Monday, August 4, 2014

Blueberry tarts and baby giraffes at 38 weeks

You might remember that before Mikus was born I was taking bets on which would arrive first: our new refrigerator or the baby. Thankfully the fridge came first, otherwise I don’t know where I would have hidden the chocolate during that last week or two. Then of course there was the tie between my mother landing in Clermont-Ferrand and Mikus making his debut into the world. With the Greenville Zoo’s announcement that Autumn is now on “Baby Watch 2014” and my approaching 39th week, I once again declare the race is on! (You hear that baby, it’s August in The South and all my maternity shirts are too short!)

The similarities end there; I did not endure a 15-month gestation, nor will I be live-streaming the birth. Seven year old Autumn delivered her first calf 21 months ago, much to the delight of a million viewers worldwide following the pregnancy on the zoo’s live GiraffeCam. Once again you can check in on a live-stream of the mother, with one camera monitoring the paddock and one inside the barn. Fun facts: giraffes are born hooves-first, they weight between 120-150 pounds, they stand 6-feet tall at birth and usually take their first steps within the hour.

Along with the last weeks of pregnancy come the last weeks of blueberry season here in the Upstate. Since none of the berries from our bushes have made it past the hungry little hands playing in the backyard I picked up a gallon at Blueberry Hill while we were up in the Paris Mountain SP area last week. They mostly get consumed by the handful, or tossed over cereal, but some did make it to a batch of blueberry muffins and most recently, into this blueberry tart.

If you already own “Pēc acumēra un garšas, kamēr gatavs,” the Chicago Latvian scout and guide cookbook in its fourth printing (with 150 tried-and-true recipes ranging from traditional Latvian favorites such as pīrāgi and kliņģeris to soups, salads, main courses and desserts considered favorites by the best chefs in Chicago), then you’ve got this simple recipe that makes blueberry season worth it! If you don’t have what is commonly referred to as the dzeltenā pavārgrāmata (yellow cookbook) then you’ve got a chance to buy one while in Gaŗezers next weekend, as they are on sale in the kantīne for a limited time. For those of you not in the vicinity of Michigan in the next weeks, here is Dzidra Cīrule’s blueberry tart recipe…


Melleņu rausis

Ingredients for crust: 1 cup flour (I use unbleached)
          ¼ teaspoon salt
          2 tablespoons sugar
          ½ cup unsalted butter
          1 tablespoon vinegar
Ingredients for filling: 2 tablespoons flour
          2/3 cup sugar
          ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
          4 cups blueberries, divided
          powdered sugar (confectioner’s sugar)

Mix 1 cup flour, salt and 2 tablespoons of sugar, combine with butter and then incorporate the vinegar. Press into a 9” tart pan.

Combine the rest of the sugar, flour and cinnamon, then add 3 cups blueberries. Pour mixture into prepared tart pan.

Bake for 1 hour at 400˚ F.

Scatter the remaining one cup of blueberries over the tart and let cool on cooling rack before removing from pan and decorating with powdered sugar.


  1. Beautiful tart! The berries I had in MI last week were *far* superior to any I've had here in my area. :(
    I do hope the baby make an appearance soon, and thanks for the giraffe info - I remember you telling me about this when we visited the zoo. Right now I'm watching them eat. :)

  2. The tart looks delicious! I'm going to give that recipe a try. I love blueberry season. Congratulations on 39 weeks! That can't be easy in the southern heat.


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