Blueberry Cornmeal Shortbread Tart

March 28, 2023
2 Ratings
Photo by Chris Bernabeo
  • Prep time 20 minutes
  • Cook time 55 minutes
  • makes 1 (9-inch) tart
Author Notes

If you told me I could never bake a pie or a galette ever again but I could have this tart—that would be fine by me, because this tart does everything a pie or galette should do, almost better. It’s crunchy, it’s buttery, and it gorgeously celebrates your summertime fruit with minimal interference, low effort, and high reward. No crust to chill, no cake batter to second-guess, only one cornmeal-laced streusel-y topping that also functions as the crust (two birds, one very golden delicious stone). While I truly believe blueberries to be The Chosen Ones here (no cutting required, excellent juiciness, high pectin content for proper thickening), you should feel open to mixing your berries.

This tart is a prime candidate for baking in “whatever you have around.” Tart pan, pie plate, square baking dish. It is also easily doubled to make in a 9×13-inch pan for more of a “bar” and less of a “tart.” —Alison Roman

Test Kitchen Notes

Do ahead: Alison says this cake can be made up to 4 days ahead, wrapped and stored at room temperature, or refrigerated.

Reprinted from “Sweet Enough” Copyright © 2023 by Alison Roman. Photographs copyright © 2023 by Chris Bernabeo. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Random House.

What You'll Need
  • For the crust and topping
  • 1 1/2 cups (220 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup (55 grams) medium-grind cornmeal
  • 1/3 cup (40 grams) confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/4 cup (50 grams) light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon (4 grams) baking bowder
  • 1 teaspoon (4 grams) kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 sticks (6 ounces/170 grams) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • For the filling
  • 1 pound (455 grams) blueberries or a combination of blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries
  • 1/2 cup (110 grams) light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons (30 grams) apple cider vinegar or fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons (20 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 pinch kosher salt
  1. Make the crust and topping: Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, confectioners’ sugar, brown sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add the melted butter, then use your hands or a wooden spoon to combine the ingredients until a coarse little dough comes together, with no obviously dry spots.
  2. Press three-quarters of the cornmeal mixture into a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. (Alternatively, use a 9-inch round cake pan, 9-inch springform pan, or an 8x8-inch pan lined with parchment.) Make sure the mixture is evenly pressed on the bottom and about ½ inch up the sides. (Using something like the bottom of a measuring cup will be helpful.) Place the tart shell on a sheet pan and pop it (and the remaining cornmeal mixture) into the fridge while you prepare the filling.
  3. Make the filling: In a medium bowl, toss the blueberries, brown sugar, vinegar, flour, and salt together. Pour the fruit into the crust. Crumble the remaining cornmeal mixture over the blueberries, pressing the mixture together into large clumps as you go, as you would with a crisp or coffeecake topping (it won’t cover the top entirely; just a nice sporadic covering, to allow the blueberries and their juices to poke through).
  4. Bake until the filling is bubbling, and the crust and top are nicely browned, 50 to 55 minutes. Let the tart cool completely before serving.

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Alison Roman is a cook, writer and author of the bestselling cookbook "Dining In," published by Clarkson Potter in Fall 2017. Her second cookbook "Nothing Fancy," is now available. She is a bi-weekly columnist for the New York Times Cooking section, as well as a monthly contributor to Bon Appétit Magazine. Originally from Los Angeles, she lives in Brooklyn until she decides to move upstate like everyone else.

2 Reviews

Cathy April 9, 2023
My family loved this, and it was super easy! I am going to experiment with the fruit fillings this summer (peach? Strawberry rhubarb? all rhubarb? tri-berry but in segments/stripes?). Will definitely have to account for fruit juices to avoid the crust potentially sogging out, but we really loved this blueberry version. I think I'll also try decreasing the sugar in the filling a bit, but I wanted to give Ms. Roman a shoutout for an EXCELLENT crust, what a great backbone recipe for someone who's very intimidated by pie. Thank you!!
Smaug April 6, 2023
While this did not revolutionize my thinking about pie crust, it did work well and produce a nice pie. I would really recommend sifting the dry ingredients (less the brown sugar) together; it does the best job of mixing and will isolate any lumps; don't know why sifters are in such disfavor nowadays. Mixing in the butter took a bit of doing; you might want to use a mixer with the paddle attachment, though it's by no means necessary. The texture is quite crumbly, yet it holds together well enough to pick up a piece of pie to eat it. I think I'd prefer a little less sugar in the crust and a little more in the topping, but it does a nice job in double duty. The filling is pretty standard; It'll be as good as your berries.