly, it’s a life hack and I’m pretty proud of the fact that this worked.

For the fillings, we have blueberry coulis, lemon curd, a vanilla meringue, halva-sesame shortbread(as both the crust and as mini cookies on top), and blueberry gelee, garnished with some fresh lemon zest for more brightness. I wanted the presentation to be whimsical and pretty, so I knew that wavy meringues, and simple shapes like squares and circles would do the trick. I love using halva in my shortbreads, only because it adds nuttiness and sweetness, while the sandy texture of it just works magically against butter. I used black sesame in there, as well as tahini, just to really fortify the sesame flavor. There’s something about sesame and lemon that I love together, and with blueberry, you get the freshness as well.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

For the halva shortbread:
1 cup all-purpose flour
a pinch of salt
1/4 cup halva, grated
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 stick unsalted butter, cubed
2 tablespoons lemon zest
3 tablespoons tahini paste
2 tablespoons cold water

Combine ingredients into a cohesive dough. Roll out to about 1/16th an inch thick. Press out the bases using your ovular tart tins/ring molds, then slice out and place in strips of the dough to cover the sides of the tin, snipping off the excess using a paring knife. Prick the bottom of the tarts to guarantee that it won’t expand and weigh down the insides of the tart using parchment and baking beans. Bake at 400 degrees F for about 15 minutes. Cool completely before unmolding. With your residual dough, cut out into 1/4 inch circles and bake those for 8 minutes at 400 degrees F.

For the lemon curd:
1 egg yolk
zest and juice from 2 lemons
a pinch of salt
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
3 tablespoons unsalted butter

Whisk egg with sugar, cornstarch, salt. Reduce juice and zest together. Temper the two ingredients then continue whipping on medium-high heat until thickened. Take off heat and whisk in your butter. Once incorporated, pour through a sieve to remove lumps and chill down until set. Transfer to a piping bag.

For the blueberry coulis:
1/2 cup blueberries
2 tablespoons water
juice from 1 lemon
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
knob of ginger, thinly sliced
a pinch of salt

Combine ingredients and bring to a simmer. Pass through a sieve. Transfer 2 tablespoons to a small squeeze bottle and use the rest of it to make your gelee.

For the blueberry gelee:
1/4 cup blueberry coulis
2 tablespoons agar agar

Simmer the two together until the agar is fully melted into the coulis. Pour onto a small, but deep dish to refrigerate until set, 5-15 minutes. Cut into small 1/4 inch by 1/4 inch cubes and keep cold.

For the meringue:
1 egg white
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
a pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Whip to stiff peaks. Transfer to a piping bag.

For assembly:
Pipe the lemon curd inside first. Then pipe the coulis into the curd. Top with the meringue and broil for 1-2 minutes, keeping a close eye on the tarts to make sure you don’t burn the meringue on top. Take out of the oven and garnish with your cubes of blueberry gelee, shortbread circles, and some lemon zest.

To garnish:
Lemon zest

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

 

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