Ok, so we all know I am a sucker for a bargain, which means when I spotted a kilo of luscious, juicy looking blueberries at the market today for only €4 they went directly in my basket without a second thought. After a seriously soggy start to the week, with rain, storm clouds and flood warnings from our local river, the Isar, today dawned bright and sunny, making me long for all those delicious, summery treats that the warmer months bring.
Chief among my favourite summer foods are fruit tarts, and the one I have for you today is an absolute cracker. I’ve been making this for years in various incarnations as it’s quick, easy, very forgiving for first time pastry makers and looks, not to mention TASTES incredible. Topped with crunchy, golden almonds it could easily be in the window of a fancy bakery. Today I made it with blueberries (yum!) but it works just as well with all other berries, soft stone fruits like peaches, apricots or plums or even with jam. In a pinch you can even use well drained frozen berries, but I think the fun of this tart is cooking with the fruit of the season.
This is one of my favourite sweet pastry recipes as it is made in seconds in the food processor and doesn’t need to be rolled out at all, just blitz it up then press it into the pan. Quick, easy, delicious, tick, tick, tick!
One word of warning! If you have ever cooked with nuts before, on the stove top or in the oven, you’ll know they can turn from golden brown to charcoal black within seconds. Keep an eye on this tart in the last 10 minutes of cooking time so it doesn’t overcook. I actually draw up a chair and sit in front of the oven for the last 5 minutes so I can make sure it is exactly the colour I like it!
Blueberry & Almond Tart
for the pastry:
- 200 g plain flour
- 175 g unsalted butter
- 100 g sugar
- 75 g cornflour / cornstarch
- ½ tsp baking powder
- pinch of salt
- 2 Tbsp cold water
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
for the filling:
- 400 g blueberries, or other, see above
- 2 Tbsp sugar
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1 ½ tsp cornflour / cornstarch
for the topping:
- 50 g unsalted butter
- 25 g sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 150 g flaked almonds
- 50 ml milk
- Grease a 26cm loose-based tart tin with butter, dust with flour, then set aside. Put the flour, butter, sugar, cornflour, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of a food processor with the blade attachment fitted and process until the mixture is fine crumbs. With the motor running, pour in the water and vanilla extract and continue processing until the mixture clumps together in a ball.
- Turn the dough out into the prepared tin, then use your fingers to spread it evenly over the base and up the sides of the tin. This pastry is almost like a paste, so keep pressing and spreading the pastry until the tin is evenly covered. Place in the freezer while you prepare the filling, or for at least 15 minutes.
- Heat the oven to 180°C / 350°F / Gas 4. To make the filling, heat half of the blueberries in a small pot, together with the sugar and lemon juice. Cook gently, stirring over a low to medium heat until the berries begin to bubble and throw off their juices. Use the spoon to break them up a bit, then mix the cornflour with 1 tablespoon of water and stir into the mixture, stirring until it thickens. Turn off the heat, stir in the remaining berries and set aside.
- To make the topping, heat all the ingredients together in a small saucepan until the butter is melted. Stir well to combine then remove from the heat.
- To assemble the tart, remove the base from the freezer, pour in the berry mixture, spreading it evenly across the pastry. Spoon over the topping, making sure the berries are completely covered, place on a large oven tray and bake in the preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes until golden brown, keeping a close eye on the almonds in the last 5 minutes of cooking time.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before slicing and serving with whipped cream or ice cream.
TIPS & TRICKS:
Chilling the dough after you’ve pressed it into the tin means that it will keep it’s shape in the oven – 15-30 minutes in the freezer is perfect!
Try this with other soft fruits, berries or stone fruits are delicious with this recipe.
Do make sure to put your tart tin on a baking tray, just in case any juice bubbles over, trust me it’s easier to clean a tray than the bottom of the oven.
The easiest way to get the tart out of the tin is to stand it on a tin of tomatoes or beans, gently ease down the tart ring and slide onto a plate.