Sunday, September 18, 2011

Wild Blueberry Creme Fraiche Tart

It's wild blueberry season again! Wild blueberries a.k.a. my favourite thing about late summer (yes I do realize it is september! Summer's not over 'til the leaves change colour!) are teeny tiny blueberries that are tarter and cuter than their cultivated cousins.
This season, I decided to bake something less rustic, and more elegant. Enter the Wild Blueberry CremeFraiche Tart, a recipe I had been saving until I could get my hands on my favourite forest fruits. This tart is made of a simple filling of blueberries, sugar, flour and lemon zest nestled in a simple roll-out tart dough, huddling under a rich blanket of tangy smooth creme fraiche.

This is one of the easiest and most successful tart doughs I've ever used. It comes together quickly, and rolls without much cracking, to a thin layer that fits almost perfectly in the pan. The only problem is that weighting is really essential as the dough did shrink more than I would have liked. That said, it was soft,tender and golden brown even after stay of about 40 minutes total in the oven.
The wild blueberry filling is tart and satisfying. It holds it's shape when you cut into the tart, and the tiny berries burst in your mouth like fruity caviar. I added about a tablespoon of lemon zest to the original recipe and it was just the perfect amount to keep the blueberries tart but to emphasize their inherent blueberry-ness.

The creme fraiche topping gets added much like one would add a sour cream layer on a cheesecake, and in fact sour cream would probably make an excellent substitute if creme fraiche is not viable. The creme fraiche layers gets baked last after the blueberry layer has been in the oven for 20 minutes, and it is baked until it starts to bubble and brown in spots as the juicy blueberries burst through the creme layer in purple spots. The broiled creme fraiche topping really added a layer of creaminess to counterpoint the zesty blueberry filling, and give another texture to this dessert.
Another thing to note , is that this tart is best eaten the day it is made (if it lasts that long!), as after a few days in the fridge, the creme fraiche absorbed some of the juices from the blueberries and turned a vibrant shade of magenta, delicious magenta.

Wild Blueberry Creme Fraiche Tart
makes one 8 inch tart, about 8 servings.

Tart pastry:
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon water

  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1/4cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 3 cups wild blueberries
  • 3/4 cup creme fraiche
  1. To make pastry: Combine flour, sugar, salt and butter until coarse crumbs, using a pastry blender or your fingers. Beat together egg yolk, lemon juice, and water. Sprinkle enough lemon mixture into flour base to bring dough together. knead into ball. wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes.
  2. Roll to fill an 8-inch loose bottom tart pan. press into pan, trim excess and chill for 30 minutes or until firm.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  4. Place a sheet of foil or parchment on pastry and fill with rice or dried beans to weigh the pastry down. Bake for 15 minutes. remove foil and bake 5 minutes longer.
  5. To make filling: Combine flour, sugar and lemon rind. Mix with blueberries. place in tart pastry and bake for 20 minutes. Spread creme fraiche over blueberries and bake for another 30 minutes or until creme fraiche has bubbled and is slightly browned in places.
Adapted from: LCBO Food and Drink Magazine Summer 2005

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