I finally got down to using the last of my pie dough (or Pâte brisée for the finicky) from a really long time ago. Believe it or not, the finished tart crusts still taste as good even after staying frozen for close to two months! This proves that pie/tart doughs can be frozen for really long periods of time without any compromise in taste or texture! Thanks to the 35+ degrees weather as well, the dough thaws in no time (actually about 15 minutes before they are malleable) and you can have a tart, or many tartlets if you so desire, assembled and ready to bake and ready to eat in less than hour!
This is my very own rendition of the blueberry cream cheese tart, which is quite popular locally. The recipe is very loosely adapted from Aunty Yochana’s recipe and an old clipping from the newspaper (no source) I found in my mom’s recipe book:
Recipe for Blueberry Cream Cheese Tartlets 
Makes 15 5–cm tartlets 
Ingredients:
For the tart crust: 
Use the Foolproof Pie Dough recipe here
For the cream cheese filling: 
125 g    cream cheese
30 g      icing sugar
½ tsp    lemon zest
½ tsp    vanilla extract
25 ml    evaporated milk
1 tbl      cornstarch
1           egg
Some blueberry jam (or fresh blueberry compote)
Method:
  1. Prepare the tart shells. If preparing from frozen tart dough, thaw the dough until malleable, before pressing the dough into the tart moulds. Once done, place the tart moulds into the freezer for about 5-10 minutes to allow the dough to harden so that you don’t have to blind-bake the tarts. After freezing, place the tarts directly into a preheated oven at 180 degrees for 10-15 minutes until yellow-golden in color and remove to cool on the wire rack.
  2. Prepare the cream cheese filling. Allow the cream cheese to soften before beating in the sugar until creamy. Crack the egg into the mixture, together with the lemon zest and vanilla extract, mixing well. Pour in the evaporated milk and mix until well incorporated.
  3. Completing the blueberry cream cheese tart. Pour the cream cheese filling into the cooled tart shells, until about 80% filled. Spoon some blueberry jam into the tart shells. To create a marbled effect, use a toothpick to draw the blueberry jam in the cream cheese in a swirly motion. Bake the tarts at 180 degrees for another 10-15 minutes, or until the cream cheese filling is set and the tart crust is golden brown in color. Remove from oven and cool for at least 30 minutes before consuming.

Janine’s jots:

  • Taste: The lemon zest and vanilla extract were not too overwhelming – they provided a subtle twang and sweetness to the cream cheese filling. I felt that more lemon could be used to up the tanginess of the tart, and more blueberry compote used to complement that tanginess. 
  • Serving size: Each tart was almost bite-size – my mouth wasn’t that huge, so I had to have two bites before the tart disappeared. This recipe has been downsized, and recipes I’ve seen easily double or quadruple the amounts you see here. If you wish to use larger tart pans (ie, not tartlet sizes), just increase the baking time appropriately. 
  • Modifications: Some recipes call for whipping cream to be used instead, but since the cream is not whipped before use, the purpose is the same as evaporated milk here – to provide a thickness and sweetness to the mixture. So just use whichever you have ready in your pantry. 
  • Storage: Because the tarts contain cream cheese, I’d advise storage in the fridge. The tarts store well in the fridge – I ate a few the day after and the following day – all you need is to give it a quick zap in the microwave to warm it up or in a minute in a toaster oven. 
  • Would I make this again? Maybe – I’m not a fan of cream cheese tarts – I prefer fresh fruits in a tart, but nevertheless, this recipe is yet another keeper because it was well-received by my family =) I’ll definitely make it again without hesitation should my family request it – the fact that it’s so easy to make helps too!
  • [ETA] Comments: Now I know the reason for my wrinkly tops – overbaking! I saw that Lena used a really low temperature of 115 degrees to ‘cook’ the cream cheese filling – am definitely trying out the low temperature thing next time!

Tartlets for tea? The teacup in the background is purely for propping purposes – notice that it actually is empty! =p
Finally, I get a nice overhead shot of my food without my shadow on them =)
Experimenting with yet another angle – the light coming from the left has changed somewhat? 
As you can see, I still need (a lot of) work with my swirling. Most people actually use blueberry jam, so it’s actually much easier to swirl it together with the cream cheese filling. I tried to be smart – I didn’t have blueberry jam on hand, but I did have fresh blueberries, so I basically cooked the fresh blueberries together with some sugar syrup before adding them into the cream cheese filling. Because I didn’t strain the skins, the blueberry jam I was working with was not smooth and was much harder to swirl since it promptly sank to the bottom once I added it into the filling. Nevertheless, the blueberries were still awesome!
Baking-wise, can anyone enlighten me – why do the nicely domed tops of my tarts (when they just come out of the oven) turn wrinkly and deflated once they cool? 
Photography-wise, I’d appreciate comments as to which of the photos above was the best/worse. I know that I have 5 photos of the tarts with the same black background on the same plate, but bear with me – I’m still experimenting with angles and apertures. I know there’s a lot of blank space in the photos, and I hope to eventually be able to overcome my laziness to actually style my food properly before greedily consuming them =p
I’ll be submitting this to Aspiring Bakers #6: Say Cheese! (April 2011), hosted by Jean.

26 comments

  1. Anncoo says:

    This is a yummy little cute tarts, I love it.
    The reason of the wrinkly surface of the tarts might due to high temperature.

