Blueberries are some of my favourite summer fruits. Whenever I buy them fresh, I rarely get a chance to enjoy them as my girlfriend so often clears out the punnet, leaving only a few mouldy blue pustules. I thought I was a genius in getting round this problem by buying frozen blueberries – they’re picked in season and frozen soon after, so they’ve always got the best flavour. And in baking, they’re every bit as good as fresh. Then I noticed my supplies start to dwindle. Turns out she’d been using them in her smoothies. Admittedly, they make very good smoothies. There are few better ways to showcase their stunning flavour and colour, fresh or frozen, than in this simple tart.
This recipe was actually conceived for my friend Paul’s birthday – birthday cake is so very common, and with the candles burning above it this tart looks particularly special. Using shop-bought pastry is fine, but go for the all-butter stuff if you do. The rest of this tart is as simple as mixing the ingredients for the frangipane together and sprinkling your fruit on top. If you fancy making your own pastry, I’ve tried to make my instructions below as simple as possible. Making pastry from scratch is quick and it’s easy and it’s far cheaper than getting that ready-rolled nonsense.
First, preheat your oven to 180C/160C fan/Gas 4. Grease a large tart tin with plenty of butter, getting right down into all the crevices. If you’ve got a loose-bottomed tin, use that.
In a food processor, blitz your butter and flour on a high speed until breadcrumb-like. Alternatively, you can rub these in by hand. Turn your breadcrumbs out into a bowl, and then add your cold water. Use a knife and then your hands to bring this together into a lump.
Wrap your lump of pastry in cling film then chill for as long as you can – at the very least 10 minutes, but anything up to 48 hours.
Turn your rested pastry out onto a floured surface, add more flour on top and flour your rolling pin. Roll out the pastry until it’s the exact thickness of a £1 coin (actually use a £1 coin to check) and place it over your tart tin. Tuck it in to all the corners and sides, and trim the edges to leave at least 1cm dangling all the way around.
To make your frangipane, melt your butter in the microwave, then add your sugar, almonds and eggs and beat to combine. Pour this into your pastry case, spread it out then drench in as many blueberries as you can fit. This is all of them.
Place in the preheated oven and bake for 35-45 minutes, or until your blueberries have turned a midnight purple colour and your frangipane has gone a dark golden brown. If in doubt, give it another 10 minutes.
Leave to cool, before trimming around the edges of your tin with a sharp knife to give a clean, straight line. Remove from the tin, and think about whether you want to ruin it by dusting icing sugar on it. 3 days out of 4, I probably would. Old habits.
For an extra blueberry hit, you can add a layer of jam beneath the frangipane. In a saucepan, heat equal quantities blueberries (fresh or frozen) and caster sugar until bubbling and soft. Spread a thin layer onto your pastry before spreading over your raw frangipane.