I went blueberry picking not so long ago (check out the post by blueberry picking), and now, I am compelled to make all things blueberry! I went with my friend Lisa, and between the bunch of us, we picked nearly 20lbs. Now the running joke is to casually say when we are asked what is for dinner; “blueberry pasta” or “blueberry marinated pork chops” or “duck a la blueberry” or, just plain old, “plate of blueberries!”
I do like blueberries, but I can’t say that I absolutely love them (I can hear the incredulous gasp right now!). Since they were not native to the country I grew up in, they are still a strange fruit to me. I remember the first time I had breakfast in a diner. I just had to order the pancakes (another very unfamiliar food to me) bespeckled with those little blue jewels. I remember how mild they tasted and how the consistency was not really berry-like, but more like a jelly. Why then did I go blueberry picking?
Well, this might sound quaint, but, it felt like such an American thing to do. I had to have this experience. Consequently, I had the best morning ever, and I vowed to love blueberries from then on.
My favorite way to eat a blueberry is completely raw, untouched by the cooking process. I wanted to make a dessert that left my blueberries in tact, and, I think I hit on something fantastic! I used mascarpone cheese for the filling and knew that the usual practice is to add eggs and sugar to it. I winged the quantities and it worked out great.
But, one of the most interesting things I want to tell you about this recipe has to do with the mascarpone cheese. The cheese itself is an Italian triple-cream cheese made from creme fraiche. That all sounds very Italian, right? However, to my delight, I found out it was first produced in the south of Ireland in the early 17th century! I’m going to make an educated guess and say it was first discovered by some industrious monk, who had a happy accident involving a bucket of milk! The monks are responsible for all sorts of wonderful culinary delights, not to mention masters of turning hoppy wheat into beer.
OK – now I love blueberries, or at least, I love them like this. This tart is a real show-stopper, easy as pie to make (ha ha), and the blueberries not only look beautiful, but are a great balance for the creamy, lightly sweetened cheese. We had a slice after dinner, but, I have to confess, it tasted just as spectacular with my cup of coffee the next morning.
You will need: 14 chocolate graham crackers OR 4 cups chocolate teddy graham crackers, 4 tbs unsalted butter, 2 eggs, 3 tbs sugar, 1 lb mascarpone cheese, 2 or 3 cups fresh blueberries. 1 fluted tart pan (11 x 1 1/4″ with removable bottom if possible)
1 – Pulverize crackers in food processor until it has turned to a meal.
2 – Melt butter on low heat and slowly add to the processor through funnel as it is spinning.
3 – Empty contents into tart pan and spread evenly. Press down firmly, but gently until it feels like a solid mass.
4 – Separate egg yolks and egg whites, putting each in a separate bowl. Add sugar to the yolks and whisk until the mixture becomes creamy (about 4 minutes).
5 – Whisk whites until they become nice and foamy (about 4 minutes). Put the mascarpone into the bowl with the egg yolks and mix together gently. Fold in the egg whites until they are fully incorporated.
6 – Spread mixture into tart pan and spread evenly. Top with lots and lots of blueberries. Chill in fridge for at least 2 hours before serving.
Slice immediately upon taking it out of the fridge and watch it disappear!