  2. i just hop over from lena’s blog. both of you baked nice and yummy tarts! (: so lovely! and great job for cooking your own jam (:
    i baked blueberry cheese tarts the other time, not too long ago. my first batch is wrinkly. i experiment and found that the high temp and overbaking cause that to happen. so, reduce temp and bake it, watch the time and not overbake it (: hope that helps

  3. Janine says:

    @anncoo and jasmine: thanks for the tip! I’ll definitely try out a lower temperature! I suspected it was overbaking but wasn’t too sure, thanks :D

  4. Esther says:

    Pretty looking tarts! Thanks for sharing all your tips. I was wondering if I should make these tarts too for the aspiring bakers. Seems like this recipe is pretty popular.

    I like your 2nd picture the best. :) For the last 3 pictures, I like the 2nd to last picture better b/c it’s up close. But the last picture looks nice too (because it’s very clear). I’m no picture critic and my own pictures need a lot of work. haha

    As for your tarts, I’m guessing they slightly deflated because of the egg? Idk, I’m not sure. Because when I made egg tarts, I had to let the tarts cool down slowly by opening the oven door a bit, otherwise they would become all wrinkly and disgusting looking. but I’m not sure because this recipe didn’t use too much egg…

  5. Hi Janine ! I personally like the first photo best, there is more in terms of composition.

    regarding whipping cream and evaporated milk,(I’m no expert), but from what I learned from my girlfriend is that in baking/pastry the importance is in the fat content of your diary product and not the general thickness of the liquid. something about homogenization or something like that. I’m not a good source of information on this but maybe it is the source of the deflation ? I’ll ask her about it..

  6. lena says:

    hi janine, i’m not too sure either aboutthe wrinkle surface but there’s a huge variance beween your baking temperature and mine, possible. I like the 1st photo the most, the one with the empty cup!haha!cheers!

  7. Hi Janine, thanks for stopping by my blog :) I love your recipes and will be following your blog from now on :) Oh these tarts are so cute and dainty! I love the setting as well, matching plates and teacups makes the little tarts stand out so much :)

  8. Indie.Tea says:

    I had to check out the foolproof pie dough recipe – vodka IS an interesting ingredient.
    I think shortening + butter is common. I LOVE butter, so I stick with all butter.
    The tarts sound SO good…

  9. j3ss kitch3n says:

    still looks very yummy janine! did u save 1 for me? i’m been lazing from the blogging world haha!

  10. Janine says:

    @esther and lena: thanks so much for the comments! I’ll keep them in mind :)

    @jacob: will be waiting for you to get back to me from ur gf ;p

    @min and joyti: thanks for stopping by my blog too! joyti, do try the pie dough out! You can actually use cider vinegar in replacement of vodka if you don’t have alcohol available!

    @jess: real life comes first anyway ;p but will be waiting for you to come back and tempt me with your bakes!

  11. Ah Tze says:

    Janine, the tarts still look very yummy!btw, I like your beautiful plate too ^_^

  12. I can’t decide what I love more – the photos, how minature the tarts are or the notes that follow the recipe!

    My boyfriend’s not a fan of cream cheese but I’ll definitely have to give this a shot soon!

  13. ^cherie says:

    Cutesy!!!

    I just had blueberry cheesecake last Sunday and now, i want some more :)

  14. Tina says:

    i love tarts, all kinds of tart and i wish i could have some of these right now!

    condensed milk in the filling, that’s new!i must try these (i have blueberries frozen for when i need them)… and i love all your photos, but my fav is the number 2!

  15. These look wonderful! And it’s great to know that they are still ok after being frozen for a couple of months too! :D

  16. Hi janine, I’d left a comment 2 days back but I think it got lost in translation and didn’t appear. Anyway, I think Lena’s right about temperature control as the cause of those wrinkly surfaces. But I’m sure they are equally scrumptous nonetheless!

    I absolutely love those plates. Are they from Burleigh UK’s collections?

  17. Janine says:

    @Alan: I’m not sure where they are from – but it says Churchill, Willow, England beneath each crockery :) Believe it or not, my mom bought them in Australia more than 23 years ago! We use the plates and bowls for our meals :)

    @Lorraine: thanks for stopping by :)

    @tina: thanks for the comment! oh and it’s evaporated milk, not condensed milk! they are different unless you are talking about unsweetened condensed milk!

    @cherie: make some more! you can never have enough of them ;p

    @thecoffeesnob: glad to know that my comments are of help to someone!

    @ah tze: thanks – the plates are my mom’s :)

  18. I asked, and I was mistaken, so it is ok to use evaporated milk.

    The fat content is to assist in the whipping up of the dairy product, so in your case which no whipping is required. the purpose of whipping cream is for taste/texture/richness. So if you find evaporated milk a suitable substitute then there isn’t a problem.

    hope this helps somehow!

  19. These mini tarts are really cute, I am sure they taste as good!

    I have an award for you, do pick it up from my blog, cheers!

  20. Janine says:

    @jacob: thanks for asking and getting back to me :) I figured it was for richness since there was no whipping involved.

    @hhb: thanks for the award!

  21. edith says:

    You took such nice picture of these lovely tarts.

  22. You just remind me the last blueberries tart I prepared was 3 years ago, hehehe..,I have a long list of bookmarked still not yet make . Your tart look so good.

  23. shaz says:

    Very pretty, and they sound so tasty. I much prefer fresh blueberries compared to jam :)

  24. Janine says:

    @edith: thanks so much :)

    @sonia: your baking repertoire is so extensive that I’m jealous!

    @shaz: me too, which was why I didn’t really bother about the sinking bits heh ;p

  25. Chef Dennis says:

    those little Tartlets look delicious, cream cheese and blueberries what a tasty treat!

  26. [...] topping, as well as chocolate tarts with optional caramel innards. I might also try to demo the blueberry cream cheese tarts or some other recipes if I have the time. There will be lots to try, so do pop by for a free [...]

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