On the menu: Blueberry Macaroon Torte
This year, my 30 pounds of wild blueberries didn’t come from the farm where I worked. This year they came from a research farm—you know, because I’m researching native bees around wild blueberry fields. They were still free. And I still had to clean them myself. Let’s not talk about the terribly inefficient winnower at the research farm. I spent 4.5 hours cleaning berries after winnowing this year. I didn’t have to do that with my farm berries. The farm had the Cadillac of winnowers, that’s for sure. The point is that my freezer is once again filled with Maine wild blueberries. The top dogs. The one and only. And I’ve got to put them to good use.
You know who Maida Heatter is, right? I’ve seen her name all over the place, always in reference to some delicious dessert, whether a classic recipe or an extravagant one. On a self-imposed cookbook buying hiatus, I picked up a copy of her best known book, Maida Heatter’s Book of Great Desserts, at a used bookstore. What a great investment. I pored over it’s pages for weeks this summer, dreaming about elaborate cakes and simple cookies. But I wasn’t far along when I read the most regal recipe name ever: Royal Norwegian Macaroon Torte. You aren’t supposed to judge a book by it’s cover, but come on. How can you NOT make a recipe with a title like that?!
But I *gulp* tweaked it a bit. I swapped out apricot preserves for blueberry preserves because I had to. I traded light rum for *BIG gulp* coconut tequila, because my liquor cabinet contains rye whiskey, Jameson, brandy, cheap gin, sweet and dry vermouth, and whatever we find on sale. And gin in an almond-based tart sounded gross. Naturally, I’ve dropped the royal status from this dessert. But my version is certainly of the same spirit; dense, rich, almost cloyingly sweet. Serve this in small slices.
So here it is. My embarkation on another blueberry voyage.
Blueberry Macaroon Torte
adapted from Maida Heatter’s Book of Great Desserts
2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup water
1 cup butter
zest of one lemon, grated
1/2 pound blanched almonds, finely ground
2 cups powdered sugar
1 egg white
1/4 cup coconut tequila
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
3 drops green food coloring
1/2 cup thick blueberry preserves
Preheat oven to 375°F.
For pastry: Sift flour, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl. Stir in sugar. Cut in butter with a pastry blender until mixture looks like coarse crumbs. Add egg and lemon zest and stir just to combine. Squeeze the dough into a large ball, then knead it briefly until it holds together. Divide in half. Wrap one half in plastic wrap and refrigerate. Place the other half in a 13×4 inch (or 9×9) tart pan and press dough to cover the bottom and the sides of the pan. Refrigerate while you prepare the filling.
For filling: Add all ingredients except blueberry preserves to a bowl and mix with an electric mixer until smooth.
Assembly: Take out remaining half of pastry from the refrigerator. Spread preserves around bottom of pastry shell, leaving a small border around the edge. Drop filling in spoonfuls over the preserves; the spoonfuls should touch each other and the sides of the crust. Roll out remaining half of pastry and place on top of filled torte.
Bake–really–for 1 hour and 10 minutes until the top is well browned and the sides of the torte come away from the pan. Remove from tart pan and let cool. Chill torte in the refrigerator before cutting. It keeps well in the fridge for up to a week.