Monday, August 15, 2011

Mini Blueberry Tarts

Let me just start by saying that cooking on vacation is an interesting experience.  Even though I was out of my element, I knew I wanted to make something this week and I've had a ton of ideas on my little recipes board on Pinterest.

Other than the cold weather, Maine is known for something else (after lobstahs): blueberries.  Maine blueberries are so delicious.  I love that their size is perfect for baking with and yet they seem to have the same sweetness as their gargantuan counterparts.  I have so many memories of being up in Maine and plowing through poison ivy and spiderwebs to pick fresh blueberries from the woods behind the house.  We'd bring them back in our little coffee cans, rinse them off, and throw them in pancakes.  I never remember being more ambitious with blueberries than making blueberry pancakes, so this year I decided that needed to change.

While skimming the internet, I found a post about these little mini pies.  How freaking cute are these?  I was thinking of making a regular blueberry pie, but those can be so messy and are not great for sharing.  So how about a little blueberry pie for each person in my family?  The plans were already under way.

The next step was to find the equipment.  I first checked the cabin where we're staying and found three little muffin pans, but no cooking equipment.  I went over to the big house where the rest of my family is staying and started rifling through drawers where I found round cookie cutters, a pasta cutter, a rolling pin, and my dry ingredients.  I tried to plan out the actual baking of my little pies and decided that I'll be damned if I'm spending my vacation trying to make my own pie dough (plus I didn't have a pastry cutter or a food processor), so I elected to go with the boxed version instead.

Tips for rolling out dough: make sure everything
- board, rolling pin, and your hands -
are lightly coated in flour. 
The box said it was enough to make 2 9-in pie crusts, which I assumed to be more than enough for my mini pies.  Now I'd like to explain why I like to be a little secretive (read: sneaky) when it comes to making desserts. See, I have these wonderful desserts planned out in my head and I know exactly what equipment I'll need, what ingredients I'll need, how I'll prepare it, and how I will design it and that little confection looks so perfect in my mind.  And then I start to prepare my carefully planned dessert and the end product is usually not what I had imagined.  So when my family, aunts, uncles, and cousins were asking me about what I was making, I simply answered "a dessert" and ran out of the house with the rolling pin I was borrowing.  This way, if I kept the dessert a secret, I wouldn't have to answer to why the mini pie I promised wasn't exactly what was on the plate.

Cooking on vacation is always an
adventure, like when your oven only
holds 1 cupcake pan
So here's what happened: I'm in the cabin rolling out my dough and even though I'm making it as thin as possible I'm starting to worry I won't have enough dough leftover to make that pretty lattice design on the top of the mini pie.  And then I start to worry if I'll even have enough dough to make all 13 mini pies.  So I end up with the perfect amount of dough for my 13 little mini pies and the perfect amount of blueberry filling for my little pies and as I begin to crimp the edges of the dough over the filling I exclaim, "these are no longer pies, these are now tarts!" (to no one but myself) because I clearly did not make enough dough to craft that beautiful lattice pattern I had envisioned in my mind.  So I throw them in the oven, checking on them every 5 minutes and deciding they're done with the crust is a beautiful golden brown and the blueberry filling starts gushing over the edges.  I fashion two spoons into tongs (because I could not for the life of me find a spatula in either of the houses - oh cooking on vacation) and carefully pry the little tarts out of the wells, making sure not to puncture the crust and send blueberry filling everywhere because if I mess up just ONE tart someone isn't getting dessert tonight.  So I have my little tarts on a platter and bring them outside and set them up with the cardboard canister of blueberries and snap a quick "artistic" photo before bringing them over to the main house.  At this point, my relatives have all been in and out of the kitchen in the cabin and therefore the dessert is no longer a surprise yet I try to sneak the little tarts past everyone anyways.  Dinner is perfect and dessert is served and rave reviews are given all around and I chuckle to myself thinking of how these little tarts were not in fact the pies I had originally intended to make but no one needed to know that - they were close enough.  Well, of course now everyone knows that my little pies did not quite turn out how I envisioned them to but at least you all know that after the fact.  Regardless of how they looked, they were still incredibly delicious.  They were sweet, but not too sweet, and the filling was a perfect consistency - not too stiff but not too runny either.

Oh, and when you're cooking on vacation, make sure you're flexible and prepared to make some changes.  For those times when, you know, you don't have a spatula.

I will definitely be making these pies (tarts) again, maybe next time with enough pie dough.  Or with a different flavor filling.  They make such cute desserts and will definitely be a huge hit at any party or gathering.

Oh and a very happy birthday to my mom!  I'll be posting some yummy recipes this week that I'm making for her birthday :)

Mini Blueberry Tarts
Makes about 12 tarts
Filling Adapted from Annie's Eats

- 1 box pie crust (11 oz)
- 2 c blueberries
- 1/3 c sugar
- 1 ½ tbsp. cornstarch
- 1 egg + 1 tbsp milk

Preheat oven to 350F and grease the liners of a 12 count cupcake pan.

To make the filling, sift together the sugar and cornstarch and add the blueberries.  Toss the blueberries in the dry ingredients until they’re evenly coated and the sugar and corn starch have dissolved.

Make pie crust according to directions on box.  Lightly flour a flat work surface and roll out the dough until it’s about ¼ in. thick.  Measure the diameter of your cupcake pan wells and cut circles out of the dough that are at least ½ in. longer than the diameter of your wells.  You want to be able to place the dough in the wells and have a little bit dough come over the edge.  Once all of the wells are filled with dough, scoop the filling into the wells, about ¾ of the way full.  Crimp the excess dough over the filling.

Beat egg with milk to create an egg wash and brush each mini pie with the egg wash.  Place in oven and bake for 13 - 17 minutes, or until the crust is a golden brown.  Allow to cool in pans for about 5 minutes and then remove.  


  1. These look so cute. I love how they look rustic in mini form.

  2. I love tarts, especially in the mini form. I'm impressed you made these on vacation!

  3. Can't believe you made these not in your own kitchen! Impressive work across the board, but especially in a cabin kitchen!

  4. You've risen to the challenge of cabin cooking marvellously. These are gorgeous little pies.

  5. lovely tarts! to cook on vacations is a challenge, but you made it!

  6. Cute tarts! I love that you used the muffin tins - that's a great idea.

  7. It was fun browsing around your blog. I am lazy to bake even at home and you made these delicious tarts at a cabin?? I'm impressed! And thanks for the tip. See, I don't bake enough that I didn't even think about coating a pin with flour. No wonder it sticks. LOL. I love this - I love blueberry so much and I wish I can bake something really easy. I can use pie sheet! =) Thanks for sharing the recipe!


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