Make a Commitment to the Queen of Hearts

Simple jam tarts are an old-fashioned treat and I’m bringing them back this St. Valentine’s Day with a new twist using preserves and fresh fruit. The easy crust is spread into a springform pan like sugar cookie dough. The heart-shaped tart just makes it more lovable.

Making a tart is a commitment and they’ll love your for it. So make one this year for those you love.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened at room temperature, not melted
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup blueberry preserves for tart filling
  • 1/2 cup blueberry preserves for glaze
  • 2 teaspoons Grand Marnier or other orange liqueur
  • 2 cups (approximately) fresh blueberries, rinsed and dried

DIRECTIONS FOR CRUST

Cream the butter, sugar and vanilla with a mixer. Blend in flour until combined. Spread the soft dough in a 9-inch springform pan (one with a removable bottom). The dough will resemble cookie dough, will spread thinly, but it will cover the pan. Use fingers to make sure dough is evenly spread on bottom and up sides, about 1/4 inch from the top. Bake in preheated 375⁰ oven on middle rack for 5 minutes and remove from oven.

DIRECTIONS FOR FILLING AND TOPPING

Spread 3/4 cup of blueberry preserves on the partially-baked crust. Return it to the oven and bake for about 15 more minutes or until crust is brown. Let cool completely and top with the fresh blueberries.

Glaze: Heat 3/4 cup blueberry jam in microwave and press through a strainer to retain the juice (discard any remaining berries). Stir in 2 teaspoons Grand Marnier into the glaze. Use a pastry brush to brush on the glaze on top of the blueberries. Store at room temperature.

The crust with baked preserves can be made a day ahead and top with berries and glazed when ready to serve.

Serves about 8.

Blueberry tart photo by Cindy Dyer.

 

 

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Winter White

The scene along Route 193 is one of brown bare branches against a white background (a cloudy sky or snow, depending on the day) accented with evergreens (holly and pine).These are the stark shades of winter.

Take inspiration from Mother Nature to decorate your table. Use white flowers, white candles, white dishes, all on a palette of browns and greens. Use fresh magnolia leaves, burlap runners, branches, pine cones, and fabrics in greens and browns.

Here I used a simple rectangular-shaped glass vessel and filled it with crystal rocks to hold white flowers in place (both found at Michaels). A brown runner and mossy green tablecloth made the white pop. White candles added a warm glow.

What’s the occasion? Maybe it’s a winter birthday or just a get together for northern folks who need to get out. Here are some ideas for food:

  • Dessert, coffee and a dessert wine or port
  • Soup or stew and crusty bread washed down with a hearty beer
  • Appetizers and drinks
  • A potluck supper
  • A full-course meal

Stay warm!