Sweet, crunchy Oregon blueberries have begun arriving in stores around the Treasure Valley. Shovel them in by the mouthful or use them in your favorite recipes.
These are two favorites from Israeli-British chef Yotam Ottolenghi, writing in the New York Times.
He first used berries sparingly when cooking, then worked for a chef who piled them into recipes.
Now, he writes, he’s moved toward a stage of “balanced coexistence. The berries are still there, of course, used in all sorts of ways in all sorts of dishes: blitzed to make a purée for icing or buttercream; kept whole in a batter, as with the blueberry cake here, or slightly crushed so the juices start to bleed; or sitting royally as they do in this pistachio tart.”
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But the other ingredients — the figs, dates, lemons and pomegranates — are just as much there as well, he says.
Recipe: Blueberry, Almond and Lemon Cake
Yield: 8 servings; 1 1/2 hours, plus cooling
1/2 cup (1 stick) plus 3 tablespoons/150 grams unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus extra for greasing the pan
1 scant cup/190 grams granulated or superfine sugar (caster sugar)
1 teaspoon lemon zest, plus 1 tablespoon lemon juice (or more juice as needed)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (vanilla essence)
3 large eggs, beaten
2/3 cup/90 grams all-purpose flour (plain flour), sifted
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup/110 grams almond flour (ground almonds)
1 1/2 cups/200 grams fresh blueberries
2/3 cup/70 grams powdered sugar (icing sugar)
Step 1: Heat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit/200 degrees Celsius. Grease a 9- or 8-inch/21-centimeter loaf pan with butter, line it with a parchment paper sling and butter the paper. Set the pan aside.
Step 2: Place butter, sugar, lemon zest and vanilla extract in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on high speed for 3 to 4 minutes, until light, then lower speed to medium. Add eggs in three additions, scraping down the sides of the bowl a few times as necessary. The mix may split a little but don’t worry: It’ll come back together once you add the dry ingredients.
Step 3: In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and almond flour. With the stand mixer on low, add the dry ingredients in three additions, mixing just until no white specks remain. Fold in about 3/4 of the blueberries by hand, then scoop batter into the prepared loaf pan.
Step 4: Bake for 15 minutes, then sprinkle the remaining blueberries over the top of the cake. Return to the oven for another 15 to 20 minutes, until cake is golden brown but still uncooked. Cover loosely with foil and continue to cook for another 25 to 30 minutes (less for a 9-inch pan, more for an 8-inch pan), or until risen and cooked, and a knife inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Remove from oven and set aside in its pan to cool for 10 minutes before removing cake from pan and placing on a wire rack to cool completely.
Step 5: When cake is cool, make the icing: Add lemon juice and icing sugar to a bowl and whisk together until smooth, adding a bit more juice if necessary, just until the icing moves when you tilt the bowl. Pour over the cake and gently spread out. The blueberries on the top of the cake may bleed into the icing a little, but this will add to the look. Let icing set (about 30 minutes), slice and serve.
Pistachio and Raspberry Tart
Yield: 10 servings; time: 3 hours, plus chilling
FOR THE PASTRY:
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon/150 grams all-purpose flour (plain flour), more as needed
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon/20 grams granulated or superfine sugar (caster sugar)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
5 1/2 tablespoons/80 grams cold unsalted butter, cut into 3/4-inch/2-centimeter pieces
1/4 teaspoon white wine vinegar
2 to 3 tablespoons ice water
FOR THE PISTACHIO FILLING:
2 1/2 cups/350 grams raw, shelled pistachios
4 tablespoons/60 grams unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon lemon zest, plus 1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (vanilla essence)
1/8 teaspoon almond extract (almond essence)
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
2/3 cup/150 grams granulated or superfine sugar (caster sugar)
1 tablespoon/15 grams all-purpose flour (plain flour)
1 heaping cup/150 grams fresh raspberries
Step 1: Make the pastry: Place flour, sugar, salt, lemon zest and butter in a food processor and blitz for about 15 seconds, until it reaches the consistency of fine breadcrumbs. With the machine running, add vinegar and then add water slowly, 1 tablespoon at a time, until mixture comes together (you may not need all the water). Form dough into a ball, wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Step 2: On a lightly floured work surface, roll out dough to form a circle about 13 inches/33 centimeters wide and 1 / 8inch/2 millimeters thick. Carefully transfer the dough (wrap it around a rolling pin, if that helps you) to a 9-inch/26-centimeter round fluted tart pan with 1-inch/3-centimeter-high sides. Press the dough securely into the corners of the pan and trim the crust 1/4 inch/1/2 centimeter above the rim of the pan, then refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Step 3: Heat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit/200 degrees Celsius.
Step 4: Line the dough with a large piece of baking parchment and fill the tart with dried beans or pie weights. Bake for 25 minutes, or until pastry is golden brown around the edges. Remove beans and paper and continue to bake the pastry for 8 minutes until the base is golden brown. Remove from oven and set aside.
Step 5: Lower oven temperature to 350 degrees Fahrenheit/170 degrees Celsius.
Step 6: Make the filling: Spread pistachios out on a baking sheet and roast for 8 minutes, until they are hot but haven’t taken on any color. Remove from oven and carefully transfer 3 / 4cup/100 grams nuts to a cutting board and set aside. Immediately blitz remaining nuts in a food processor while they are still hot. Keep the machine going for 6 to 8 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl a few times when the nuts stop moving, until you get a thick smooth paste and the nuts begin to ball up in the bowl. Add melted butter, lemon zest, juice, vanilla extract, almond extract and salt and pulse a few times until combined. Roughly chop the reserved pistachios.
Step 7: Place eggs in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whisk on high speed for 3 to 4 minutes, until soft peaks form. Reduce speed to medium and slowly add the sugar until incorporated. Add flour, pistachio paste and chopped pistachios and mix on low until combined. (You may need to scrape the pistachio paste off the bottom of the bowl.) Pour the mixture into the tart shell, spreading it out evenly. Sprinkle raspberries over the filling and bake for about 35 minutes, until golden brown around the edges, pale golden in the center and set.
Step 8: Remove from oven and let cool completely in the pan. Once cool, the tart can be lifted out of the pan and transferred to a platter to slice and serve. The filling should be soft, but still hold its shape when sliced.