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This tart is oh, so French!

As a pastry chef, fruit desserts were my specialty as well as my favorite pastries to create. If fruit was in season, it showed up in abundance in my pastry case from Strawberry Napoleons to a Blueberry Bourbon Cream Cake, a tall tower of thin cakes spread and layered with a light bourbon cream and fresh blueberries. It was delicious and decadent! If this blueberry cake recipe interests you, let me know and I will post it.

In researching blueberries in France, I came upon the region of Auvergne, just north of where I stayed in Languedoc, where blueberries reign and a famous Tarte au Myrtilles originated. I made the European version but was a bit disappointed with the results so chose to modify a Cooking Channel recipe with crème fraîche to give it a French flair.

Jacques Pepin’s recipe for Pate Sucre or a sugar cookie crust is by far my favorite.

Mis on place. Ready to get started.

The pillow top filling of cream cheese, crème fraîche and sugar.

Gently cook the berries to retain their gorgeous shape.

Mom pours the luscious berries over the creamy filling.

Decked out and ready to eat. I like the rustic look of it.

Each version of a fruit tart, like the Clafoutis, is a variation on a theme, each one with a different twist.

This weekend mom and I made multiple blueberry desserts and chose the best to share with you. My mom made divine blueberry sour cream ice cream.

Blueberries and Cream Ice Cream. You will not be satisfied with just one scoop!

A duet of flavors. The picture shows how beautifully the ice cream pairs with the tart.

Speaking of my mom, let me introduce her. She is a gourmet cook from the get-go, I’m sure inheriting the genes of her mother who also had a gift in the kitchen.

Mom – my collaborator, mentor and best friend!

We’ve spent many days and nights cooking together canning mango chutney, pitting cherries or creating jams with the apricots from her tree. She is my inspiration. As we were steeped in blueberries and trying recipes, she began to tell me her blueberry story. I’d love to share it with you.

Blueberries…….How I wish I lived in the places where blueberries grow wild. My mom tells me stories of how she picked blueberries right in front of the cottage where her family vacationed in Michigan. If she and her sister filled a large pail of berries, Swedish pancakes were the reward. Her grandfather’s cousin, Uncle Axel, resided in another house on the property and was a master cook at those delectable pancakes smothered in blueberry “syrup”. Of course they ate as many as they picked but what was in the pail, appeared on cereal in the morning, in pie after dinner, and just “as is” in a bowl to eat as you passed by. My mom says that there has never been a blueberry that tasted as sweet and delicious as the wild ones that grew around Higgins Lake in Michigan.

Anticipating the first bite of these juicy little gems.

Since I don’t live in “blueberry country”, I must do with the large containers of berries from Oregon and other growing places. What to do with them? Take a page out of mom’s childhood. Make syrup, make pies, make crumbles, and kuchens. Add them to a bowl of mixed fruit for a salad, and if you are so inclined, crank up the ice cream maker and add the blueberries to a custard for a cool and refreshing dessert.

Happy Birthday Mom!!

To make these desserts, you can visit these websites for the recipes:

Blueberry Tart   In improvising, I made Jacques Pepin’s Pate Sucre recipe and added more crème fraîche than sour cream.

http://www.cookingchanneltv.com/recipes/laura-calder/fresh-blueberry-tart-recipe/index.html

Blueberry Sour Cream Ice Cream

http://jcocina.com/blueberry-sour-cream-ice-cream-4th-of-july-holidayrecipeclub/