Blueberry Everything (& a French Lemon Tart)
I love blueberries! It might not be much of a revelation to you but to me it’s right up there with trying chocolate for the first time. In the past, blueberries have just seemed to be this bland thing only Americans could rave about. But now, I’ve prodly joined the clan. Blueberries are cute, fairy tale like and have a really soothing, subtle and happyfying taste. And I only just found out. Sorry Americans – you were right all along.
It all started last weekend…when I went with T to his parents’ summer house in Småland (a region in Sweden). There we went on a very fruitful (lame pun intended) scavenger hunt for the berries. And boy did it pay to be rained on that day! After an initial dry spell, we found an area where the berries were so abundant that I went into a frenzy, picking greedily at double speed and sitting in awkward positions that my ancient knees didn’t agree with. On that day the four of us picked about 800 grams of berries. Here’s my very own blueberry home video (which, as T rightfully pointed out, does have its similarities with The Blair Witch Project):
But that wasn’t all.
On the evening of the first hunt, I decided on a daredevil mission. I set out to make a French style lemon tart from two separate recipes to serve as a tangy counterpiece for the delicate blueberries. And guess what? It turned out to be the best I’ve ever made. The only thing is, I haven’t double checked the recipe since, so please tell me if yours doesn’t quite work out.
French Lemon Tart (recipe combo)
Tart Crust (from random marzipan manufacturer’s brochure)
- 150 grams flour
- 100 grams butter
- 2 tablespoons icing sugar
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tablespoon cold water
- A pinch of salt
- (I like to add about 1/4 crushed star anise and some vanilla seeds or 1/2 tsp blended vanilla pod)
For the crust, mix all ingredients into a heavy dough (make sure not to overwork it), wrap it in Vita Wrap and leave it to set in the fridge for 1-2 hours. Meanwhile, you can prepare the filling.
Lemon Filling (from Smitten Kitchen)
- 1 lemon
- 200 grams sugar (the 300 grams in the original recipe are highly unnecessary)
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 whole egg
- 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch (I used potato flour – worked as a charm)
- 115 grams butter, melted and cooled
(My recap of the recipe) Cut up the whole lemon (skin and all, but no seeds), and blend it into a smooth paste along with the sugar. In a new bowl, mix the lemon paste with the remaining ingredients until you have an even mixture. Keep it in the refrigerator until you start rolling out the dough for the crust. Set the oven at 200 degrees.
Take the dough from the fridge and place it on a lightly floured table. Start rolling out the dough into a round, thin sheet. Transfer the sheet to a regular sized tart pan and gently press it into place in alle the flutes and corners of the pan. When all the edges have been trimmed, take a piece of baking paper the size of your tart pan and roll it into a ball (makes it easier to work with). Unroll it again and place it on the pie dough in the pan. Then cover the paper with ceramic baking beans, or, if you don’t have any such silly things, regular old hard chick peas will do. The reason you’re doing this, is to prevent the crust from bubbling up and cracking as well as getting an even dose of heat throughout the crust. Put the tart pan in the oven and leave it there for 10 mins. Then remove the ceramic beans/chick peas and bake for another 5 mins without them. Pour in the lemon filling, but make sure to leave about 1/3 centimeter for it to rise. I baked it for about 15 mins with half the filling and then, when it had “curdled” on the crust and shrunk back a little, I added the rest and let it bake for another 10-15 mins. or so. I don’t know exactly how the original recipe ends up, but my haphazard method resulted in an almost hard, chewy and really really delicious filling with the most buttery, flaky and brown tasting tart shell I’ve ever made. I hope you’ll experience the same. And don’t forget to serve the tart with fresh blueberries.