I feel a sudden influx of posts coming your way courtesy of the glorious British summer Sun that decided to reappear sending Rainy Rains-A-Lot far, far away (fingers crossed!) Too much fun has been sucked out of summer, it was about time, not to mention that it was high time the sun started doing it’s job and ripening the last of my blueberries!
While I wait for the Sun to ripen the last of the fruit on the blueberry bush I procured in early spring and various other delicious edibles I have growing in the garden, I picked up a couple of punnets of my favourite berry from the supermarket the other day to cheer me up. Blueberries blueberries blueberries. There is something about the blueberry that makes me entirely happy. As I pop each fat, juicy, flattened marble berry in my mouth I feel that purple-y goodness doing it’s job!
I usually don’t like to cook blueberries I prefer eating them raw and will only end up cooking them if I feel that they are not at their absolute best to enjoy eating fresh. The blueberries I bought the other day had been forgotten as I have been in and out of town a lot recently. Trying to save 2 large punnets from their diminishing freshness by consuming them all in one go was a bit much. To add to this list of forgotten fruit, I had also bought a baby super-sweet pineapple and some new season nectarines that were nearing the end of their peak ripeness too. As I strongly dislike waste, there was a lot of fruit to make into something tasty.
When I eat blueberries raw, I usually buy them together with either peaches or nectarines if they are in season. I chop the fruit up to match the berry size up and mix together. This makes a delicious combination. Another favourite combination, actually, probably my most favourite way to eat them is with chopped fresh pineapple. With the addition of some freshly shredded mint, the combination is DIVINE; I don’t think anything could make me remember what summer should feel like or pick me up more than this on dreary days like we’ve been having.
After the best nectarines were eaten, I decided to slices a few of them up and add them to half the blueberries to make a tart. While slicing, a bottle of Elderflower cordial caught the corner of my eye. Every summer I have a ritual that I started a few years ago to buy a bottle of Elderflower cordial and a bottle of St Germain (Elderflower liqueur) at the start of summer. There is something that is just so quintessentially British about Elderflower (although St Germain is entirely French…which kind of makes me love it more….and the bottle too.) and even if the weather is not so good, the mere smell of it reminds me that it’s summer. It’s one of my memory flavours. I will happily drink a concoction of St Germain & Gin (sometimes topped with Champagne) on any summer night, if only to act as a reminder that we are in fact in July/August and not October as the weather would like to have us believe. Anyway, the memory flavour got my experimentation juices going and I decided to pair the blueberries and nectarines with the elderflower cordial. In my head I’d married the most perfect summer flavours together, so I doused the sliced nectarines and blueberries in a good 3 or 4 glugs of cordial while I set my sights on the pastry base.
I always have pastry in the freezer- especially sweet tart pastry as you never know when you need a quick last minute dessert and a tart can be quite impressive at short notice! My slabs of pastry are flattened quite thin before I freeze them purely for the reason that they defrost quicker this way (10-15 minutes tops). I was feeling particularly lazy and decided that I wouldn’t even bother with a tart tin so once the pastry had defrosted, I rolled it straight onto parchment paper that was on a rimless baking sheet into something that roughly resembled a circle, ready for encasing the topping. All that was required then was to mix some sugar with the fruit before tipping out the contents on to the pastry and gently folding up the edges to envelope what would become fragrant, syrupy, juicy jewels after some time in the oven. The tart was delicious and I would definitely make this combination again. In fact, I think it would make a delicious cocktail too! Peach nectar muddled with blueberries, mint, some glugs of St Germain and topped with champagne. You know you want to try it!
Fragrant Nectarine, Blueberry & Elderflower Tart
This is so simple, quick and easy. A perfect way to use up a glut of berries. Use whatever berries you have to hand. Raspberries would also work fabulously here. Serve warm with vanilla icecream. The perfect summer pud!
250-300g Pâte Sucrée or if you want to try something different with a more tender texture try Rugelach pastry which is made with cream cheese. (Recipes to follow or use your favourite )
4-5 nectarines slices
1 punnet of bluberries approx 200-300g
a couple of heaped tbsp caster sugar
some glugs of elderflower cordial (1/4-1/2 cup)
- In a bowl place the sliced nectarines, blueberries and elderflower cordial and leave to the side while you prepare the pastry.
- Pre Heat the oven to 165C
- On the baking tray you are going to be cooking on, roll out the pastry into a round shape about about 3-4mm thick. You need to make it bigger than you want the final tart to be as you will be folding in the edges considerably (about 3-5cm )
- Empty the contents of the fruit into the middle of the pastry and sprinkle over the sugar generously
- Fold up the sides of the pastry to envelop the fruit, but still leaving enough to show them in the middle.
- Place the tray in the oven and cook until the fruit is soft and caramelised and the pastry is uniformly golden. About 25 -35 mins
- Allow to cool a little before serving. This dessert is delicious alone or with some vanilla ice-cream
Seeing that I didn’t use all the blueberries, I ended up cutting the pineapple into small bite sized chunks and after nipping outside to pick some fresh mint, I finely shredded the mint it and garnished the fruit. The only good way to mix the fruit is with your hands and so with impeccably clean hands I ensured an even distribution of all the flavours. If you leave it to macerate in the fridge for an hour or so it’s even more delicious!
All you need are some ripe, plump, juicy blueberries, fresh pineapple cubed and mint to taste, shredded. Mix well, serve and enjoy. :)