Afternoon tea is such a treat. With the generous selection of crustless sandwiches, beautiful scones served with jam and cream, and the mesmerising array of pretty patisserie bakes, I would happily indulge in this classic British tradition everyday if it weren't for the calories!
As afternoon tea is known for its small, dainty bakes and having a set of 6 petite tart cases in the cupboard and some recently foraged bilberries in the fridge, a dainty, individual bake was called for to mark Afternoon Tea Week (8th - 14th August).
These individual bilberry tarts with a lattice crust certainly fell into the petite category having measured just 6cm across! They're just so dainty! The lattice crust exposed the wonderful colour of the fruit so well. Purple. Jammy. Fruity. Delicious. Bilberries!
Now due to the dainty size of these bilberry tarts, the lattice crust was easy to achieve requiring a total of just 6 narrow strips of pastry, three laid horizontally and three vertically. The printable recipe below describes how to easily achieve a 'weaved' effect to the lattice crust, but of course if you're short of time or simply don't fancy being so precise then your individual tarts would look just as lovely and inviting 'unweaved' (ie the three vertical strips of pastry simply laid over the horizontal strips). The weave itself can be built either on a sheet of greaseproof paper which allows the lattice crust to be easily transferred to the top of the tart without disturbing the fruit, or it can be built directly on the tart itself, as I did. Both methods work well, it's just a case of using the method which works for you.
Recently I shared with you another recipe containing bilberries, individual Bilberry and Custard Crumble Tarts. Knowing that these little purple beauties produce a lot of juice I chose to blind-bake the pastry case in that bake, which worked well. In this bake, however, I sprinkled ground almonds onto the base of the raw pastry case to avoid that dreaded 'soggy bottom'. As you can see from the image beneath, the ground almonds have done their job brilliantly by soaking up the excess juice! Of course, if you're catering for somebody with a nut allergy you could blind bake the pastry case first and then mix a little cornflour into the berries before filling the cases. Alternately, another trick is to paint the blind baked pastry case with egg white, which helps to create a barrier between the juicy fruit and the delicate pastry.
Regulars to Only Crumbs Remain may have noticed that this is the third bilberry recipe I've shared this summer. They're so delicious, and are full of antioxidants. Mr E & I are lucky being able to forage for them locally, but if you're keen to try this fabulous fruit and don't live near areas of acidic soil (think moors of heather) where they grow, jars of Krakus bilberries can easily be bought from high street Polish shops or on-line at Bakers and Larners for £4.15 for a 460g jar (correct as of August 2016). Alternatively, if you enjoy gardening or have an allotment, you could consider purchasing a bilberry plant, though you may need to consider growing it in a container as it requires acidic soil.
So, let's get to it and bake.
Hands on time: 40 - 45 mins Cook time: 30 - 35 mins Yield: 6
- 6 x Mini Tartlet Tins (ours measured 6cm x 2cm)
For the Sweet Pastry (Pate Sucree)
- 137g Plain Flour
- 50g Unsalted Butter, chilled & diced
- 50g Icing Sugar
- 1 Large Egg, lightly beaten
For the Tart Filling
- 100g Bilberries
- Zest of half a Lemon
- 1 tbsp Sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
- 3 tsp Ground Almonds
a) The pastry can be chilled for a day or two before use.
b) If you prefer, the lattice weave can be built on a small piece of grease proof paper which allows the design to be easily transferred to the top of the tart.
c) The pastry off cuts could be used for making jam tarts or a currant slice, for instance.
d) Other small fruits such as black currants or blueberries would be great if you're unable to source bilberries.