One of the sure signs of fall in the Alps is the steady shift in color above treeline. The greenish hues of vegetation shift to brown and a deep red, as temperatures drop and early snows come and go.
Another sign is liters of wild blueberries– no longer on the plants, but often picked and at homes across the valleys, in refrigerators and freezers, waiting to be transformed into something even more delicious.
From our point of view, that means it’s time to bring back one of our favorite recipes, courtesy of our longtime friend Heddi Nieuwsma. The last time we shared this recipe, we got photo after photo of great-looking Tarte aux Myrtilles from around the world. Got plans to bake it? We’d love to see your photos. Share them on our Run the Alps Facebook page. Happy baking– and happy eating, too!
Is blueberry tart, or Tarte aux Myrtilles, the most popular tart in the Alps? A regular feature on the menu at mountain refuges and Alps village cafés, this sweet treat never seems to lose its appeal. In fact, I know several people who’ve made it a life goal to find the best Tarte aux Myrtilles out there.
The alpine version is a little different than a normal blueberry pie. For a start, the blueberries are usually wild, not farm-raised. As a result, they are smaller but more flavorful than regular blueberries. Sometimes the berries are piled high straight on top of the crust, although we feel the best versions have some sort of cream-based mix involved.
Although we wouldn’t want to recommend eating TOO many Tartes aux Myrtilles, it’s good to know the wild blueberries are low in sugar and high in fiber and antioxidants, as well as absolutely delicious!
Our friend Heddi, the creator of Cuisine Helvetica, shared her favorite recipe with us. Heddi is the author of the new best-selling book Swiss Bread. She’s been exploring the regional foods of Switzerland for nearly a decade. (If you want countless more great Alp cuisine ideas, be sure to follow her on Instagram!)
Read on to find out how to create your very own Tarte aux Myrtilles, whether you’re in St. Moritz or San Francisco!
Tarte aux Myrtilles (Blueberry Tart)
Makes one tart in a 11.5-inch (30 cm) diameter pan
1 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup unsalted butter, cold
1 egg, slightly beaten
2-3 tablespoons water, cold
1/2 cup crème fraîche (sour cream or Greek yogurt can be substituted)
1/4 cup sugar
zest of half a lemon
4 to 5 cups fresh blueberries
Make the dough: Whisk the flours together with the sugar and salt in a large bowl. Add the cold butter, in pieces. Using a food processor or two knives, cut the butter into the flour mixture, until it becomes the size of small pebbles. Make a well in the center of the mixture and add the cold water and slightly beaten egg. Stir together just until a dough forms. Shape the dough into a disk and refrigerate the dough for 1-2 hours, until it becomes firm.
Line a 30cm (11.5 inches) diameter tart pan with parchment paper. (A similarly-sized pan can be used, if that exact size and shape is not available.) Take the dough out of the fridge and roll it out on lightly floured surface. Place it into the prepared tart pan. Using a fork, prick the bottom of the dough. Place the pan with the dough back in the fridge.
Make the filling. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, crème fraiche, sugar and lemon zest together until the well-blended. Take the pan the with dough out of the fridge. Spread the blueberries evenly over the dough. Pour the filling over the blueberries. Bake the tart for about 40-45 minutes at 200°C / 400°F. Let the tart cool completely before serving.
We recommend serving with some whipped cream, or chantilly.