For the crust, use your favorite pie crust recipe. You can use the ready make kind (I'm partial to the Pillsbury kind, especially now that they come in a roll instead of folded) or make the dough yourself. I have included my Mom's recipe for 2 Crust Pie Pastry if you'd like to try making your own.
My Dad loved pies above all other desserts. One of the first things I learned to make from scratch was a good pie crust. Pie pastry is made with very simple ingredients...flour, salt, water and shortening. The technique is the key to flaky pie crusts. My Mom had me read the how to section in the Fannie Farmer cookbook which explained not only what to do but why.
Key points include having all ingredients cold, using a light hand in cutting the fat into the flour, and also to use ice water, not just cold water, and to sprinkle the ice water into the flour mixture a tablespoon at a time (using a fork) so that you gradually moistened the dough. As each portion is dampened with the ice water, you push it aside. Even so over mixing is discouraged, so you can imagine how daunting the prospect was for beginning baker! The good news is that once you figure out just how to do it and how much ice water the flour needs to make a flaky dough, you don't forget how to do it. Maybe one day the Daring Bakers will have a challenge that includes making pie dough by hand.
These little tarts taste great with either peaches or nectarines. You could substitute blackberries for the blueberries, too. The crystal sugar sprinkled on the top of the pastry not only looks pretty, but adds a textural contrast that is a perfect complement to the soft, juice baked fruit.
2 Crust Pie Pastry
(Use half the amounts for one crust, or make two and save the second crust dough for your next single crust pie)
2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
ice water - have ½ cup or more ready
¾ cup shortening
Sift flour and salt into a bowl. With a pastry blender or 2 knives, cut shortening into flour until mixture resembles coarse meal. Sprinkle water, a tablespoon at a time, over mixture, stirring gently with a fork until all flour is moistened (usually 6 – 8 tablespoons). Press dough into a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill before rolling out. Divide dough into two pieces. (Some like to divide the dough and then wrap each in plastic wrap, flattening into discs before chilling.)
Roll out each piece on a lightly floured surface until it is slightly larger than the pie tin.
Makes 1 2-crust pie or 2 pie shells.
Peach Blueberry Tarlettes
1 recipe for 2-Crust Pie Pastry
5 ripe peaches, peeled, pitted and sliced
1 pint fresh blueberries, wash, picked over and drained
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons milk
2 - 3 tablespoons sanding sugar...larger crystal sugar if possible
Roll out the pastry and cut three discs from each crusts worth of pastry. I have a 5 inch in diameter cookie cutter ring, but you can also cut around a small plate's rim.
Place the 6 discs on a parchment or silicon baking mat lined baking sheet. Gather the remaining dough and use for another purpose. (We used to roll out again, brush with melted butter and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar, then cut into fingers and bake along with the pie, removing as soon as they were browned around the edges. Eating them made it easier to wait until after dinner for the pie.)
In a medium bowl, combine the peaches, blueberries, flour, sugar, and nutmeg. Spoon the filling into the center of each disc, making sure to leave an inch of dough uncovered all around the edge of each disc. Divide the filling among the discs as evenly as possible.
Have a small bowl of water nearby. Using clean hands, pull the edges of the pastry, on each disc in turn, toward the center, pleating as needed and moistening the dough surface as needed to have the pleats stick together.
Using a pastry brush, lightly brush the milk on the top of each pastry, then sprinkle with sanding sugar. (This step is optional, but makes a nice textural contrast and is pretty. I didn't have any sugar when I did these tartlettes, but I have used it in the past and recommend it.)
Bake tartlettes in preheated 400 degree F. oven for 15-20 minutes, or until pastry is browned and flaky.
Serve warm or cooled. Nice with whipped cream or ice cream garnish.