Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Cooking with Mother (Blueberry & Almond Tart)

I spent last weekend at home in the beautiful county of Derbyshire to celebrate my Dad's 60th birthday with him and some of my family. There is always lots of talk of food when I'm with my mum and plenty of cooking too and this weekend, given its celebratory nature (!), was no exception. But by late afternoon on Saturday, although we'd been shopping for fresh ingredients for our main course for dinner, we hadn't decided on a dessert. We'd toyed with the idea of a rhubarb and almond tart as there's plenty rhubarb growing in the garden but just hadn't really got around to starting anything...

We eventually gave ourselves a kick start by making a batch of sweet pastry in the food processor, which we stuck in the fridge whilst we waited for further inspiration... It came in the form of frozen blueberries from the depths of the freezer and a jar of Mum's delicious homemade Bramble Jelly - a Blueberry & Almond Tart!

Mum makes fantastic jams, chutneys and marmalade (I can't vouch for the marmalade as I am not a fan, but Andrew tells me it's divine), my favourite being her blackcurrant jam - the 2006 batch. I'd never had her bramble jelly before and I noticed that I wasn't offered a jar to take home from the depths of the jam cupboard in the guessing why - she's keeping this one all for herself and who can blame her! It's quite simply delicious.

When it came to rolling out the sweet pastry, it wasn't having any of it. So in the end we gave up and just squished and pushed the pastry into the tart tin, plugging the tears and holes as we went along, before popping it into the freezer to chill. After blind baking it for around 20 minutes in the aga and another 5 minutes or so without the baking beans, we left it to cool slightly before slathering bramble jelly in the base of the pastry case, pouring over a generous amount of frangipan mixture and then adding our now defrosted blueberries.

By this point I think we (or at least I) had consumed a couple of glasses of Leffe and a glass of champagne so there is no chance of me remembering how long we baked it for but I do remember eating it. It's up there with my pear and almond tart that's for sure. The pastry was light, buttery and crumbly, without disintegrating completely when trying to pick it up on a fork, and the almond-y frangipan goodness worked well with the sweet bramble jelly and the slightly sharp, juicy blueberries. I'll be stocking up on frozen berries and nice jam ready for any unexpected guests this summer!

1 quantity of sweet pastry (8oz plain flour, 4oz butter, 1oz icing sugar and 2 eggs)

4oz ground almonds
4oz butter
4oz caster sugar
1oz plain flour
2 eggs

Jam (we used Mum's bramble jelly, but any good quality jam, like Bonne Maman blueberry, would be fine)


Make the pastry and chill for at least half an hour, then roll out to line a tart tin (I used a 12 inch high sided fluted tin) and chill again. Blind bake for around 20 minutes (without the beans for the last 5 minutes or so) at 180 - 200 C (depending on your oven). Make the frangipan by mixing all of the ingredients (except the jam and blueberries) together.

Spread as much jam as you like over the base of the part cooked pastry case (you'll need a good layer), then pour over the frangipan mixture and dot blueberries all over the mixture, pushing them into the mixture a little. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes until the tart is golden brown and the frangipan is set.

Enjoy a large slice with good company (or alternatively hide yourself away with the whole tart and eat the lot).

1 comment:

  1. No doubt all this glowing praise is to ensure you can come and cook again soon and because flatterery will get you everywhere and I'm your mum see you soon!!!!