Mother, entrepreneur and all round food lover Juliet Kennedy from Greenspoon is driven by her quest to find the finest local artisan produce. This month, she turns her focus to home grown blueberries.
It definitely comes with some high expectations doesn’t it? A dessert called Bakewell – you’d better do a good job of it!
Bakewell is a traditional English pudding that sits in a deliciously flaky pastry case with a sweet, sticky layer of jam that is covered with an airy frangipane, and in my version, is topped with fresh, locally grown blueberries. It’s a pudding to indulge in at Sunday lunch, when you have no further plans for the day except to put your feet up and read a good book.
Last month I donned my farmer Juju boots and headed up country to see farmer Martin Dyer, who runs Frontier Fruit – Kenya’s first blueberry farm – and was inspired to put this recipe together to celebrate the fruit he grows.
Grown under greenhouses, and some “en plein air”, Martin’s blueberries were initially for export only, but today he sells a significant volume right here in Nairobi. Blueberries are one of those fruits that a lot of us are unfamiliar with, partly perhaps because they were eye wateringly expensive having been imported from as far away as Peru, and partly because it’s not a fruit that has been widely available.
Since none of us know that much, here’s a quick crash course:
Native to North America, the blueberry has been domesticated and enjoyed for just over 100 years – thanks to Elizabeth White, daughter of a cranberry grower in New Jersey, who decided to partner with Botanist Frederick Colville to domesticate the fruit. The blueberry prefers acidic soil, and is a fan of the winter snap – a cold spell in which the fruit produces more sugar to stay alive through the chill. Martin seems to have ensured all of these factors are present as he grows these delicious ‘blue dynamo’ fruits on the fertile slopes of Mount Kenya where there’s a nightly cold snap! Chatting to Martin as we wove our way between lines of little blueberry plants happily growing in the plentiful sunshine of the equator, we both agreed that blueberries should be more accessible to Kenyans – “They are such a great little fruit – full of goodness and totally delicious to eat, it seems criminal that not more are being sold on the local market”.
So here’s a recipe that will make blueberries more interesting and fun – put them in a tart and you simply can’t go wrong! Bake this Bakewell well and you’ll have friends for life!
RECIPE: THE BAKEWELL TART
- 200g flour
- 2 tbsp icing sugar
- 100g Brown’s unsalted butter cold 1 large free range egg
- 150g Brown’s unsalted butter at room temperature
- 75g Fairleigh’s jaggery
- 75g caster sugar
- 3 free range eggs, lightly beaten
- 150g ground almonds
- 3 tbsp self-raising flour
- Grated zest of one orange
- 6 tbsp Kampi Kitchen strawberry and tree tomato jam
- 2 punnets Frontier Fruit blueberries
- 2 tbsp flaked almonds
Homemade blueberry compote Bio thick Greek Yoghurt
- Start with your pastry. Weigh out the flour, cold butter and icing sugar together, and then put in the freezer while you pull out your Magimix (if you are using one) and/ or prepare the other ingredients. Rub or pulse the flour and butter together until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Don’t overwork it! Add in the egg slowly and let it come together. Again don’t overwork it, but shape into a flattened circle, wrap in beeswax wrap or cling film and put in the fridge for half an hour.
- Remove the cold pastry from the fridge and roll out until it’s about the thickness of a 40/- piece. Drape over your buttered flan dish and push into the corners. Prick the bottom with a fork. Cover with greaseproof paper (easier to do if you scrunch it up first) and then pour in uncooked rice or baking beans. Put back into the fridge whilst you turn on and warm up your oven to 180 degrees centigrade. Take it straight from the fridge to the oven and let it cook for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, remove the greaseproof paper and rice, and allow it to cook for another 5 minutes until the bottom is beautifully golden. Take out and allow to cool whilst you make the frangipane.
- Beat the butter and sugars together until they are pale and quite fluffy. Add in the eggs slowly and allow them to incorporate completely. Then fold in the ground almonds, orange zest and self-raising flour.
- Spread your 6 tbsp (or a little more if you’re feeling naughty!) jam over the base of your pastry case. Then dollop the frangipane mixture over the top and spread to the edges. Put the blueberries on top – if you push them down a little they will be covered by the frangipane, or you can leave them just on the surface where they will show up when the tart is fully cooked. Sprinkle over lots of flaked almonds, and put back into the oven for 35 – 40 minutes. Check on it – if the top is looking a little too brown, then put some foil loosely over the top.
- Whilst it cooks, make a little blueberry compote. Place 60g blueberries + 3 tbsp water and 2 tbsp sugar in a small pan and bring to a simmer for 10 minutes or until thickened. Strain through a sieve and swirl into your Greek Yoghurt.
- Serve warm with a generous dollop of Greek Yoghurt and Blueberry compote, and a glass of Trumpeter Sauvignon Blanc or Hesketh Bright Young Things Sauvignon Blanc.