Friday, July 4, 2008

Red, White & Blueberry

I love blueberries, so much that I frequently wear them, especially when I forget my splatter guard, aka apron. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways: on cereal, ice cream, blueberry sauce on ice cream, mixed with cream, yogurt, blueberry pie, cobbler, tarts, cheesecake, and by the handful.

A few years ago Time magazine put out a spiel about the top ten foods that “pack a wallop”. Blueberries made the cut. Lab tests suggest that blueberries extend the lives of rats, though it’s beyond me why anyone would want to do that. The rats also showed balance, coordination, and memory improvement (like how to get in and out of your home’s walls). I could use improvement with all three of those skills.

Improved memory helps in lots of ways. Such as:
· Exams
· High school reunions
· Anniversaries and birthdays
· Finding your car in a parking lot
· When you forgot your grocery list
· Why you went into that room
· Finding your way back home

Blueberries also have, on a fresh weight basis, the highest antioxidant capacity of all the fresh fruits and vegetables tested to date.

One of my life’s philosophies is to celebrate and savor the small victories. If all you do is keep swinging for the bleachers, you will have mostly dour days. Scoring with a new recipe is a small victory. Scoring with a blueberry recipe makes my week.

I had been searching for a tart recipe that was simple and wasn’t overwhelmed by compote, glaze, or a vanilla cream filling. (Not that I dislike any of that.) Nothing on Food Network inspired me.

A few weeks ago a Los Angeles Times piece turned me on to a blog called Chocolate and Zucchini. The blogger is Clotilde Dusoulier. There’s link on the right of this page. I should hate her because she is much too bright and worldly at the sub-prime age of 28. She writes about all things food-related in all of Paris’ arrondissements. Her recent book is Clotilde’s Edible Adventures in Paris.

Her latest blog included this recipe. I’ve converted the grams to ounces for metric system-challenged folks like me.

Tarte aux Myrtilles

Pie Dough
6 ounces flour
3 ounces sugar
3 ounces butter
Dash of milk

Filling
10.6 ounces fresh blueberries
1 tablespoon crème fraiche
1 tablespoon sugar
1 egg

· Preheat oven to 400 degrees, grease a 9-inch tart pan or line it with parchment paper.
· In a food processor, mix the sugar and butter until fluffy. (Butter should be at room temperature.) Add in the flour until the dough forms coarse crumbs. Add a dash of milk, and mix again. Pour this mixture evenly into your tart pan, and press the dough down to pack it and cover the surface of the pan, forming a little rim all around. Put in the oven and bake for 20 minutes.
· Take the pie crust out and lower the temperature to 360. Pour in the blueberries, and return to the oven for 15 minutes.
· Beat together in a small bowl the crème fraiche, sugar and egg. Take the tart out of the oven, pour the mixture evenly over the blueberries and return to the oven for another 15 minutes. Turn off the oven and leave it in for a final 15 minutes.
· Let cool completely, and sprinkle with a tablespoon of sugar just before serving.

Notes:
· I increased the blueberry portion to one pound. I need all of the memory help I can get.
· If you have bonded with your oven, you know that temps can vary. I only cooked the crust initially for 15 minutes.
· I’m going to try this with raspberries.

French cooking can be complicated, but at times deliciously simple, like this tart.

This will be our 4th of July dessert, but with the addition of a single raspberry in the middle. Happy Independence Day.

1 comment:

Auntie Barbar said...

I haven't laughed so much at any other's blogs; you're funny. But you forgot one thing that blueberries would be good for--remembering your reusable grocery bags!!!