Today is pie day. I found out yesterday, so I decided to make a blueberry jam pie, or tart. Or more like blueberry paste, since it´s quite solid. This is a fairly new ingredient, sold in round 5kg (over 10 pounds) tins. A friend gave it to me. He owns a bakery and we decided to try and see if it was something worth considering.
Blueberries are very popular in many countries, but they refuse to take up permanent residence in this one. They are easily found and everything, but most people don´t find their taste, or sometimes lack of, appealing. Like there is an expected sweetness that´s missing when you taste it.
The first thing that came to my mind was a variation of the linzer torte. Something spicy to counteract a sugary filling. A few days later I saw a similar tart being made by one of our most popular TV chefs. She, together with her aunt, were doing a variation of our very popular pasta frola with blueberry instead of quince paste. This is a very homey tart. Perfect for tea. Or mate.
The dough is easy to make in a food processor and can be used for so many different fillings. I change the flavor accordingly. Most times it´s lemon zest and vanilla. A very good base recipe.
BLUEBERRY JAM PIE
Note: You can use a good thick, chunky blueberry jam. Use it directly from the jar without adding lemon juice and water.
1/2 to 3/4 of the whole recipe for Pasta frolla (recipe below)
1 1/2 cups solid blueberry paste or jamJuice of ½ a lemon
¼ cup water
Confectioners´ sugar for dusting (optional)
Roll 2/3 of the dough and line rectangular pan with removable bottom. Chill for 1 hour.
In a small saucepan heat blueberry paste with lemon juice and water. Mash it with a fork just until it softens. Cool.
Preheat oven to 350ºF/180ºC.
Fill pie shell with blueberry mixture.
Roll remaining 1/3 dough and cut strips with a pizza wheel or sharp knife. Make a lattice top with the strips of dough and bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until crust is starting to color.
Cool on wire rack. Dust with confectioners´ sugar before serving.
PASTA FROLLA II
from the great book The Italian Baker, by Carol Field
Note: I always do this dough in the food processor. So easy and fast.
2 ½ cups (300g) pastry flour or a combination all-purpose and cake flour, sifted
½ cup (100g) sugar
Pinch of salt
1 ¾ sticks (200g) unsalted butter, at cool room tº and malleable
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Grated zest of 1 lemon
By hand: Place the flour, sugar and salt in a bowl and stir to mix. Cut the butter into small pieces and cut it into the flour mixture with a pastry blender, your hands (without overworking it please) or 2 knives until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Slowly stir in first the egg and then the egg yolk, the vanilla and lemon zest, mixing thoroughly. Gather the dough together and knead it roughly and briefly on a lightly floured surface just until the dough comes together.
By mixer: Cream the butter and sugar in a mixer bowl with the paddle attachment until pale and creamy. Add the egg, egg yolk, vanilla and lemon zest, one at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition. Add the flour and salt and mix until the dough comes together and is consistent but still soft. Be careful not to over mix or the pastry will be tough.
By processor: Place the flour, sugar and salt in a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Cut the butter, which must be cold, into small chunks and scatter over the flour. Process with 4 to 6 pulses until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Mix the egg, egg yolk, vanilla and lemon zest. With the machine running, pour the egg mixture through feed tube and process just until the dough comes together on top of the blade. Do not process until it gathers into a ball or the pastry will be tough. Knead the dough very briefly on a lightly floured surface just until it is no longer sticky.
At this point you may pat the dough into place in a buttered tart pan and bake it immediately after chilling. Otherwise, divide it into thirds or halves, depending on the size of the tart you are planning to use, or flatten the whole amount into a disc.
For 11×8-inch tart shell, use 1 pound (450g) dough.
For a 9- or 10-inch round tart you will need about 9 to 10 oz. (250 to 300g) dough.
For 8-inch tart shell use about 8oz. (225g) dough.
For ten to twelve 3 ½ inch tartlets use 12 to 16 oz. (340 to 450g) dough, rolled and cut into rounds.
Chilling: Wrap the dough with plastic wrap or aluminum foil, and refrigerate at least 1 hour but no longer than 1 day.
Shaping: Let the dough stand at room tº until it becomes a bit malleable before rolling it out. Knead briefly on a lightly floured surface to loosen it and make it supple enough for shaping. Roll the dough out about ¼ to 3/8 inch thick with a rolling pin and ease the dough into the pan. Trim the edge by running the rolling pin or a dough scraper over the edge of the pan to cut the dough neatly and then tidy the edge with your fingers.