Blueberry Tart with White Port and Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

One of my new favourites, this little tart will please anyone! I recently had a friend over for dinner and completely forgot to plan dessert. I happened to have the ingredients for this dish in my cupboard because it is just so simple it’s hard not to have everything you need on hand.  If I had a little bit more time, I would have made a delicious White Port and Vanilla Bean Ice Cream to serve alongside.

All you need is a basic pie crust recipe…..

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
  • 1 cup (2 sticks or 8 ounces) unsalted butter, very-cold, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 6 to 8 Tbsp ice water

1.)    Butter must be cold, not room temperature. Cut the butter into small cubes.

2.) Mix the flour, salt and sugar in a food processor. Add the butter but only pulse until the butter is mixed in to pea sized clumps. Add the ice water until the dough just comes together.  Be very careful not to over-mix.  A great pie crust is soft and crumbly, without being chewy or hard to cut through.  The less you mix any dough, the softer it will be.

2.)     Remove dough from food processor and cover it with flour so that it is easier to roll out. On a floured surface, roll the dough out to about 1/8th of an inch thick (make sure the dough isn’t sticking to the table as you roll it out! Just sprinkle more flour on BOTH surfaces of the dough if it is.) Press the dough into greased tart pans, and cover with parchment paper and uncooked beans to blind bake the crust.

Blind bake the crust in an oven preheated to 375 degrees for 10-30 minutes (depending on the size of your tart). You want to be sure the dough is sufficiently chilled before blind baking to make sure the sides don’t “melt”.  Remove the beans/parchment from the shell, and poke a few holes in the bottom of the crust to allow the air to escape. Allow to bake for another 5 minutes or so until it is a light golden brown.

4.)     Fill pie and bake for 10-15 minutes.

…Blueberry Port Filling

2 small sized containers of blueberries

¼ cup sugar

¼ cup port

Corn Starch Slurry – to thicken

In small pot, cook 1 container of blueberries with sugar and port. Combine about 1 tablespoon of cornstach to a couple tablespoons of water to make a slurry.  Add the slurry to the blueberry mixture to thicken it (this will ensure that your amazing crispy crust will remain that way).  Once this becomes soft and syrupy, add the second container of berries (if you add both at the beginning, there will be no whole berries and your filling will be very mushy) Pour into pre baked pie crusts and bake for 10-15 minutes.

Published in: on October 16, 2010 at 6:44 pm  Leave a Comment  
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The Search For Quail Eggs In Nova Scotia

Since moving to Toronto and immersing myself in the culinary world, my view towards food has changed a great deal.  I have always loved great food, and have cooked and baked with my mother growing up but the options in Halifax Nova Scotia are much fewer than here in Toronto.

I recently went home to Halifax for my brother’s wedding and of course, wanted to share my love for food with my family and friends by cooking for them.  I found that I was constantly running around the city trying to find ingredients I take for granted in Toronto. I had my heart set on cooking specific dishes for my family knowing they would love what I had planned, so I was willing to spend the time to find the ingredients I needed.

I wanted to make Beurre Blanc Poached Lobster on a bed of Wilted Garlic Spinach, topped with a Soft-Poached Quail Egg. Of course, lobster was easy to get my hands on back at home, and at a fantastic price of $5.99/lb. The other ingredients of butter, spinach, garlic, white wine were all also very easy to find as they are common ingredients. The challenge was in finding quail eggs! I went to my neighborhood grocer with little hope of finding them there but figured it was worth a shot. Unfortunately there was no luck there as I had expected. My next stop was Petes Frootique, which is comparable to Pusateri’s of Halifax. Pete’s used to sell quail eggs, but they came in frozen and ultimately they decided it was not worth bringing them in. I was next sent to the Italian Market in hopes of finding the eggs there, but again no luck.

At this point I was getting discouraged but knew there was still one more chance to find my quail eggs. I had my father make the trip to drive across the bridge to Bedford to the original location of Petes Frootique to see if they would have them. They did not have any in stock as the item is simply just not in demand, but they could order me a half dozen in for $18.99 with a 15 day wait.

Needless to say, my family did not get to enjoy the meal I had originally planned, but were not disappointed in the lobster and steak I prepared for them after my day of ingredient hunting. Next time I visit home, I’ll be sure to place an order for quail eggs as soon as I arrive and plan for a dinner at the end of my trip.

Published in: on July 9, 2010 at 3:57 pm  Leave a Comment  
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