Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Spiced Blueberry Tarts with Almond Mascarpone Cream

A friend of mine recently turned 21, and I wanted to make something for his birthday. Since he doesn't like desserts that are "too rich" (and "too rich" is kind of my specialty), I decided to do something fruit-based. I had some essentially mulled wine that I had used as poaching liquid and saved, so I turned it into a fruit tart. I just made up the recipe as I went along, but this should be pretty close:

  • 2 cups blueberry wine (I used "Blue Heeler" from Hill Top Berry Farm and Winery)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 10 whole cloves
  • 1 vanilla bean, slit partially down the middle
  • Frozen Blueberries
  • 2-3 Tbl cornstarch
  • 2 frozen pie crusts
  • 4 oz. mascarpone cheese
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 1/4 c. powdered sugar
  • 1 c. heavy whipping cream

Set the pie crusts out at room temp to defrost while the filling cooks.

Combine wine, sugar, lemon juice, zest, cinnamon, cloves, and vanilla bean in a medium saucepan. Boil for 5 min, then simmer ~60 min or until reduced roughly by half. Strain out the solids by passing through a fine-mesh sieve, then return to pan. Stir in some frozen blueberries (maybe 2-3 c? whatever looks right). Dissolve the cornstarch in ~1/4 c. cold water and stir into the blueberry filling. Bring to a gentle boil and stir until thickened to the consistency of pie filling. Cool completely.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F. Roll the pie crusts a little thinner, then use a 2" biscuit cutter to cut out rounds. Press the rounds into the holes of a mini muffin tin that has been misted with cooking spray. Prick the bottoms with a fork a couple times. Bake at 350 for 11-15 min, or until golden brown. Cool completely.

Whip the whipping cream until medium-stiff peaks form. Put mascarpone in a separate bowl, and add the almond extract and powdered sugar. Stir a couple times to combine. Fold 1/3 of the whipped cream into the mascarpone mixture to lighten it, then gently fold in the remaining whipped cream.

To assemble, pipe blueberry filling into the baked crusts. Pipe a swirl of mascarpone cream on top of each tart.

I doubled the recipe, and put some in the pie crust shells, some in pre-baked puff pastry shells, and some in a pre-made graham cracker crust. Yes, I cheat sometimes.

Also, you will soon notice that my sister is much better at photography than me, and has a much nicer camera. Sorry in advance.

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