Blueberries are in season! Plus, they were on sale at my local market! Yes!!! Today I wanted to make an easy weeknight dessert so I decided to make a tart. In my head, I figured a tart would be easier since I wouldn’t have to worry about creating a lattice crust topping or a crumble — the two common characteristics of pies. But that got me thinking: what’s the difference between a pie and a tart anyway? I did some Googling and found a lot of technical explanations about the types of pans used, the different types of crusts, crust-to-filling ratios etc., which seemed a little too complicated for me. Therefore I decided to go with my own definition. To me, pies are homey, comforting, gooey, warm, holiday, decadent, American. Tarts are pretty, sophisticated, dainty, custard, cool, European. Both are absolutely delicious, and that’s all that really matters, right?
One key characteristic of a tart however is that the filling is generally not as thick as a pie, and the crust is a major component to the overall taste (and not just a vessel). For today’s tart, instead of the usual shortcrust pastry, I opted to make a cookie crust from Biscoff cookies. You’re going to need about 26 cookies.
Place the cookies in a food processor and add 3 tablespoons of sugar and 5 tablespoons of melted butter. Start pulsing it together until everything is incorporated. If you don’t have a food processor, put all the cookies into a ziplock bag and crush them up with a rolling pin. Pour the crushed cookies into a bowl and fold the sugar and melted butter in with a fork.
Pour the ingredients into a 9 inch tart pan. In my case, I substituted a 9-inch glass pie plate instead. Distribute the cookie crust evenly in the pan or pie plate. Using the back of a measuring cup (or even the bottom of a drinking glass as long as it’s flat), start from the center and press down lightly and against the sides. The goal is to make sure there aren’t any cracks or holes.
Now pop this sucker into a preheated 350 degree F oven for 9 minutes or until just starting to brown. Once the crust is set, allow to cool completely.
In the meantime, while waiting for the crust to cool, start on the filling and topping. Rinse and pat dry your fresh blueberries. You will need about 3 cups of blueberries (usually about 3 of those small containers, depending on the size of the berries).
To add a little zing and brightness to the tart, zest up about half a lemon (1 teaspoon of lemon zest).
Place a mixing bowl and whisk in the freezer and let it chill for 15 minutes. This will help your cream whip up easier. When it’s cold, remove and pour 1/4 cup cold whipping cream and 1/2 cup mascarpone into the bowl. Add 2 tablespoons of sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla paste. You can substitute vanilla extract but I prefer paste because of the little specks of vanilla throughout. Using an electric mixer, whip together for about a minute or two until it’s light but still able to hold stiff peaks. Fold in the lemon zest.
Now quickly, before you eat all the filling with your finger, spread the mascarpone mixture evenly on the cooled cookie crust. If your crust hasn’t cooled yet, put the mascarpone mixture in the fridge to avoid any temptation but also so it doesn’t liquify sitting out.
Sprinkle the blueberries on top, enough so it’s covered. Chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes or overnight before serving. In my opinion, it’s actually better the next day. To give it a little pizzaz, you could also sift confectioners sugar over the top for presentation.
I like this tart because it’s an easy and quick dessert to whip up during the weekday but it’s pretty enough to serve when entertaining company. The sweetness of in-season blueberries paired with zesty citrus notes of lemon are my favorite combination!
Blueberry Lemon Mascarpone Cookie Crust Tart:
Prep time: 30 min | Cook time: 10 min | Serves:8
For the crust:
26 Biscoff Cookies
5 tablespoons melted butter
3 tablespoons of granulated sugar
For the Filling:
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
1/4 cup whipping cream
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla paste
1 teaspoon lemon zest
For the topping:
3 cups fresh blueberries
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). In a food processor, pulse the cookies, melted butter and sugar until blended. Or crush the cookies in a plastic bag with a rolling pin and then fold in the sugar and melted butter with a fork.
2. Pour the cookie mixture into a 9 inch tart pan or pie plate and lightly press into bottom and up the sides making sure there aren’t any holes. Bake for 9 minutes or until fragrant and golden. Set aside until cooled.
3. Chill a bowl and whisk in the freezer for 15 minutes. Then add cream, mascarpone, sugar and vanilla and whisk until stiff peaks. Fold in lemon zest.
4. Spread the mascarpone mixture on the cooled pie crust and top with fresh blueberries. Place in fridge for at least 30 minutes or can be enjoyed next day.