Ordinarily we don’t eat out-of-season foods; for one thing, our sustainable self would feel wasteful of the fuel miles consumed by transporting produce from below the equator.
Secondly, weeks in transport mean that what arrives isn’t necessarily the freshest produce; and often the flavor suffers.
But a few weeks ago, on one of the coldest days of winter, we received a gift of a generous amount of Chilean blueberries—firm, plump and bursting with flavor. They brought sunshine into our kitchen; we relished every berry.
With organic-, antioxidant- and mental acuity*- focused Americans snatching up blueberries year-round, imports continue to grow. All through our winter, these summer fruits are available nationwide. Shipments, which began in mid-December, will continue through April (the U.S. harvest begins in May).
Plump, sweet blueberries from Chile. Photo courtesy FreshFruitPortal.com.
If you’ll be in baking mode this weekend, consider the delicious blueberry tart recipe below, courtesy of the Chilean Blueberry Committee. You can find more recipes for fresh blueberries at FruitsFromChile.com.
There’s no need to wait until June for a
luscious blueberry tart or pie. Photo courtesy
Chilean Blueberry Committee.
DELICIOUS BLUEBERRY TART RECIPE
PREP TIME: 22 minutes active preparation, 3.5 hours refrigeration
Ingredients For Crust
Preparation For Crust
1. PREHEAT the oven to 375°F.
2. WHISK the dry ingredients together in a medium-size mixing bowl. Then cut in the cold butter, using a pastry cutter or two forks.
3. WHISK together in a small bowl the egg yolk, vanilla and water; then stir into the dry mixture. The dough should be crumbly and hold together when squeezed.
4. ROLL out the dough; press it into the bottom and up the sides of a 10-inch round tart pan, preferably with a removable bottom. Prick it all over with a fork and refrigerate for 30 minutes or longer.
5. PRE-BAKE (blind-bake†) the crust: Weigh down the crust with pie weights or a nesting pie pan, or top it with foil or parchment and fill with rice or dried beans. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until the crust is set. Remove weights, pan or foil/parchment and return crust to the oven to bake for another 6 to 8 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool completely before filling.
Preparation For Filling
1. BLEND: In a medium sauce pan over low heat, whisk juices with cornstarch until cornstarch is dissolved. Add 4 cups of the blueberries. Increase the heat and bring mixture to a boil until juices are clear and bright in color. Let mixture cool one minute.
2. STIR in vanilla and remaining blueberries.
3. POUR into pre-baked pie tart shell. Refrigerate for three hours prior to serving.
NUTRIENTS PER SERVING: 227 calories, 2 g protein, 8 g fat, 5 g saturated fat/72 calories from fat, 20 mg cholesterol, 3 g dietary fiber, 51 g sodium.
*Blueberries are one of the highest anti-oxidant foods. And according to the USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging, research “firmly establishes blueberries as a memory-protecting food” that can improve brain function.
†Blind-baking, also called pre-baking, is the process of baking a crust or other pastry without the filling. Blind baking a pie crust is helps prevent the pie crust from becoming soggy from its filling, among other benefits.