Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Seasonal Fare

The Associated Press

Blueberries may be described approvingly as nutrient-dense and low-calorie, but most of us are just pleased that at the peak of their season they taste so good.

Fresh fruit can be a dessert eaten as is. Yet it takes only a little more work to turn the fruit into a seemingly dressed-up dessert - as in this blueberry cheese tart flavored with lemon curd.

You can buy the pie crust ready-made, and the lemon curd, too. But the creamy curd is simplicity itself to make.

Lemony Blueberry Cheese Tart

9-inch frozen pie crust, thawed

8-ounce container (1 cup) mascarpone cheese, or 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened

5 tablespoons lemon curd (recipe follows)

2 cups fresh blueberries

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Press the pie crust into a 9-inch tart pan with removable bottom, or leave in the original aluminum pie tin. With the tines of a fork, pierce the bottom and sides. Bake until lightly browned, about 10 minutes; refrigerate until cool, about 10 minutes.

In a small bowl, stir together cheese and 3 tablespoons of the lemon curd until smooth. (If mixture is too thick to spread, stir in a small amount of milk.) Spread mixture in the bottom of the cooled tart shell.

In a medium-size bowl, gently stir the blueberries and the remaining 2 tablespoons lemon curd until thoroughly combined. Spoon the blueberries evenly over the mascarpone layer. Cover and chill 2 hours. To serve, remove the sides of the tart pan, if used; cut into wedges. Makes 8 servings.

Lemon Curd

3 large eggs plus 1 egg yolk

1 cup sugar

1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, cut in pieces

2 teaspoons finely grated lemon peel (yellow part only)

1/3 cup fresh lemon juice

In the top of a large double boiler, lightly whisk eggs, yolk and sugar; stir in the butter, lemon peel and juice. Place pan over simmering water over medium-low heat; cook, stirring frequently, until thick, about 20 minutes. Strain and cool. Refrigerate or freeze leftovers. Makes 21/4 to 21/2 cups.

U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council

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