The birds know a good thing when they see it. The very minute blueberries are ripe and ready to eat they are on it. If you want to find your thrill on blueberry hill you need some pre-planning. Our berries in our first producing patch are just blueing up nicely so it’s time for The Handyman to work his magic.
The Handyman used 3/4″ PVC with some t-joints and PVC glue to make the structure, spending about $50 on materials. He measured the width of the blueberry bed and the height. Our box was 8 feet wide and he used two 10-foot sections of PVC to give us a 7-foot clearance at the apex of the hoop. He says you could also add some rebar inside the PVC to make the structure sturdier which he plans to do in the future when we enclose the much larger commercial patch for the berry farm. If you need to make the structure more freestanding, ie. you don’t have a wooden box as your bed to staple the PVC too, you will need to insert a section of rebar into the ends of the PVC to allow you to dig the PVC into the ground. The bird netting was a lucky drive-by find found at the side of the road with a “free” sign on it. Of course, you can purchase netting…
Sweet Dough (makes enough for two 9-inch crusts)
- 168 grams or 6 ounces of unsalted butter
- 1.4 grams or 1/4 teaspoon of salt
- 112 grams or 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
- 39 grams or 1/3 cup of almond flour
- 7 grams or 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 extra large egg plus 1 to 2 teaspoons
- 315 grams or 2 7/8 cup sifted cake flour
In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment cream the butter and sea salt on medium speed for about 1 minute. Scrape down the bowl and add the confectioners’ sugar and combine with the butter at low speed. Scrape down the bowl and then add almond flour and vanilla and combine at low speed. Add the eggs, one at a time and about a quarter of the cake flour and beat on low until just incorporated. Stop the machine and scrape down the bowl. Gradually add the remaining flour and mix just until the dough comes together. Don’t over mix. Press the dough into a 1/2″ thick rectangle block, wrap in plastic and refrigerate overnight or for at least two to three hours.
You could also make the streusel (see below) on day one and or the blueberry filling and refrigerate until ready to assemble and bake.
After it has chilled, remove the dough from the refrigerator, cut it into two equal portions and roll one out in a 1/4 ” thick circle and line a 9-inch tart pan, ring, or heart.
Using a fork, perforate the bottom of the shell making rows of little holes. Place in the refrigerator uncovered for at least an hour. (Freeze the second portion of dough for a future use). Pre-bake the shell in a 325F oven. To do this, line the shell with parchment and add rice, dried beans or pie weights. Bake with this “faux” filling for 15 minutes and then remove the parchment and rice, beans or weights and return the tart shell to the oven for another 5 to 15 minutes until it is golden brown and evenly coloured. Brush with an egg wash (1 beaten egg with 1 tablespoon of water) and return to the oven for five more minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before filling.
- 280 grams or 2 1/4 cups blueberries. If using frozen, choose wild blueberries
- 51.5 grams or 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 6 grams or 1 1/4 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 6 grams or 1 1/4 teaspoons water
- 2.5 grams or 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 1/2 a vanilla bean
- 36 grams or 2 yolks plus 1 teaspoon egg yolks
- 56 grams or 1/4 cup whole milk
- 56 grams or 1/4 cup heavy cream
In a medium saucepan, combine the blueberries and 1 teaspoon of the sugar and bring to a boil. Turn the heat to low and boil for 2 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk together the lemon juice, water and cornstarch in a medium bowl. Gradually stir the mixture into the berries and simmer 1 minute until thickened. If the mixture is too watery, dissolve another 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch into a tablespoon of juice and stir in. Simmer until thickened and then remove from heat.
Using a knife, split the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and scrape the seeds into a medium bowl. Add the egg yolk and remaining sugar and beat together with a whisk. Add the milk and cream and beat together until the sugar has dissolved. Stir in the blueberries.
- 60 grams or 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 88 grams or 1/3 cup turbinado sugar
- 70 grams or 1/2 cup of cake flour
- 70 grams or 3/4 cup almond flour
- 1 gram or 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 13 grams or 1 tablespoon Kirschwasser
(This will make more than you need. You can freeze the leftovers and use to make fruit crumbles or top muffins.)
Preheat oven to 325 F and line a baking sheet with parchment. Cut the butter into cubes and place all of the ingredients in the bowl of a mixer and mix on medium for about 2 minutes until crumbly.
Spread on the parchment-lined baking sheet and bake 20 to 25 minutes, stirring occasionally until golden brown and crisp. Allow to cool.
Sprinkle 17 grams or 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon of the streusel in an even layer on the bottom of the pre-baked tart shell. Spread the blueberries on top. Place on a sheet pan and bake 30 to 40 minutes until just set. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack. Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar before serving.