Friday, 28 August 2009

The 21st Century Housewife's© Blueberry Tart


I'm not sure if I had ever tasted blueberries before my Kindergarten teacher read "Blueberries for Sal" by Robert McCloskey to our class, but I know I was fascinated with them from then on. I love blueberry anything - from pancakes to pie - and I love eating them straight too. I was thrilled when I found out that blueberries are amongst the fruits with the highest antioxidant activity. They are at their peak at the moment, and as my friend was visiting with her two sons last weekend, I decided to make a dessert with my favorite fruit. I was going to make a blueberry pie, but then I thought it might be more fun to get a bit creative, and my blueberry tart was born.

It's a delicious recipe; the orangey hit of the Grand Mariner is the perfect foil for blueberries. You could add some grated orange peel to intensify this if you wanted to, although I did not have any so left it out. Anyway, the blueberries were so scrumptious they really did not need much enhancement! It's also really easy, with a no-roll pastry that makes it a quick recipe to put together.

A tart this size will serve six, and it's really yummy with a scoop of good vanilla ice cream on the side. I'd serve this anytime - at a formal luncheon, on its own for tea, or as a dessert at a dinner party. I'm not sure I'd be able to justify eating it for breakfast, but if I could, I certainly would!


For the crust:-

125 grams cold butter, diced in small cubes
200 grams plain (all-purpose) flour
50 grams ground almonds
2 tablespoons caster or granulated (white) sugar
(vanilla sugar is lovely if you have it)
2 - 3 tablespoons milk

For the filling:-

2 - 3 tablespoons blueberry conserve or good fruity jam
(I use Bonne Maman)

40 grams butter, melted
100 grams white sugar
90 grams ground almonds
10 grams plain flour
1 egg, lightly beaten
3 tablespoons half fat crème fraîche
1 tablespoon Grand Mariner or Cointreau
1 cup fresh blueberries, washed and drained

For the topping:-
1 - 2 tablespoons white or demerera sugar

To make the pastry, blend together the butter, flour, ground almonds and sugar until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. You can do this in a mixer or food processor or with a pastry cutter. Now gradually add the milk, tablespoon by tablespoon, until the mixture just begins to cling together and you can form it into a ball. (You may not need the whole 3 tablespoons of milk.)

Dust your hands with a little flour and press the mixture into a fairly deep 10 inch (25 centimeter) round pie plate, working the pastry up the sides until you have formed a proper crust. (There is nothing to stop you rolling this pastry out if you want to, but I’m not a big fan of rolling pastry out, so I simply press it into the pan.)

Using a pastry brush, brush the blueberry conserve over the bottom of the crust, covering it completely. Set the pastry case aside.

Blend together all the remaining filling ingredients except the blueberries until smooth. Now fold the blueberries gently into the batter and pour evenly into the crust.

Sprinkle the tart with the 1 - 2 tablespoons white sugar. Bake at 170℃(about 350℉) for about twenty minutes and then turn the oven back to about 150℃ (about 300℉) and cook for another five to fifteen minutes, depending on your oven. The filling should be well set when the tart is cooked and it should be a lovely golden color. You have to really watch this tart to make sure it does not over brown. I also always turn the pie plate half way through cooking to ensure it browns evenly.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool a bit before serving. Leftovers (if you have any!) can be stored in the fridge for about twenty-four hours.

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