The holidays have come and gone, but I discovered a cache of frozen Lingonberries at my local specialty foods market while shopping for the holidays, in Thailand of all places, and decided to freeze loads of them with the hope that they will last until next yearâ€™s crop arrives. They are absolutely delicious and adapt to so many applications. I just canâ€™t get enough of them!
Lingonberries, in the cranberry family, are much smaller with a more intense flavor and deeper red color than the larger commercial cranberries we are all familiar with. Lingonberries are loaded with nutrients, antioxidants, and are even purported to slow down the aging process! If thatÂ isn’tÂ enough to send you running out in search of these deliciously tart red bundles of metabolism boosters perhaps theirÂ addictive spike to salad dressings, sauces, jams, soups, or even stews will convince you otherwise.
Lingonberries grow on low evergreen like shrubs, rather than in bogs, and are widely picked on the heaths in Scandinavia in the fall and early winter months and preserved, or frozen, for use throughout the rest of the year. They are also native to the north eastern Canadian coast as well as the Pacific North West. So they are available! I wholeheartedly urge you to seek them out. Additional recipes will follow this post to make the case for these brilliant red gems from nature as an essential part of your cooking adventures over the winter months and on into the summer.
Lingonberry Tart: Serves 8
Sweet pastry dough (using your preferred recipe)
Roll out the pastry dough and transfer it to a tart pan or rectangular cake pan and chill until ready to assemble the tart.
For the berry filling:
- Â½ cup water
- Â¾ cup granulated sugar
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 cups fresh or frozen Lingonberries (or cranberries if not available)
- Â¾ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
- 1 tablespoon corn starch + 1 tablespoon cold water
Place the water and sugar in a large deep sauce pan and add the cinnamon stick. Place over medium-high heat and bring to a boil without stirring and continue to cook until the sugar is melted and the liquid is beginning to color; about 4-5 minutes. Then, begin to swirl the pan over the flame and continue to cook until the sugar syrup is a medium caramel color; about 5-8 minutes. Be careful not to overcook the caramel syrup as it tends to become bitter.
Remove the pan from the heat and add the Lingonberries and orange juice which will splatter a bit and seize up in the sugar syrup. Return the pan to the stove over medium heat and cook until the seized sugar has melted back into the syrup. Place a strainer over a bowl and strain the syrup into the bowl. Set the berries aside and pour the syrup back into the sauce pan and bring to a low boil. Stir in the cornstarch water mixture and stir continuously while bringing the mixture back up to a boil and Â cook for 3 minutes until the sauce thickens. Remove the pan from the heat and add the berries to the thickened syrup. Return to the heat and simmer for a couple of minutes to combine. Remove the pan from the stove, remove the cinnamon stick, and set the pan aside to cool for 15-20 minutes.
The aboveÂ procedure is theÂ basic preparation used for many other Lingonberry recipe applications, so you might want to keep itÂ handy, omitting the cinnamon stick and cornstarch for some savory recipes.
Preheat the oven to 350F/180CÂ with the rack set in the middle of the oven.
For the topping:
- Â¾ cup pastry flour
- Â¾ cup granulated sugar
- Â½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 6oz/175 grams (1 Â½ sticks) unsalted butter, cut into small cubes and well chilled
- 1 small organic egg, lightly beaten
- Greek yogurt for serving
In a food processor combine the flour, sugar, and ground cinnamon and pulse until well mixed. Add the chilled butter cubes and pulse until the mixture resembles a course meal. Add the beaten egg and pulse just until the egg is incorporated.
Remove the prepared pasty in the baking pan from the fridge and pour in the lingonberry mixture. Scatter the crumb topping evenly over the surface of the tart and place in the oven. Bake for about 45 minutes, or until the berry syrup is bubbling up around the edges of the tart and the topping is lightly browned. Remove the tart from the oven and set on top of a cooling rack until cool.
Serve the tart at room temperature with a dollop of room temperature Greek yogurt for each serving.