Some of the best desserts are the ones that look complicated, but are surprisingly easy to put together. How could you not be in love with frozen puff pastry for that reason? Yes, I made my own puff pastry once, and it wasn’t that hard—just messy and time-consuming—but I see no need to ever do it again. It was just another of those things you try to see if you can do it and to say that you have done it. I still have the article that inspired that little adventure, Julia Child’s “You Too Can Be a Pastry Cook” from March 24, 1985 in Parade Magazine, that newspaper insert in the Sunday paper:
Today’s tart is much easier to produce with frozen puff pastry, although you could make your own and keep it in the freezer, too. Like a lot of the recipes I make, it’s part with quick, available products and part from scratch. The cream filling uses pre-packaged instant pudding mix, but you have to whip the cream yourself. The blueberry topping is all from scratch but simple to create.
Easy Puff Pastry Blueberry Tart
You can make the fillings before, during, or after the pastry shells are made—they both come together in minutes. Just don’t fill the shells until completely cooled.
Make the pastry shell:
Preheat oven to 400°; line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
1 package Pepperidge Farm® puff pastry sheets
- Separate the two sheets and cover with plastic wrap while they thaw for about 40 minutes. They will thaw more uniformly if you unstack them for thawing. Just don’t try to unfold them while frozen.
- Unfold each sheet of thawed pastry on your cookie sheet and score the dough about 1/2 inch from the edge all around. Cut through as far as you can without cutting through the bottom, although I suspect it might grow together in baking if you do cut through. This is the easiest way to make a border around your tart. Some recipes suggest rolling out the dough a little and then folding over the edges—I wanted to do as little fooling with the dough as possible.
- Now dock the dough of the inner rectangle all over with a fork. You are trying to keep the center from rising too much. If you have pie weights, you could put those in the center to keep it down. I wish I had pie weights.
- Bake for about 15 minutes until browned and puffy. Remove with parchment paper to rack and cool completely.
Make the two fillings:
1 small box vanilla instant pudding mix (The original recipe makes a mistake here by calling it a 4.5 oz box. Actually, it makes 4 1/2 cup servings and weighs less than 4 oz)
1 cup milk
2 cups heavy cream, whipped
- Whip the cream until it makes big fluffy peaks, but is not churned into butter!
- Whisk the pudding and milk together until combined, then set aside for about 5 minutes to thicken.
- Fold the pudding into the whipped cream.
This is not like a cooked pastry cream made with eggs, but it is a nice, fluffy filling without a lot of sugar.
4-5 cups (two 11 oz containers) fresh blueberries, rinsed and dried
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2/3 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
- Bring 1/4 cup water and 1 1/2 cups berries to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat; simmer, stirring occasionally, until berries begin to break down, 3 to 4 minutes.
- In a small bowl, mix cornstarch, sugar, and salt; stir into berries in pan. Add lemon juice. Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Simmer, stirring, just until mixture begins to thicken, 30 to 60 seconds. Remove from heat. Stir in remaining fresh berries just to heat.
Spread the filling over the inner rectangles of each tart (I had a lot of leftover cream filling). Spoon the blueberry filling over the cream filling (I had just enough for the two tarts).
These tarts are a refreshing dessert that are not too sweet or filling, so go ahead and have two pieces. I cut ours into 4 squares each, but you could make more servings.