Before this summer I’d never picked my own anything. I’m sure most generations previously in this country would have had large gardens and going to a pick your own ‘insert fruit here’ would have been something only recently created. Nevertheless, beyond picking fresh fruit up outside homes in the countryside, this nineties kid was raised with a small garden and a huge guava tree that my father, brother and I would enjoy a bounty of after breakfast every day in summer.
The closest I ever got to picking my own outside our property was to be allowed to jump out of the car with one of my parents and put some change into the honesty box. Now that I’ve gone and picked something with my own two hands, I’m suddenly far more interested in the options available as it’s something that screams of a simpler time.
Maybe it’s the illusion of a simpler time because I live in the here and now and needless to say I went blueberry picking a second time recently and there is still a bag of blueberries lingering in my refrigerator. I decided to try my hand at another recipe in which I could easily adapt and use some of the sweet blue, healthy jewels to decorate it with.
So this may be the last time I mention blueberries, write a blueberry recipe or talk about picking them for a while.
But I’m making no promises.
I can’t deny myself the little blue gems that scream it’s warm outside so go swim, play and don’t forget to wear sunscreen.
The original recipe comes from Jamie Oliver and those that love him (and there are countless who do) will know that the ingredients are easy to obtain and involve most things people would have lying around the kitchen. The shortcrust pastry recipe was easy and quite honestly, made me excited about making pastry again, because it has two ingredients I’ve never thought to include in other pastries I’ve made.
Note: Images were updated in early 2018.
Adapted from Jamie’s Italy
1/2 cup confectioners/icing sugar
Pinch of salt
2 cups plain flour
1/2 vanilla pod, sliced lengthways and seeds removed (or a teaspoon vanilla beans)
1/2 tablespoon lemon zest
2 egg yolks
2 tablespoons cold milk or water
1 vanilla bean
500g/1 pound mascarpone
3 tablespoons superfine/caster sugar
1 cup blueberries (or any other berries you have on hand)
To begin with, grease a tart tin lightly. Place the butter, sugar and salt in a bowl and cream. Rub in the flour then add the vanilla, zest and egg yolks.
When the mixture resembles breadcrumbs add the milk or water. Mix until its mixed to the point as a ball of dough, wrap in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for an hour.
Remove from the fridge, roll out and place in the tart tin. Then placing in the freezer for an hour. Preheat the oven to 180°C/355F and bake the pastry for 12 minutes or until lightly golden. Set aside to cool.
To make the filling, slice the vanilla bean in half lengthways and scrape out the seeds. Add the mascarpone, cream and sugar to the vanilla seeds. Whip until thick and creamy.
Place the filling into the cooled pastry and smooth out evenly. Place as many berries on top as you prefer (this is quite a creamy tart so you don’t want to go light on the berries).
Refrigerate until ready to serve, slice and serve.
Note: This keeps in the refrigerator, covered, for up to two days, but is best on the day of being made.