Blueberry Heart Tarts (well, almost)

To put it in more discerning culinary terminology, these might actually be galettes, the rustic hand-shaped pastry with filling. But as Merriam-Webster defines it, a galette is a flat, round pastry with filling, and these are heart-shaped (ahem, almost). “Tart” usually implies a similar dessert that takes shape by way of a tart pan, and has a sticky, gooey or custardy filling beneath the fruit topping. Or either/or. These have neither. I’m a sucker for rhymes also, so I’ll stick with tart for these.

No, I don’t have a sweetie yet to give these to. But my dear, sweet friend was hit by a car a few days ago. She’s doing so-so, working with a fractured pelvis and cuts and bruises, but thankfully nothing mentally or permanently debilitating. She and another friend had been simply crossing the street, not jaywalking, when they were struck by a car and tossed almost halfway down the block. (The other friend was better off with minor bruises and cuts.) I wasn’t there to witness, but the incident’s gotten me so shaken up that I haven’t been myself lately.

My friend was whisked off to recuperate at her parents’ home in another state. Opting against crowding the household with another bouquet, my first instinct was to look up all the fine bakeries, patisseries, specialty and gourmet food shops in the area and order something hopefully divinely satisfying. But that didn’t sit right with me. Not quite. The phone seemed so ridiculously aloof and untouchable compared to the shiny, new silicone spatula sticking out of my countertop utensil vase. And the beady New Jersey blueberries waiting there patiently for a chore in my fridge. Errr… can I just… try… to be… normal and not cook! Well, you can guess who won that battle.

the Garden State fruit

Aside from their poorly executed shape, these tarts were simple, simple, fresh fruit-and-sugar-and-it’s-done desserts. I did grate some nutmeg into the crust for a hint of spice. And I squeezed fresh lime juice into the blueberry mixture because I didn’t have any lemons around (sorry, dude!). I thought about adding slivered almonds into the crust and a drop of almond liqueur, but fresh blueberries in my opinion have such a mild-mannered taste that you really ought to sit up and pay attention to it. Plus, they’re full of healthy immune system-boosting antioxidants, which help curb the production of free radicals that can lead to diseases. And we don’t want her getting any of those.

basic pastry dough gets a few shaves of nutmeg

I’ve never sent a package of edibles in the mail before, so I have no idea how these will be once they get to her. I’m guessing the heart shapes will be even more degraded, and I’d hate to send her broken hearts. Not exactly the right message there, in any way, shape or form. I can only hope that they still taste good.

Last but not least, I’d like to say to all motorists out there, especially in this fine city of ours, watch out, because when you cross my friends or me, I get angry. And when I get angry, I… um, break out the baking equipment. Which is actually a more dangerous thing than it sounds.

just before baking (and oozing)

Blueberry Heart Tarts (almost)
(makes 4 miniature tarts)

1 cup flour
5 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1 egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cold water
1 cup fresh blueberries
1/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon corn starch
1 tablespoon fresh lemon (or lime) juice
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (optional)

In a medium-large bowl, combine the flour, a teaspoon of sugar, salt and optional nutmeg. Add the butter cubes and break with a pastry blender or your fingers until the mixture resembles coarse meal (or spin in the food processor). Add the egg yolk until well integrated, and add a splash of the cold water at a time until the dough mixture just comes together. Form four balls. Cover with plastic wrap and chill at least 30 minutes.

Combine blueberries, sugar, corn starch, and citrus juice in a bowl and set aside. Once dough is ready to use, turn onto a flat surface and roll or press out four exaggerated “V” shapes. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Distribute the blueberry mixtures evenly into the centers of each one. Then fold over the exaggerated edges well (there should be almost an inch of overhang) and crimp the bottom point of the heart with your fingers so that the pastry comes together and forms a little wall (so the fruit doesn’t leak out). Do the same with the top crease of the heart, too. (Optional: brush the pastry edges with a little egg wash or milk for color.)

Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until edges have browned slightly. Let cool at least 10 minutes before doing anything with them.

