Sweet Almond Pastry:
1 1/4 cups (160 grams) all-purpose flour
Scant 1/3 cup (30 grams) almond meal (ground almonds)
2/3 cup (75 grams) confectioners (powdered or icing) sugar
1/4 teaspoon (1 gram) baking powder
1/4 teaspoon (1 gram) salt
Seeds from 1/2 vanilla bean (optional)
5 tablespoons (70 grams) cold unsalted butter, diced
3 large cold egg yolks (52 grams)
2 1/2 cups (375 grams) fresh blueberries, washed
1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated white sugar
1 tablespoon (10 grams) cornstarch
1 tablespoon (10 grams) freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon (1 gram) finely grated lemon zest (outer yellow skin)
1 1/2 cups (225 grams) fresh blueberries, washed
Sweet Almond Pastry: Sift the flour with the almond meal, confectioners sugar, baking powder, and salt. Place in the bowl of your electric stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment. (Can also use a hand mixer). Add the chunks of cold butter and beat on medium low speed until the mixture is mealy (grainy with no visible pieces of butter). Add the cold egg yolks and seeds from the vanilla bean (if using) and beat on low speed until the dough comes together (pastry will be yellow in color).
Place the pastry onto your work surface, gather it into a ball, and wrap in plastic wrap. Place in the refrigerator to chill for at least six hours (the pastry can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three days or frozen for up to three months). After the pastry has chilled sufficiently, place on a lightly floured surface, and roll into an 11 inch (14 cm) round. (To prevent the pastry from sticking to the counter and to ensure uniform thickness, keep lifting up and turning the pastry a quarter turn as you roll.) Place the round of pastry on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and chill in the refrigerator for about 15-30 minutes (to firm up the pastry which makes it easier to place in the tart ring).
Next, place a 9 inch (23 cm) tart ring or pan on a parchment lined baking sheet. Take the chilled round of pastry and gently place it into the tart ring or pan. Lightly press the pastry onto the bottom and up the sides of the tart ring (pan). Never pull the pastry or you will get shrinkage (shrinkage is caused by too much pulling of the pastry when placing it in the tart pan). With a sharp knife cut excess pastry from top of tart ring (pan). With the tines of a fork gently prick the bottom of the pastry. Cover the tart ring or pan and place in the refrigerator to chill while you preheat your oven and prepare the blueberry filling.
Preheat the oven to 400 degree F (200 degree C).
Blueberry Filling: In a small bowl mix together the sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice and zest. Place the blueberries in a large bowl. Add the sugar mixture to the blueberries and gently toss to combine. Evenly pour the mixture into the chilled pastry and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) and continue to bake until the pastry is golden brown and the blueberries have become soft and jam-like (about 25-30 minutes). Remove from oven and place on a wire rack. Top with the remaining blueberries (crown side up), pressing them gently into the hot blueberry filling. I like to make concentric circles with the blueberries, starting at the outside edge. Let the tart cool to room temperature before serving. If desired, serve with softly whipped cream or ice cream. Cover and store leftovers in the refrigerator.
Makes about 6 to 8 servings.
If you don't have a tart ring (or pan), this recipe might have you changing that. The first thing you will notice about this Blueberry Tart is how beautiful it looks with its concentric circles of fresh blueberries sitting on top of a cooked blueberry filling.
This tart begins with a sweet pastry crust which has a nice subtle almond flavor. It's easy to make and easy to roll out. The blueberry filling is similar to the filling used for a blueberry pie. Just mix a little cornstarch (to thicken its juices) with sugar (for sweetness), lemon juice and lemon zest. This mixture is placed in the unbaked tart shell and baked until the pastry is golden brown and the blueberries have broken down and become soft, almost like jam. Once the tart is removed from the oven, the next step is to place concentric circles of raw fresh blueberries, crown side up, on top of the warm blueberry filling. I digress, but did you know that blueberries were once called 'star' berries because of their star-shaped crowns. This tart is excellent warm, at room temperature, or even cold.
Blueberries are native to North America which means, if you live where they grow, you may be able to pick your own. For the rest of us there are cultivated berries which are much larger in size and lighter in color. Both types are wonderfully sweet with just a touch of tartness. If taste isn't enough to get you to eat these berries, their health benefits will; rich in antioxidants, high in fiber, high in potassium, and low in sodium. When buying blueberries, look for firm, plump, fragrant, dark blue berries with a dusty white bloom. The white bloom is the blueberry's natural protection against the sun and is a sign of freshness. Always check the underside of the container for any wet spots or staining. Discard any soft, moldy, or crushed berries.