Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Maine Wild Blueberry Cream Cheese Tart

I cannot believe it is already blueberry season again in Maine and to be honest it's been going a while and got started early this year just like everything else that is up to one month ahead of the usual plant schedule. So here is my Maine Blueberry via Blighty recipe for this year - Blueberry Cream Cheese Tart - another simple and delicious confection - made even simpler if you choose to purchase a pre baked/made pie crust - although if you're into making your own this recipe from Let Them Eat Cake Bakery here in Belfast is FANTASTIC and pretty easy to work with too - it's a nice sweet, very buttery rich and biscuit (cookie) like crust and never fails to delight and work perfectly - at least so far!! So let's get going so you can have your tart ready for this weekends Labor Day celebrations.

EASY PEASY SWEET TART CRUST:
Pre heat oven to 325F
Enough for one tart case 8” diameter or for me 2 nice ovals…nice and thin,
I am not a chunky crust personage so if you like a thicker pie crust make this for a smaller diameter pan:

1 1/2 cups/6ozs of unbleached white flour
1/2 cup/2ozs confectioners/icing sugar
1 stick + 1 tablespoon/ 4 1/2ozs butter VERY COLD
1 large egg yolk

1. Sift dry ingredients together into a medium sized bowl.
2. Grate the butter into the dry ingreds., and rub in until like breadcrumbs.
3. Add egg yolk and blend and squush carefully until the dough sticks together. This may take a little time but despair not it will come together - just don't let it warm up - pie crusts pastry should always be kept as cold as possible to make it flaky and divine.
4.Tear dough into big chunks…..place strategically in pie pan and start squushing to a create a smooth even covering of the entire pan…he beauty of this crust is that it does NOT shrink at all…it stays put…good crust!!...and it tastes like a really good shortbread…yum!!
5. Bob into the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
Remove from the fridge and prick the pastry all over with a fork - this is to prevent bubbles forming when you bake. Next I lined the pastry with parchment paper and weighed it down with split peas - you can use beans or pie weights but don't go down the road of popcorn as I did once - you can guess at those results.
Bake for about 15 minutes, remove from the oven, genteely lift the paper and weight from the shell and bob pastry back into the oven for about another 15 minutes - don't worry when you take the weights out if the pastry looks soggy and sad - it will improve by the next time you take it out of the oven :))

Keep your eyes peeled - you want the crust to be evenly browned as below - oh my - I have to say these came out PERFECTLY!!!!
and look - NO shrinkage!! weee heeeeee - so many times I have made pie crusts and when I take them out of the oven they are halfway down the side of the pan - disappointing to say the least.
Now let your cases cool completely and keep in a nice dry spot until you are ready to use them.
The filling ingredients - oops - minus the sugar!!

Wallaby Sour Cream is FANTASTIC avail yourself of it if you can - wow is it good!! At the Belfast Coop it is the exact same price as non-organic - an added bonus what?
FOR THE CREAMY PART:
4oz full fat cream cheese
2 fl oz/ 1/4 cup sour cream
2oz sugar
2 teaspoons lemon juice or more to taste
Grated zest of one lemon
Grated nutmeg to taste - I love nutmeg so I added plenty.
1. Cream all the above together until smooth - phew - that was hard!!
This is a really excellent cream which can be used for all sorts of things like dolloping on pies or on a slice of bread - whatever taste it and see!!
Simply dollop yummy cream into your prepared pie shell and smooth - as you can see mine isn't so smooth as I creamed by hand and had little lumps of cream cheese abounding and the zest gives a little texture too - but that's OK it doesn't affect the taste! 

  THE BLUEBERRY PART:
Now there's the easy way I gleaned from the book I used - "Country Harvest" - A Celebration of Autumn by Linda Burgess and Rosamond Richardson - a very informative and beautiful book with lots of good autumnal recipes.
EASY WAY
1 1/2 lbs Maine wild blueberries - the small ones - if you can get them
4oz/1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1. Gently cook the ingredients together until the juices run from the blueberries.
2. Continue cooking gently, but do not let get mushy, until the liquid gets syrupy.
3. Allow to cool and spoon over your tart.
THE HARDER WAY:Of course this is the way I chose and if I made these pies again I'd stick with the easy way as I lost some of the blueberry flavour in the jelly I made:
Same ingredients plus one package of either gelatin (non vegetarian) or 2 packages of Natural Dessert Unflavoured Jel - which is vegetarian and possibly also vegan.
I used the latter and made up the blueberries to 32 fl.oz or 4 cups total with water but you know I should have used blueberry juice and the results would have been MUCH better so if you go this way use blueberry juice - or another juice if you are feeling adventurous - apple would work well I think - anyhow -  and then followed the instructions from the packet - with the Natural Desserts you have to work quickly and it can be fickle and not set but it worked fine for me this time - apparently too much acid like lemon will stop it from setting though so the amount I used must have been fine. 
Ta dah my blueberry jelly (jello) worked fine but was not so flavourful because I used water :(( 
The blueberry barren next to our house was 'fallow' this year - commercially the crops only produce every other year - so here are some pictures from last years crop - they are so pretty - the blueberries I mean.  
This photo is available at my Etsy shop
After the crop has been picked - the Autumn colours are wonderful.
So Happy Labor Day weekend one and all - if you make the pie let me know how it came out and feel free to post your pictures of it on my Facebook page - Thanks!! 
HAPPY BAKING!! 
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