I spent America’s Independence Day at a party full of Englishmen. Evan and I went to a BBQ at the apartment of Tasha’s boyfriend, Ewan…a hilarious Brit with funny friends and a great view of Lake Union. We could practically reach out and touch the fireworks, it was that good.
Sometimes the 4th is uneventful, but with an unbelievable view of a fireworks show made possible by Seattle’s celeb chef Tom Douglas, great friends, lots of beer, and an excuse to whip up something delicious, this year we really gave Lady Liberty a run for her money. The ol’ gal didn’t look a day over 230, so I made her a special, patriotic birthday treat to celebrate the big day…and to impress my friends, obviously.
With fresh, organic blueberries from the farmers market, I made fun, pretty, and delicious mini blueberry shortbread tarts with lemon cream cheese filling and, of course, a slice of strawberry for color. They were amazingly adorable, fun to make, and sweet, fresh, and tangy all at once. Definitely an all American winner.
So, with blueberry tarts in one hand and fiery sparklers in the other, on a balcony full of Englishman (and above a balcony full of Canadians), we saluted the good ol’ U-S-of-A… while singing the only song about America the whole group knew all the words to… the American’s Funniest Home Videos theme song.
Red, White, and Blueberry Tarts
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
Preheat oven to 325, grease 18 cupcake tins. In mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and creamy. Beat in vanilla. Add remaining ingredients and mix just until combined. Divide dough into 18 even sized balls, and place one ball of dough in each cupcake tin. Press the dough to flatten, and press up the sides to create a small cup. Freeze dough (in tins) for 10 minutes. Bake for 10 minutes, then lightly prick the bottom of each shortbread with a fork to flatten bubbles, bake for another 8-10 minutes, until light and fluffy, but not browned and burnt. Cool in tins on rack for 5-10 minutes, then remove and cool completely.
For Blueberry Filling:
4 cups fresh blueberries, rinsed and dried
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Pinch of salt
Whisk together cornstarch and a tablespoon or two of water, set aside. Place 1 cup of the blueberries in a saucepan w/half cup water and lemon juice. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer and stir for 3 to 4 minutes. Stirring constantly, add the cornstarch, sugar, and salt. Stir until combined, and remove from heat. Gently fold in remaining 3 cups berries, until coated, and let sit at room temperature for 20-30 minutes.
For Lemony Cream Cheese Filling:
1 8-oz package cream cheese - softened
1 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
2 T powdered sugar
Juice from 1 lemon
Beat cream cheese until fluffy, add powdered sugar, sweetened condensed milk, and lemon juice, and beat until combined. Spoon into a pastry bag with a small tip, or a ziplock bag w/small cut in corner.
In each tart shell, pipe a small layer of cream filling and lightly sprinkle with lemon zest. Pile a tablespoon or more of blueberries into a mound, drizzle with more cream filling, and top with a sliced strawberry. Chill until serving.