Sunday, 28 June 2009
If you had told me when I was a child that I would one day love blueberries, I would not have believed you. Nova Scotia, Canada, the place where I grew up, has some of the nicest wild blueberries in the world, just ripe and free for the picking. You can stop just about anywhere at the side of the road and find them just waiting to be picked.
I should know, because every summer my parents put us kids into slave labour, picking wild blueberries until we thought our arms would fall off. Hours and hours in the hot sun, bending down, and pick, pick, picking . . . I hated it. It seemed to take forever to fill up those gallon sized ice cream tubs.
My mom would put them into the freezer and all winter long we would be treated to blueberry pies . . . and cakes . . . and muffins.
When I first moved over here to the UK, blueberries were very hard to find and I discovered the magic of not being able to find certain food items that you have always taken for granted . . .
You start to crave them . . . things like all beef hotdogs and all beef bologna, not to mention Kraft Macaroni and Cheese Dinner and Captain Crunch cereal . . . but then I digress . . .
Blueberries . . . did you know that if all the blueberries grown in North America in one year were spread out into a single layer, they would cover a four lane highway that stretched all the way from Chicago to New York City? Neither did I until this morning. I reckon as a child I must have picked that four lane highway all the way to New York City and back again . . .
I'm happy to say I quite love them now and in recent years they have become readily available over here in the UK. In fact they are now grown and cultivated here.
I made this delicious blueberry tart yesterday for dessert as we had company and I confess . . . I ate a whole slice before dinner . . . even before the company came. It started out that I wanted to just take a picture without anyone being there . . . my guests are quite used to seeing desserts etc. with pieces missing you know . . . I couldn't help it though once I had one taste . . . before I knew it the slice was gone, the only sign of it ever having been there . . . the empty space in the tart tin and the tell tale blue around my lips . . .
I didn't even feel guilty having a second piece when it came time to serve dessert at the end of our dinner. I enjoyed . . . every . . . SCRUMMY . . . moreish mouthful!!! (and I'd do it again, if given the chance, so there!)
*Crunchy Blueberry Tart*
Imagine a tasty oatmeal cookie crust, filled with tart blueberries and topped with an oat crumble. This is to die for and quite simply the most delicious blueberry tart I have ever eaten. Adapted from a recipe in the book, "A Piece Of Cake," by Leila Lindholm.
For the crust:
6 ounces unsalted butter, softened
6 1/4 ounces of plain flour
4 3/4 ounces of caster sugar
2 1/2 ounces rolled oats
For the Filling:
9 ounces fresh or frozen blueberries
1 cup of blueberry jam
1 TBS balsamic vinegar
2 1/2 TBS cornflour
For the Topping:
3 ounces unsalted butter
4 ounces rolled oats
4 3/4 ounces caster sugar
Creme Fraiche for serving
Begin by making the crust. Pre-heat the oven to 180*C/350*F. Place the butter in a saucepan and melt. Whisk together the flour, sugar and oats. Stir this mixture into the melted butter, stirring well to completely combine. Press the dough into a 10 inch tart tin with a removable bottom. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.
To make the topping, melt the butter in a large saucepan. Whisk in the oats and sugar. Mix together well, and then set aside while you make the filling.
To make the filling, gently stir together the blueberries, jam and balsamic vinegar, mixing well. Stir in the cornflour. Pour this mixture into the oat pastry case.
Sprinkle the topping evenly over top and then place the tart onto a baking tray. Bake in the heated oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until the filling is bubbling and the topping is golden brown.
Remove from the oven to a wire rack to cool. Remove the side from the pan before serving. Serve cut into slices with some creme fraiche for spooning over if desired.