Bilberry or blueberry tart
This pie can be made with bilberries (as shown above) or blueberries, although I prefer the flavour of bilberries, which also make the pie seem more Swedish, a pie made with blueberries is very good and certainly better than no pie at all! (Click here to read more about bilberries or blueberries in Sweden.)
Outside of Sweden, many people will only be able to make a bilberry pie using frozen berries, but fortunately they freeze very well and so a pie made with frozen berries is nearly as good as one made with fresh berries.
One area of possible confusion is that the name in Swedish, blåbärspaj, applies equally to bilberry, blueberry pie and crumble, so if you order blåbärspaj in Sweden you never really know what you are going to get! John Duxbury
• Make sure you leave plenty of pastry for the lattice as it is better made with nice thick strips.
• If you are using blueberries, add some grated lemon or lime rind and some ground cinnamon to give the tart more flavour.
• You may need to adjust the quantity of fruit according to the size of your pie dish. I like a lot of fruit so I use a nice deep pie dish!
• Serve with vaniljsås (vanilla sauce), the most traditional accompaniment in Sweden. Our recipe is based on the classic version from Vår Kok Bok (Sweden's biggest selling cookery book). Alternatively serve it with a nice homemade ice cream such as vanilla, cinnamon or cardamom.
|250 g||(2 cups)||plain (all-purpose) flour|
|125 g||(½ cup)||cold butter and/or margarine, cut into cubes|
|3 tbsp||caster (superfine) sugar|
|3 tbsp||cold water|
|500 g||(2¼ cups)||bilberries or blueberries, fresh or frozen|
|2 tbsp||potato flour (starch) or cornflour (cornstarch)|
|¼-½ tsp||ground cinnamon, optional|
|1||small lemon or lime, zest only, optional|
|140 g||(⅔ cup)||caster (superfine) sugar|
|1||egg, lightly beaten|
|1 tbsp||golden caster (superfine) or demerara sugar|
1. Put the flour and salt in a food processor and run the machine for a few seconds to sift them then add the caster sugar and the butter and process for 10-15 seconds until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
2. Add the water and continue processing for 20-30 seconds or until the pastry clings together and forms a ball. Knead it lightly to form a smooth ball, wrap in clingfilm and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
3. Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F, gas 6, fan 180°C).
4. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface to about form a circle about 30 cm (12”) in diameter and use it to line a 23 cm (9”) diameter pie dish. Trim the overhanging pastry, of which there should be a lot, and reserve.
5. Combine the bilberries, potato flour (starch) and sugar in a large bowl then tip them into the pie dish.
6. Gently mould the reserved pastry into a sausage shape and then roll out to a rectangle about 25 cm x 10 cm (10” x 4”). Cut the reserved pastry into 1 cm (⅜”) wide strips ensuring that the strips are as thick as possible. Arrange in a wide lattice pattern, making sure each strip of pastry reaches the edge of the pie. Seal the joins and brush the pastry with the beaten egg. Sprinkle the top with caster or demerara sugar.
7. Bake for 45-50 minutes until the pastry is golden brown.
8. Remove and allow to rest for a few minutes before serving.
There are countless versions of blåbärspaj in Sweden such as using a crumble top as shown above. Simply use the topping from rabarberpaj (rhubarb crumble) in place of the lattice.
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