BLUEBERRY PICKIN’ TIME

One of my favorite times of the year … blueberry pickin’ time!  I love blueberries … doesn’t everyone!  When my children were very young, each summer we’d each gather whatever plastic buckets or tin cans we could find and climb the hills near our home.  All along the trails grew wild blueberries.  Wild blueberries, unlike cultivated blueberries, are much smaller and can be a challenge to pick.  Small and sweet, we’d eat as many as landed in the buckets, puckering up when we got a sour one.  And, of course, the competition was on to see who could pick the most.  Once home, I’d make blueberry pancakes, blueberry syrup and, of course, blueberry muffins.

Well, the only one doing blueberry picking now is me.  But that’s ok … it’s still an annual tradition.  My recipe collection has grown from just pancakes and muffins, but I have to admit, they are still my favorites.  Today, in addition to the big pot of blueberries gurgling away on the stove for jam, I’m making a Blueberry Galette.  A Galette is a fancy name for a free-form French tart.  In Italy, it’s called a Crostada.  Same recipe … different name.  And, honestly, nothing could be easier.

For the crust, you can take the time to make a classic pie crust, but if you want an easier solution, buy a package of pie crusts from the grocery store, or use frozen puff pastry … which is what I’m using.  And, if you don’t have blueberries, you could substitute just about any fruit … apples, strawberries, peaches, plums.

BLUEBERRY GALETTE
Bake at 400º – 30 minutes – serves 4 to 6

1 sheet puff pastry – thawed
3 cups fresh blueberries
3 teaspoons cornstarch
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
zest of one lemon
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 egg – beaten
Turbinado sugar
1 pat butter

I am all about ‘mis ‘en place’ which is French for ‘putting in place’.  All my ingredients are assembled, prepped and ready to go before I even preheat the oven.  Mis ‘en place is a good discipline which I try to apply to every project I start.  So, with all the ingredients prepped … preheat the oven to 400º.

In a small bowl, mix together the cornstarch, sugar, salt, zest and juice of a lemon.  Pour over the blueberries and let sit while you prep the pastry.

On a lightly floured board, smooth out the pastry.  Make sure there are no cracks or the filling will ooze out and make a sticky mess.  The classic galette is round, but I’m not wasting any of this pastry, so I am making a rectangular one.  Place the pastry on a parchment lined baking sheet.

Leaving an inch or so around the perimeter, pile the blueberry mixture into the center.  Fold up the edges over the dough, pleating and pinching where necessary.  Again, do not give the blueberries a place to escape.

Brush the beaten egg over the edges.  Sprinkle with Turbinado sugar (or plain sugar).  I like the large crystals of the Turbinado sugar.  It adds a bit of crunch.  Place a pat of butter in the center.  Bake in a hot oven for approximately 30 minutes.  The crust should be nicely browned and the filling bubbly and hot.

Let the galette cool for at least 15 minutes when you take it from the oven.  I know you’ll want to dive right into it, but its worth the wait.  Meanwhile, whip up some heavy cream or get the ice cream out of the freezer.  This is soooooooo good!!

Side note:  the blueberry jam is ready and its to die for!

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