Blueberry and almond tart and 7 years on

My son's birthday is in October and every year, I try to come up with a new bake for that special day. Let's face it - I've been baking for a pretty long time and he's seen everything in my repertoire. No point asking him what he'd like either - the standard answer the past few years has been, "Anything Ma, whatever you want." Which sounds exactly as if he's indulging me!!

More than an year ago, the macaron baking bug had bitten me and in an attempt to making the perfect one, I had spent a small fortune on almond powder. This resulted in almost every shelf in my fridge (even the freezer) occupied by bags of almond powder... err...did I  say it was a "small" fortune?? I became a frequent visitor to the egg shop and the owner, seeing me buy dozens of eggs every week, once asked me if I was running a "hotel" ...duh!  My maid's eyes would light up with sheer happiness every time she saw me take out my macaron-baking paraphernalia  because she knew that she would be taking home plenty of egg yolks and "button biscuits" (she's seen and profits from my failures) for her kids the next day. Much angst, trial, error and pulling out of hair happened; the occasional batch turned out well but most of them didn't and "macaron" became a banned word in my house for some time.

So then, what to do with those packs of almond powder all over the fridge? Google assured me that there were fruit tarts I could make with it. Nothing could be simpler - a blueberry almond tart was going to be the birthday cake.

So you're wondering where I was going to get blueberries from in Chennai, right? Frozen
ones of course. Thaw them and they're just as good as fresh, maybe a little less messy on the bake. You need to make a sweet shortcrust pastry first and bake it blind. I add an egg to my pastry mix because I like how crisp the crust becomes but have done it without too. While the pastry is baking, make the filling and as soon as the pastry is ready, pour in the filling and pop it back into the oven. 45 minutes later, you can admire your beautiful tart. 

As I did. What we liked about it was that it was not too sweet but packed with flavour. The crust is buttery and the filling is little dense too, thanks to the almond flour which made slicing it a dream. Serve it with thick cream or a runny custard or ice cream. If you ask me, a sprinkle of icing sugar is all it actually needs. I kept mine unadorned because I had to write a message on it.

Also, I was given strict instructions not to place any of those *%*$#m******s on it (he's figured me out...sigh)!

Blueberry almond tart

Blueberry almond tart

Ingredients for pastry 
200 gm flour
1/2 tsp salt
3 tbsp icing sugar, sifted
1 egg, beaten
100 gm chilled butter, cut in cubes
Ice water to mix, as needed

Sift flour and salt into a mixing bowl.
Rub in the butter till the mix resembles breadcrumbs,
Stir in the icing sugar.
Make a well in the centre, add the egg and just enough water and mix lightly to form a dough.
If you need a little more water, add it in drops till the dough comes together  and does not crack when pressed.
Place in an airtight container and refrigerate for at least half an hour.
*It's important not to add too much water or to knead the dough.

Preheat your oven to 190°C.
Dust your work space with flour and roll out the pastry into an even circle.
Line a 9" flan tin with the  pastry, trim off excess.
Bake the pastry blind for 15 minutes, remove paper and beans and bake again for another 10 minutes.
Lower the oven temperature to 170°C.
(To bake blind, place a large sheet of baking paper over the pastry. Place baking beans over the sheet and place it in the oven. This helps partially cook the pastry and prevents it from puffing up.)

300 gm frozen blueberries
90 gm butter, at room temperature
170 gm sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp grated lime rind
1 vanilla bean, halved and scraped
150 gm almond powder

Place berries in a colander to thaw and drain.
While the pastry is baking, make the filling.

Cream butter and sugar for a minute.
Add in eggs, rind and vanilla bean paste, cream till light and fluffy.
Fold in the almond powder and lightly mix in the drained berries.
Spoon the filling into the prepared crust.
Bake the tart for about 40 minutes or till the filling is firm and golden.
Remove from the heat, allow to cool for about 15 minutes before unmoulding.

It's another trip around the sun for my blog and we're 7 years today. Thank you for reading, for commenting and for being in our orbit! And this image is just to show how far my mac journey too has progressed. I'm off to the store now to pick up more almond flour!


I can say it now - macarons!


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