Saturday, June 16, 2012

Berry + Brown Butter Tartlets

Contrary to my lack of posting as of late, I've been baking up a storm. I have a backlog of goodness to share with you and first up are these tartlets.

I received a review copy of Gesine Bullock-Prado's new cookbook Pie it Forward. I've heard good things about her previous cookbook, SugarBaby, but haven't yet picked up a copy. I couldn't resist her latest, though, seeing as how it is all about pie. And I loved that the title is a play on words. Now that's a woman after my own heart!

There were so many delectable looking recipes to choose from but I knew as soon as I saw the blueberry brown butter tartlet recipe, it would be my first attempt. While I had a few quibbles with the recipe, let me just tell you, the end product was fantastic. Really, really fantastic. The hint of lemon juice in the crust and the addition of browned butter in the filling really set these tartlets apart. Let me emphasize again, these tartlets were damn good.

So my quibbles are as follows: The recipe only called for one pint of blueberries but I'd have at least one and a half pints of berries on hand. The one pint of blueberries I had would have made a pretty meager filling. Luckily, I had a pint of blackberries so I mixed those in as well. This is a very short crust so handle it gingerly and try not to stretch it when lining the tartlet tins. When baked, it still receded quite a bit although I handled it as gently as I could. After going through the process to make the tartlets, I decided they were too fussy for their humble looks. Next time, I'd just make a whole pie. It's not like you can have too much of a good thing. Lastly, the instructions for making the browned butter filling were a little wonky as written in the book. I re-interpreted them in my adapted recipe below. I must have intuited correctly because it worked out fine but the directions were confusing upon first read- at least to me.

All things considered, these are pretty minor concerns for such a fabulous end product. Pick up Pie it Forward as soon as you get a chance.

Berry + Brown Butter Tartlets
adapted from Pie it Forward by Gesine Bullock-Prado

2 cups (250 grams) all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup (225 grams) unsalted butter, very cold, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 cup (120 milliliters) ice water
1 teaspoon lemon juice

2 large eggs
1/2 cup (100 grams) sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup (30 grams) all purpose flour
1/2 cup (115 grams) unsalted butter + 1-2 tablespoons
1-2 pints (340-680 grams) fresh blueberries or mixed berries

1. To make the crust, you can use a food processor but it’s just as easy to mix by hand in a large bowl. Add the flour, salt, sugar, and butter to the bowl and cut in the butter using two knives or a pastry cutter until only small pea-sized chunks remain.
2. Add lemon juice to the ice water and pour, a little at a time, into the flour and butter mixture while turning with a fork just until the dough begins to come together – when pressed together with your fingers, the dough should hold together and not fall apart. You may not need to use all the water.
3. Turn the dough out onto a work surface and use your hands to quickly bring together. Divide the dough into two pieces, one twice as big as the other. Wrap each piece in plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator for at least half an hour until firm.
4. With a rack centered in the middle, preheat oven to 350° Fahrenheit. Roll the larger sized dough round out on a lightly floured work surface to about 1/4 inch thick. Work quickly and turn the dough as you go to ensure it doesn’t stick. Cut out six 6-inch circles to line six 4-inch x 2-inch tall fluted mini tart tins. Prick the dough a few times with a fork and return to the refrigerator to chill for at least 20 minutes.
5. Roll the smaller dough round out to approximately 1/8 inch thickness. I didn’t have a lattice cutter as called for so I cut strips of dough, approximately 6 inches long and 1/2 inch wide, to layer, lattice-style, over the top of the tarts. Transfer the lattice strips to a parchment lined baking sheet and refrigerate until chilled, at least 20 minutes.
6. When fully chilled, remove tart tins from refrigerator and line each one with a parchment paper round cut to fit. Place the tins on a baking sheet and fill with pie weights. Bake crusts for approximately 15 minutes. Remove and set aside. Leave the oven on. When the crusts have cooled slightly, remove the pie weights and parchment paper liners.
7. While the crusts are cooling, make the filling by whisking together the eggs, sugar, vanilla, and salt in a medium bowl. Sift the flour over the mixture and carefully fold in.
8. Melt the butter over medium-high heat in a small sauce or sauté pan. Continue cooking the butter, while whisking continuously, until it browns. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Reserve 1-2 tablespoons of browned butter to brush over the lattice strip top crusts before baking. Pour the rest of the browned butter into the egg mixture and whisk to combine.
9. Place the tins on a baking sheet and divide berries among the tart tins. Pour the butter mixture over the berries until just covered.
10. Remove lattice strips from refrigerator and layer over the top of the tarts. Press the strips down over the edges of the tart tin to crimp off excess ends. Brush with browned butter. Return the tarts to the oven for 20 to 25 minutes. Bake until the top crusts are browned and the filling is bubbly. 


  1. these look so cute! I may have missed it but did you use fresh berries or frozen - would it make a difference?

  2. I love blueberries! And this tartlets looks adorable.

  3. @Miss T I used fresh blueberries and have updated the recipe. I think the extra water content in frozen blueberries might make for a soggy bottom crust but otherwise should be fine.

  4. BEAUUUUUUUUUTIFUL! as always. What a different type of crust I am glad you adapted this now I am excited to try it as I have some little tartlet molds just needing to be dusted off and pulled down.

  5. Mmmmmm. Looks yummy! thanks for sharing the recipe:)

  6. These tartlets are the cutest! The brown butter sounds fabulous in the filling. There are so many pies I want to try from that book. Glad to know this one gets a damn good rating.

  7. Wow, those look fabulous, Shelley! I love the lattice work on your tartlets. I am bookmarking this to try soon. Blackberries will be ready or maybe they are already ready down by the river. Will have to go check this week and then I am making this. Browned butter...MMMMmmm!

  8. Well, I think they turned out splendidly! I can't wait for the followup backlog posts. And, maybe, a belly shot???! xoxo

  9. Wow Shelley, these tarts look great, I like the idea of brown butter, must taste delicious.
    I look forward to more recipes and hope you are enjoying your week :)

  10. They are beautiful , you worked out all the little things in the recipe well. I never made brown butter and wanting to try it. Whisking it continuously is to prevent foaming?? Hope you are freezing some for later :)

  11. I've come from Sarah's blog Thyme to wish you happy mothering! What a lovely blog...I will be back to visit! :)

  12. I have Pie It Forward and I drool over every page, although I have only made The Velvet Elvis so far. Thanks for the tip about the filling - I want a generous amount of filling in my pies!