Tarte aux Myrtilles

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Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Easy

  • Serves

    Four–Six

Appears in

One of the most delicious French pastries, this recipe involves making a pâte sucrée base covered with a layer of crème patissière, followed by myrtilles (bilberries) and finished off with an apricot glaze.

Pâte Sucrée Base (sweet short pastry):

Ingredients

  • 100 g (4 oz) plain flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 50 g (2 oz) butter
  • 25 g (1 oz) caster sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 eggs
  • 50 g (2 oz) vanilla sugar
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 300 ml (½ pint) milk
  • 25 g (1 oz) unsalted butter

Method

Sift the flour and salt onto a working surface. Cut the butter up into small cubes. Make a well in the centre of the flour and put in the butter, sugar and egg yolk. Using your fingertips, work the butter, egg and sugar together with the flour until it is all blended. The dough should cling together, leaving the working surface clean, so you may have to add a little water as well but do not make it too soft. Knead the dough lightly for about 3 minutes until it forms a smooth ball, then put into a polythene bag and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before using.

Roll out the pastry to line a 20 cm (8 in) flan tin with a removable base. Cover the base of the flan with greaseproof paper weighed down with baking beans, then bake blind for 10 minutes in a preheated oven 180˚C (350˚F, Mark 4). Remove beans and greaseproof paper and bake for a further 10 minutes.

Crème Patissière (confectioners’ custard):

If you don’t have any vanilla sugar, add a few drops of vanilla essence to caster sugar. Blend together the eggs, sugar and flour. Bring the milk to the boil and pour onto the egg mixture, stirring continuously. Bring the mixture back to the boil, stirring all the time. Remove from the heat and add the butter. Cover the saucepan with a circle of damp greaseproof paper and leave the custard until it is cold.

When the pastry is cool, spread a layer of confectioners’ custard, 5 mm (¼ in) deep, over the base of the flan. Cover the custard with a generous layer of bilberries then prepare a glaze by sieving apricot jam into a saucepan and heating gently. If it is very thick, thin with a little water, then pour over the layer of bilberries.

I have drawn this recipe largely from Traditional French Cooking by Jennie Reekie.

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