Baking with Blueberries
When my friend announced she was throwing a dinner party featuring ingredients from her local farmer’s market, I immediately volunteered to bring dessert. Not only do I love baking, but I had several pints of fresh blueberries in the fridge just begging to be baked. I could picture in my mind what I wanted to bake before I actually had the recipe. I thought I wanted to make some sort of tart that uses fresh blueberries and either a pastry cream or jam. Ideally, this would have been great until I actually thought about making pastry cream and a tart crust from scratch.
On to Plan B.
My mom has a classic fruit tart recipe that she calls Flan. Not flan (pronounced fl-AHN) that’s like a creamy gelatinous Mexican dessert, this is a fruit flan; essentially just baked fruit in a buttery crust. It’s a foolproof recipe that is a solid backup for any seasonal fruit. My mom – being the economically savvy mom that she is – cuts, preps and freezes fresh fruit year round so she can throw together a last minute flan whenever.
I decided to use my mom’s flan recipe with my fresh blueberries and it was just perfect. What’s great about this recipe is how fast the crust is. It doesn’t have to refrigerate before baking, you already know how I feel about waiting, and a simple mix of sugar and cinnamon sweetens the fruit just enough. You can literally use any fruit that you have in season: berries, peaches, pears, apples, plums – anything!
The flan was a big hit at the party and a great choice for a hot summer night. You can serve it hot with vanilla ice cream or coconut sorbet, or at room temperature…. with vanilla ice cream or coconut sorbet. I’m not picky.
Mom’s Fruit Flan
1 C. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 stick butter
2 Tbs. cream, milk or orange juice
2 Tbs. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 C. ground nuts
1/2 C. sugar or to taste depending on the sweetness of the fruit
2 Tbs. cornstarch
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 C. fruit of your choice
2 Tbs. butter
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
To make the crust, pulse flour, butter and baking soda in food processor. Add cream, sugar and vanilla. Turn out of food processor and pat into ball. Press into tart pan with removable bottom. Sprinkle ground nuts to cover bottom of the pan.
To make the filling, toss fruit in sugar, cornstarch and cinnamon. Pour into crust or place in decorative pattern. Dot with butter and bake in oven for 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
Serve hot or at room temperature.