Do you remember how everything was better when we were young? The summers endless and the sun brighter? I also clearly remember that wild blueberries were plentiful every summer. I remember how I went to the woods to pick them with my mother and how proud I felt when I managed to restrain myself enough from eating to actually fill my cup with berries. Our dashhund Bruno loved blueberries, too and learned to pick them from the low bushes. My mother was then, and still is, a much better “picker” than me. She even managed to pick a pint of blueberries twice this summer, which was no small feat because the berries were not plentiful. Two years ago all wild blueberries froze in a late frost (never happened in my childhood) and this year the late spring and a summer drought led to a serious blueberry scarcity.
Therefore, sadly, there were never enough berries to make our favourite kuchen but we made the most of what what we could and made blueberry ice cream and then blueberry filled dumplings and lastly this cake. It requires less blueberries but is still very much a berry tart. It is also conveniently easy to make. Even though it’s custard-filled, there is no chilling, rolling out and prebaking because the dough is actually a batter. You just use a spatula to smooth it into the baking form, making a low rim, throw in the berries, pour over the custard and in the oven it goes. The custard is made with sour cream with gives it a slight tang and spiced with nutmeg and lemon zest. The blueberries look like little purple bubbles in the cream custard – pretty! Also important.
Blueberry sour cream tart
From Deborah Madison: Seasonal Fruit Desserts: From Orchard, Farm, and Market
115 g (½ cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
60 g (1/3 cup) sugar
1/4 tsp salt
3 eggs, at room temperature
½ tsp vanilla extract
120 g (1 cup) unbleached flour
300 g (2 cups) wild blueberries
1 ½ tbsp all-purpose flour
3 tbsp unrefined sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1 tsp grated lemon zest
180 ml (¾ cup) sour cream
1 small egg or 1 large egg yolk
½ tsp vanilla extract
2 pinches of freshly grated nutmeg
Preheat oven to 175 degrees Celsius (350 F). Butter a 22 or a 24 cm (9 to 10 inches) round spring form. (You could also use a 20 to 22 cm square pan).
Beat the butter with sugar and salt until light and fluffy. This is of course easier with an electric mixer, but a wooden spoon and a bit of muscle will do nicely. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla, then flour and mix just to combine. Using a spatula, smooth the batter into the springform, pushing it up against the edges to make a slight rim. If the batter is very soft, refrigerate for 10 minutes to make it easier to handle, then finish shaping the sides.
In a medium bowl, toss the blueberries with the flour, sugar, salt and lemon zest. In another bowl or a jar, mix sour cream with the egg, vanilla and nutmeg. Scatter the fruit over the batten, then carefully pour over the custard. Bake until the custard is set, about 30 minutes. Remove and let cool briefly to serve slightly warm. Though it’s perfectly good the next day, too.
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