Blueberries are a summer treat. Inky blue, sweet and juicy, they are a healthy snack you can pop in your mouth, fold into yogurt and bake into desserts. I grew up in New England and lived for many years in Scandinavia, where blueberries grew wild in our garden and forest. We would forage for hours, searching for the little berries hiding in the shrubs, passing up the little clusters of unripe lilac-green berries, and plucking the midnight blues. You had to work hard to harvest a significant amount, and it was likely hopeless, since half of the harvest would be devoured on the spot.
Wild blueberries are smaller than their cultivated, or high bush, cousins, but their size yields a whopping amount of flavor and a feisty snap when your teeth break through their skin. Now, years later, I live in California, where I rely on my local farmers' market to deliver punnets of farmed blueberries, helpfully arranged in neat rows on the market tables, no picking required. These berries are larger, plumper, more sweet and less tart than their hardy wild cousins, but equally delicious and healthy. I often buy a double amount, because I know from experience that I will devour at least half of them on my way home.
I made these gorgeous tartlets with the few berries I managed to salvage from my last market trip. The luscious filling is 100 percent yogurt, not cream cheese or sour cream, so you can almost say they are healthy. I use whole milk Greek yogurt, which is naturally thick and creamy, with a slight tang that perfectly offsets the mellow sweetness of the cultivated blueberries. As for the crust, it's a traditional graham cracker crust, which, admittedly, has sugar and butter (as any self-respecting graham cracker crust should). So these tarts are rich yet light, and just a little bit wicked, which is OK if you ask me. It's a dessert after all, and we all deserve to be a little wicked.
If you prefer, you can make one large 9-inch tart, but I recommend the individual tartlets, which are fun to present.
BLUEBERRY TARTLETS WITH YOGURT AND LEMON
5 ounces graham crackers, finely ground, about 1 1/4 cups
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups whole milk Greek yogurt
1/4 cup honey or sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest, plus extra for garnish
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups blueberries
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 10 to 12 minutes
Yield: makes 6 (3-inch) tartlets. (If you prefer, you can make one large 9-inch tart, but I recommend the individual tartlets, which are fun to present.)
Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine the graham crackers, butter, sugar, cinnamon and salt in a bowl and mix until combined and sticky. Spoon 3 tablespoons crumbs into 1 ramekin or mini-tart shell and press the crumbs evenly over the bottom and up the sides; place on a baking tray. Repeat with the remaining ramekins.
Bake the shells until the crusts begin to turn golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove and cool completely on a rack.
While the crusts are cooling, whisk the yogurt, honey, lemon juice, zest and vanilla in a bowl.
Spoon the yogurt into the cooled crusts, smoothing the tops. Dot the yogurt with blueberries and garnish with lemon zest. If you have any remaining crumbs of crust, you can sprinkle a few pinches over each tartlet if desired. Refrigerate the tartlets until serving, up to 4 hours.