Cost Calculator
(for 4 tarts)

1 cup fresh blueberries (at $3.50/pint): $1.75
1 cup flour: $0.50
5 tablespoons butter (at $4/qt): $0.63
1 egg yolk (at $3/dozen): $0.13
1 tablespoon lime juice (at 6/$1): $0.08
1/4 cup and 1 teaspoon sugar: $0.15
1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon cornstarch, optional nutmeg: $0.10

Total: $3.34

Health Factor

Seven brownie points: It is a tart, after all, and the basic shortbread pastry is no less buttery than most. I do feel good in some ways knowing exactly how rich it is, unlike with a decadent store-bought dessert’s, and that there’s no trans fats either. Likewise for the blueberry filling, which is simple and pure. As mentioned, blueberries are renowned for their supposed disease-fighting, life-prolonging nutrients, but did you know that they’re a rich source of supposedly cholesterol-lowering pectin? A perfect match for the buttery pastry crust.

Green Factor

Six maple leaves: It’s New Jersey blueberry season until September, and if you live close to the state, the second-largest producer of blueberries last year — and since I do — time to eat ’em while they’re ripe. I didn’t pick up this carton from the Farmers’ Market, just a local grocery store, but I’m sure we’ll be seeing them there this weekend (where I did pick up the eggs and butter). The rest of the recipe is essentially pantry basics, so this is a relatively eco-friendly, down-to-earth-y dessert.

13 Responses

  1. desiree

    grrr…carrrs. best wishes for your friends, and i think the heart tarts looks lovely. i would cry sweet tears of knowing-i’m-loved joy if i were the recipient. xx

  2. kiki

    Oh dear, I’m so sorry for your friend. To be laid up is nothing good, and it’s a blessing her parents are there to aid in her recuperation. And she is also blessed by having such a sweet friend as you!

    I’m trying to think of a rhyme for galettes, but can only come up with phrases (“Don’t fret, they’re galettes!” and “I bet galettes”). Stick with Heart Tarts 🙂

    I enjoy your blog immensely. Keep on keepin’ on. kk

  3. David Giesberg

    Looks tasty – the first thing I thought of when I saw this in my feed reader was hamantashen (see this wikipedia article:

  4. jane

    I don’t generally read the comments, so apologies if someone has pointed this out, but I love your rating system. Brownies next to “maple” leaves looks like you’re indicating something regarding pot brownies. It makes me laugh (in a good way, not at you). 🙂

  5. Joanna

    Oh no, I hope your friend recovers quickly! Drivers can be so careless! Though I have to say, if I were holed up in my parents’ house recuperating, and I got fresh homemade blueberry tarts in the mail… I think they’d go a long way towards cheering me up. 🙂

  6. S for Kitchen Confit

    If I was laid up from a car accident I would be very pleased to receive these – hope your friend gets better.

  7. cathy

    Hi David: I was thinking these looked a bit like hamantashen, too! Funny coincidence. I haven’t made these cookies before but there’s an excellent-sounding rhubarb version here I’ve been dying to try:

  8. Yvo

    Ooh… I hope your friends both recuperate to 100% quickly. A friend of mine was hit by a car when she was 14, same thing, crossing the street and had the right of way – she actually lost her sense of taste. WTF? I hope they got the guy’s information and sue the pants off him. Not that I’m for a litigious society such as that in which we already live, but come ON. You should NOT be driving and should NOT go unpunished if you’re hitting pedestrians!!!

    That looks lovely, I am sure she will appreciate it greatly.

    PS I have a question, so what kind of utensil vase do you have exactly? Mine is bursting and I want a new/bigger one. Suggestions/recommendations? Thanks!

  9. Jordan

    Cathy, you’re an amazing friend. My heart (if not feet) is dancing with gladness over the thought of these. It’s really true that well wishes (and tasty treats) from your friends make it so much easier to get better.

    Thanks, too, to the well-wishing commenters!

    xo Jordan

  10. EB

    What an amazing gift! They look fantastic and I’m sure, broken or not, they will be much appreciated. More well wishes to Jordan!

  11. Lisa

    Oh me, oh my! Good thing I have a whole crapload of blueberries in my fridge and homemade tart dough in the freezer!! I haven’t made galettes in ages, perfect idea.

    And in addition to blueberries, the farmers market had some killer looking black raspberries (!!!). Someone needs to make these tarts with those.

  12. Tatjairty

    It’s amazing

  13. getbackwithyourex

    I dont usually reply to posts but I will in this case. WoW 🙂 very nice blog!!

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