Blueberry tart à la Val Thorens
Not many people know that a large part of Val Thorens’ ski area is covered in blueberry bushes during summer. These hardy plants can be found the length of the Balcon du Lou footpath, and from the lake up to the Cime Caron cable car departure station et du plan de l’eau jusqu’au départ de Caron you’ll see them everywhere.
Blueberries ripen later here than at lower altitudes and are generally ready to be picked late summer (from mid-August to late September). There’s no fixed date, it all depends on how warm the summer was and when the snow melted in the spring. But once they are ripe, you’re in for a real treat!
If you go blueberry picking, make sure you have something to carry them in, such as a plastic box or a biscuit tin, as well as a sun hat and a bottle of water. Once you’ve found the first blueberry bushes, take a look around you and you’ll probably find plenty more! Be careful where you stand though, as you may not be able to see may any potential holes between the rocks.
It’s better to pick the blueberries by hand, rather than using a berry comb as they can damage the bush and its leaves. Try to avoid gathering too many leaves, as this will make it a lot easier to pick out the berries. Pick as many as you like and as many as your box will hold, you can always freeze what you don’t use straight away.
When you get home, you’ll just need to sort them out. I like to put them on a tray or a large board, so that I can pull the leaves and stalks off. After that, you need to give them a rinse and dry them off. Don’t forget to wear an apron; blueberry juice stains!
a pinch of salt
For the filling:
500g of Val Thorens blueberries
50g caster sugar
80g whipping cream
Combine the sugar, salt and egg together in a mixing bowl. Pour the flour into another bowl, make a hole in the middle and add the sugar, salt and egg mixture. Cut the butter into cubes and rub in to the other ingredients with your fingertips. Gently knead until you get a firm dough. Roll out onto a sheet of greaseproof paper and place in the tart tin. Blind bake the pastry for 15 minutes at 180°C.
For the filling, I’ve got two suggestions. For the first (and easiest), fill the part-cooked pastry base with blueberries, dust with sugar and add a few knobs of butter. Cook for approx. 30 minutes at 180°C / Thermostat 6.
Warning! It is really important to cook the blueberries to get rid of any bacteria, especially those spread by foxes. The heat of the oven, even at a low temperature, will get rid of these for you.
My second suggestion involves cooking the washed blueberries in a saucepan with the sugar for 5 minutes. Then put half of the fruit purée on top of the pastry base. Mix the eggs, sugar and cream into the remaining berries, then add to the tart. Cook for 20 mins on a low heat at 160°C /Thermostat 5.
Serve the tart when it is still warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream of whipped cream.
There are hundreds of blueberry recipes, why not share yours with us?!