Tarts and ices: a summer treat
Cooked blueberries, no matter how skillful the cook, have a lumpen quality, an awakwardness at the bottom of the plate that is lacking in cooked peach or apple. The color, deep purple, is so persistent. The taste, too, is dark purple.A cooked blueberry is serious business.
I always wish it were something else. To me, the completely cooked fruit should be sparse and the power of its flavor enchanced by the surrounding muffin , cake or pudding, a dark dot in a field of vanilla.
An open-face blueberry tart has the best of both worlds. The fruit is sweetened and baked in a cooked shell only long enough to make the juices run, but not disturb the berry's perfect symmetry.
A spoonful of blueberry ice tastes something like a handful from the bush, and is enhanced by a companionable spoonful of whipped or ice cream. Open-face Blueberry Tart Pastry: 1 cup unsifted all-purpose flour 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/4 cup sugar 3 tablespoons cold lard 3 tablespoons cold butter 1 large egg Water, if necessary Filling: 1 quart blueberries, washed and picked over 1/2 cup sugar 1 lemon, juice and grated rind 1/2 cup light cream 2 large egg yolks, beaten 1/2 cup sugar 1/8 teaspoon salt
Combine flour, salt, and sugar in a bowl and cut in lard with a pastry blender until mixture is the texture of coarse meal. Cut in butter until largest portions of dough are no larger than a pea.
Add beaten egg and stir with a fork until it forms a ball and cleans bowl.If it doesn't come together, add water a teaspoon at a time until it does. Wrap ball in wax paper and let rest in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
Roll out dough on a lightly floured board 1/8-inch thick, fit into 9-inch pie plate without stretching, and crimp edges decoratively. Chill 30 minutes.
Prick bottom and sides generously with tines of a fork, line with wax paper and weigh with rice of dried beans.
Bake in preheated 425 degrees F. oven 10 minutes. Remove wax paper and bake 5 minutes more, or until lightly brown. If dough bubbles up, prick with fork to release air. Remove to a wire rack and reduce oven to 375 degrees F.
Toss blueberries with sugar, lemon juice, and rind and pour into cooked pie shell. Return to oven for only 10 minutes. Cool slightly.
In the meantime, prepare topping. In a small pan, combine cream, egg yolks, sugar, and salt and beat well. Cook over moderately high heat, stirring constantly, until the custard has thickened. Do not let it boil or egg will scramble.
Remove from heat and place saucepan in a larger pan of ice cubes and cold water to cool slightly. Pour over the warm tart, bring to room temperature and refrigerate. Blueberry Ice 1 pint blueberries, washed and picked over 1/2 cup cold water 1 cup granulated sugar 1 cup boiling water 1/2 cup strained lemon juice 1 egg white
Place blueberries in container of blender or food processor with cold water and 1/4 cup sugar. Blend until mixture is a puree, and pour into a 1 1/2 quart stainless steel bowl.
Combine remaining sugar, boiling water, and lemon juice and stir until sugar is dissolved. Add to blueberry mixture and mix thoroughly. Beat egg white until stiff, but not dry, and fold into blueberry mixture.
Place in coldest part of freezer. When ice begins to freeze around the edges , stir toward center, checking every half hour and repeating until mixture is slushy.
Beat with a rotary egg beater and return to freezer. Repeat at least once more until ice is quite solid.Serve immediately, or pack into quart container, cover, and store until needed. Makes 1 quart.