Sunday, 14 August 2011

Guest Post by Christine Connor: Slow Berries: New England Highbush Blueberry Torte

This guest post has been submitted by Christine Connor. Christine is a freelance writer specializing in the random mix of food, dieting and real estate, writing for numerous websites and moving companies. Here's one of her personal favorite dessert recipes - bon appetit!
 

Slow Berries:  New England Highbush Blueberry Torte

Growing up in northern New England, summer was a blissful, breezy, relaxed eight weeks of fabulousness.  My family always felt that those eight glorious weeks served as nature’s apology for ten months of roof-high snow drifts, iced over rivers, and wind-chill factors that created small icicles of our eyelashes and nose hairs.  During the summer, New England unleashes a riot of fruits, including strawberries, Concord grapes, and the utterly perfect, highbush blueberry.  The highbush blueberry grows best in wooded areas and part of the fun of picking the berries is wandering through the woods to find them.  There are many popular foods created with the berries, but our favorite was always blueberry torte. 


Unlike a pie, or the closely related cake, a torte is a multi-layered concoction, usually held together with cream, mousse, or fruit of some sort.  The cake layers are usually soft, and more often than not, there are three of them.  It is a rich, decadent dessert that is not for the faint of heart, and it is best eaten with a group large of friends.  One of my earliest memories is sharing a torte with the workers of two moving companies who were dropping off furniture with new families in our neighborhood!  It was a summer ritual to share the dessert on the porch, or in the grass, on a lazy afternoon.  New England Blueberry Torte is a little lighter than most recipes and should be served chilled. 



The ingredients are as follows:


Meringue

6 egg whites, at room temperature

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

1/2 cup honey

3 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided

2 1/2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries, thawed and drained



Cake

1 cup white sugar

1/2 cup butter

2 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 cup milk



1.  Beat the egg whites and the cream of tartar until peaks begin to form.

2.  Gradually add the 1/2 cup of honey and the vanilla, until the mixture stiffens.

3.  Put the meringue in the refrigerator.

4.  Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

5.  Butter and flour three circular baking pans.

6.  Cream the butter and sugar for the cake in a mixing bowl. 

7.  Add the eggs one at a time and then the vanilla.

8.  Next add the flour and baking powder.  Then stir in the milk.

9.  Pour the batter into the pans and put them in the oven. 

10.  While the cake is baking, wash your blueberries and drop them into a bowl. 

11.  Separate a handful to leave whole, and mash the others with 1/2 a tablespoon of sugar.

12.  Take the meringue out of the refrigerator.

13.  Take the cakes out of the oven just before they are completely done.  They should be brown, but not quite springy to the touch yet. 

14.  Spoon some meringue, which will be stiff but malleable, onto each of the discs of cake, and then put all three discs back in the oven. 

15.  Watch both the cake and the meringue.  When the cake is springy to the touch and the meringue has begun to brown a bit, remove them.

16.  Carefully lift the cake and the meringue out of each cake tin and spread the mashed blueberries over the meringue of the first and second layer.  After adding the third layer, cover it with your handful of whole blueberries. 

17.  Put the whole thing in the refrigerator to cool for an hour.

18.  Enjoy slowly.

Thanks to Christine for sharing this recipe. If you would like to write a comfort food related guest post for Comfort Bites, please contact me.

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