Friday, September 2, 2011
Holding On To Summer with a Fresh Blueberry Tart
This weekend we’re trying to grasp onto the last bits of summer here. My boys return to school next week (they’re both in high school this year ... where does the time go?) and before the whirl of a schedule begins we have a few days to savor. At the moment, I’m looking out the window at an overcast sky that promises to burn off and give us a sunny day. I love this early morning feeling of a glorious day ahead.
I’m also remembering last weekend when our family went over the mountains to Winthrop for a quick little get away. It was a fun blast of summer with lots of hot sun, stunning mountain views, Mexican food eaten by the river, dripping ice cream cones (again by the river), watching Hot Fuzz and relishing the lazy feelings of August.
Rather than driving back over the mountains, we wound our way home along the Columbia River and through acres and acres of beautiful orchards. Dotting the side of the road were farm stands selling peaches and apricots from the orchards, blueberries, sweet corn and tomatoes. It was dusk and the stands were closed, otherwise we’d have been making many stops. As we neared our house in Seattle, I asked Bob to slow down so I could read the hand-written sign posted on our neighborhood berry stand - would there still be blueberries this week? Yes! I gave a big sigh of happiness.
Knowing the season is nearing its end, I want the blueberries to shine. For the rest of the year, frozen blueberries can be substituted when baking muffins or tossed in to my morning oatmeal, but right now I want to taste these sweet berries in a dessert where they are fresh and pop in every bite I take.
With this in mind, I played around with a recipe clipped from Bon Appetit long ago to create a fresh pastry which satisfies this desire. This blueberry tart is a gorgeous way to showcase the end of summer and is quick to make. Indulge in a slice (or two) and soak up a few more moments of summer over Labor Day weekend.
Fresh Blueberry Tart
Adapted from Bon Appetit
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small cubes
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a food processor, blend the flour, sugar and salt. Add the butter and pulse until clumps form. Gather the dough into a ball and press it over the bottom and sides of a 10-inch tart pan with removable bottom. Pierce the bottom with a fork all over and bake for 25 minutes. Let cool completely.
1/2 cup agave syrup
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
6 cups fresh blueberries
Stir the agave syrup, cornstarch, salt and lemon juice in a medium saucepan to blend. Add butter and 2 cups of blueberries. Cook over medium heat until mixture thickens and boils a bit, stirring a few times. Remove from heat and gently mix the remaining 4 cups of blueberries in. Pour the filling into the prepared crust and spread evenly.
Chill the tart, uncovered, for at least an hour. (You can prepare the tart 1 day ahead, just cover loosely with foil and keep in the refrigerator.) When ready to serve, remove tart from pan and cut slices.