Bilberry or blueberry tart


Bilberry or blueberry tart

This tart can be made with bilberries (wild blueberries) or cultivated blueberries. Although I prefer the flavour of bilberries, which also make the pie seem more Swedish, it is also good when made with cultivated berries. To read more about bilberries (wild blueberries) in Sweden click here.

17% of Sweden is said to be covered with bilberry bushes, so most Swedes exercise their allemansrätt (right to roam and forage) and pick their own. Outside of Sweden, many people will only be able to make a bilberry pie using frozen or bottled berries, which are nearly as good as fresh berries because they have huge amounts of antioxidants and vitamin C in them.

Swedish style bilberry tart

There are countless versions of blåbärspaj in Sweden! For instance, the example above is from Expressen, a Swedish newspaper, and omits the lattice topping. Simply make a pastry case using the recipe below, but reducing the quantities for the pastry by a third. Bake the case blind for 10-12 minutes and then leave to cool. Remove from the dish/foil, transfer to a baking tray, add the filling and bake for 15 minutes.

A Swedish style wild blueberry crumble

Quite often a blåbärspaj in Sweden has a crumble topping as shown above. Simply use the filling below and substitute the topping from our rabarberpaj (rhubarb crumble) recipe.

John Duxbury


Recipe summary for bilberry/blueberry tart


•  Make sure you leave plenty of pastry for the lattice as it is better made with nice thick strips.

Blueberry tart filling

• If you are using cultivated 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 normally use a nice deep pie dish!

Swedish style vanilla sauce

• Serve with whipped cream or, better still, vaniljsås (vanilla sauce), the traditional accompaniment in Sweden. Our vaniljsås recipe is based on the classic version from Vår Kokbok (Sweden's biggest selling cookery book).



250 g (2 cups) plain (all-purpose) flour
pinch   salt
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

Pastry glaze

1   egg, lightly beaten
1 tbsp   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).

Bilberry pie casing ready for baking

4. Roll out roughly two thirds of 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 and reserve.

5. Combine the bilberries, potato flour (starch), ground cinnamon (optional), lemon/lime rind (optional) and sugar in a large bowl then tip them into the pie dish.

Blueberry tart waiting to be baked

6. Gently mould the remaining 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 lattice topping with demerara sugar.

Blueberry lattice tart with cinnamon and lemon

7. Bake for 40-50 minutes until the pastry is golden brown.

8. Remove and allow to rest for a few minutes before serving.


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Editor and Founder