Posted: Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Now is the perfect time for baking a fresh blueberry and cherry tart. Blueberries and cherries are plentiful at the market, prices are good, and chances are you never knew impressing family and friends with a homemade tart could be so easy. When mixed in a food processor, a tart's sweet pastry shell (the French call it "Pte Sucre") is extra flaky, but good results can also be achieved with a mixer if the dough is not over worked. For your tart, select plump, firm cherries with deep red to purplish hues (the darker the cherry, the sweeter the fruit) and indigo-colored blueberries, with a silver-gray "bloom." (The bloom serves as the fruit's protective coating.) And, if you really feel ambitious, pick up some extra blueberries for making a Blueberry-Balsamic Reduction Sauce, delectable on grilled chicken, pork, or fish.

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Photos By Sue Ade
Photos By Sue Ade
Whether left raw in their natural state, or cooked in desserts (Fresh Blueberry and Cherry Tart, upper left), or sauces (Fresh Blueberry-Balsamic Reduction, lower right), fresh blueberries and cherries make spectacular centerpieces.

Blueberries and cherries are here now and irresistibly ours for the choosing.

(Cherries and blueberries do not ripen after they are picked, so select only fully ripened fruit without bruises or signs of mold.) Store the fruit in the refrigerator for no more than a week, rinsing just prior to use.

If you intend to eat blueberries or cherries out-of-hand, be sure to plan ahead.

They are at their juicy best and most flavorful when enjoyed at room temperature.

Sue Ade is a syndicated food writer with broad experience and interest in the culinary arts. She has worked and resided in the Lowcountry of South Carolina since 1985 and may be reached at kitchenade@yahoo.com.

Sweet Pastry Shell

1 cups all-purpose flour

cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

teaspoon salt

1 large egg yolk

2 tablespoons ice water

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 10-inch springform or loose-bottomed tart pan with non-stick cooking spray. In the work bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade, pulse the flour and butter until small particles form. Add the sugar, salt, and egg and just enough ice water for dough to come together. Remove mixture from work bowl, wrap in plastic film, then chill for about 30 minutes (this will make the dough easier to work with). With your hands, pat the dough onto bottom and up the sides of the tart pan. Set pastry aside to make filling.

Kitchen Ade Note: Instructions for making pastry with a mixer: Place the butter in a medium mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until softened. Add sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Gradually add the egg, beating just until yellow disappears. (Don't over mix or butter will separate.) Add the flour and salt, mixing just until a ball is formed.

Blueberry and Cherry Tart Filling

cup granulated sugar

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

rounded teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 cups blueberries, rinsed

2 cups cherries, rinsed and pitted

Whipped cream for garnish, optional

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. (If using a dark tart pan, reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees.) Set aside cup blueberries. Mix the remaining blueberries with the cherries. Toss fruit with sugar, flour, and cinnamon. Spread fruit mixture evenly onto the bottom of the tart shell. Place the tart pan on a baking sheet to catch any juices that may run over sides of the pan. Bake for 1 hour. Remove tart pan from baking sheet and cool on a wire rack. While tart is still hot, sprinkle with reserved fresh blueberries. Cool tart completely and allow filling to set before gently pressing up tart bottom to release it from its sides. Store leftover tart in the refrigerator for up to 1 day. Serve tart with whipped cream, if desired.

Makes 8 servings.



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