Wild Blueberry and Tarragon Tartlets in Plum Island — Plum Island et des tartelettes aux myrtilles sauvages à l’estragon

plum island massachusetts

Plum Island, MA

plum island massachusetts

PLUM Island is not necessarily an island like many others we have been to. In fact, it starts with this: it is not an island as you might imagine. You only need to drive one hour North of Boston to get there; taking a boat is unnecessary. After an easy drive through the town of Newburyport, Sgt. Donald Wilkinson Bridge is the connection of the island to the rest of the world. We really love to go there.

Over the years, this natural reserve has become another of our favorite spots for a short day trip, an excellent spot for a casual picnic by the water, in winter and summer, fall or spring, as each season brings its own panel of natural beauty — except for greenheads, blood-sucking flies which hatch from the island’s salt marshes in early July. We have seen the place under the snow, in fog or haze, and under a beautiful sunny bright sun. We have also learned that the best way to enjoy the pace of this wonderful coastal stretch is by bike, and when we bring ours, we enjoy cycling to Sandy Point located at the very southern tip of this natural reserve. On the way, we can then observe the rich flora, with its thick trees and shrubs, and the vast salt marshes typical of the place, where a multitude of birds like the piping plover feed, nest and live.

Since Sunday was meant to be quite a hot and humid summer day again around here — and we hope it is the last one of the year — we knew that the best way to remain cool and sane would be to feel the sea breeze. We did not need convincing: right after noon, we packed the car and got under way. Perhaps it is cliché but I never tire of spending cool Sunday afternoons on the beach with a picnic, away from crowds. Especially when it is hot in the city.

plum island massachusetts

plum island massachusetts

With a large blanket to lie on, swimming suits, a multitude of books to read and the same basket full of picnic food — sandwiches, salad, drinks, fruit and yogurt — we were ready to find a quiet spot on the beach, quite happy to simply observe life going by. Isn’t it what Sunday is for, after all?

plum island massachusetts

plum island massachusetts

Not too many people were on the beach. Not too many people were in the water either, except for a few courageous ones. The water is not known to be too warm on the island — which some of my friends complain about.

Me?

Chut, don’t repeat it but I like it this way; it really keeps the crowds away!

plum island massachusetts

plum island massachusetts

plum island massachusetts

So we walked, and lied down, read a bit and rested. I managed to take a quick dip — the water was cold indeed — while P. watched me from a distance. And then we had our picnic. But tell me, what would one of these picnics be without a homemade sweet tart, one of those that I am so fond about?

Another one?” I can hear you say!

“Mais oui, another one.”

When some were raised eating cupcakes or cream cakes, I was tasting one tart after another.

Since we had guiltily gulped down the first batch of multi-fruit ricotta cream ones I had baked, I decided to prepare some more, using the Maine wild blueberries I had been so excited to find and buy at the market the day before. These tartlets turned out just like my mum’s tarte aux myrtilles.

plum island massachusetts

plum island massachusetts

Wild Blueberries remind me of French myrtilles found in the Vosges, a département in Lorraine close to where my parents and family live. Smaller and somewhat tarter than regular blueberries, wild blueberries are also juicy, fantastic in a tart. While in New England people like to bake blueberry pies, I like to make une tarte aux myrtilles.

plum island massachusetts

My recipe is extremely simple, making for tarts easily packed in a picnic basket. Start by making a sweet crust — and I chose to make an almond oil and quinoa sweet crust — and add a little almond flour and organic cane sugar. This time, I also had this insane idea to add tarragon to boost the flavor of the fruit — any reason to add tarragon in food always sounds great to me.

And do you know what?

Even if you do not believe me, the two flavors, tarragon and wild blueberries, really worked as a charm together.

As to the destiny of the tarts?

We did not leave a crumb, not even a single one for the seagulls greedily watching us.

So, is it next Sunday yet?

Wild Blueberry Tarragon Tartlets

Wild Blueberry Tarragon-Flavored Tartlets, Almond Oil Sweet Crust

(For 4 tartlets)

You need:

  • Almond Oil Sweet Crust, recipe here; with or without gluten, as you prefer
  • 2 cups wild blueberries
  • 2 tsp tarragon, chopped
  • Almond flour (2 Tbsp per tartlet)
  • 4 Tbsp fine cane sugar

Steps:

  • Roll your dough and place in individual molds. Make holes at bottom with a fork. Place in the fridge for 30 min.
  • Preheat your oven at 350 F.
  • In a bowl, mix the washed blueberries with the sugar and tarragon.
  • Precook the crust for 10 min (with rice placed on parchment paper).
  • Remove the paper and then sprinkle each tart with 2 Tbsp almond flour.
  • Top with the blueberries.
  • Cook the tartlets for 20 min. Remove and let cool.
Le coin français
Tartelettes aux myrtilles et estragon, pâte au quinoa et à l’huile d’amande douce

(Pour 4 tartelettes)

Ingrédients :

  • Pâte au quinoa et à l’huile d’amande douce, recette ici; avec ou sans gluten, selon préférence
  • 400 g de myrtilles
  • 2 càc d’estragon, haché
  • Poudre d’amandes (2 càs par tartelette)
  • 4 càs de sucre de canne blond

Étapes :

  • Étalez votre pâte et garnissez-en des moules individuels anti-adhésifs, ou huilés. Piquez les fonds et mettez au frigo pendant 30 min.
  • Préchauffez votre four à 180 C.
  • Dans un bol, mélangez les myrtilles lavées avec le sucre et l’estragon.
  • Faites précuire vos fonds de tarte (en couvrant la pâte de papier sulfurisé sur lequel vous mettez des légumes secs).
  • Enlevez le papier et saupoudrez chaque fond de tarte avec 2 càs de poudre d’amandes.
  • Recouvrez de myrtilles.
  • Cuisez vos tartelettes pendant 20 min. Retirez du four et laissez refroidir.

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46 comments

  1. To be honest, I’m not sure how I came across your blog, but I have to say I love it! The recipes are fabulous, and the photography is just beautiful. Keep up the wonderful posts!

  2. Beautiful photos. And I do agree completely, any reason to add a bit of tarragon to food is a good thing.

  3. As usual, the pictures and food are marvelous! Your tart is very original in it’s composition…

  4. Truly breath taking photos. It looks so peaceful and tranquil there. The tarts look yummy too.

  5. Que j’aime tes photos de la nature en général et de la plage en particulier…Tu arrives à capter des choses singulières et belles, je ne me lasse pas de les regarder!

  6. Blueberries and tarragon – I’ve never thought of that combination! It sounds good – summery but a little bit ‘grown up’

  7. Oh, là là tu me fais rêver, et la présence de l’estragon me fait fondre …. Et ces images, j’y hâte de partir en vacances ….

  8. Wild blueberries and tarragon…sounds like a unique and pleasant combination. I need to make more tarts…your’s always look delicious and gorgeous!

    I agree about Sunday’s and relaxing…you are lucky to have such a beautiful place only one hour away :)

  9. I haven’t been up to Plum Island for many years, but in your photos it is every bit as beautiful as I remember it.

  10. ah bien moi qu’en je m’y suis promenee a Plum Island, je n’ai pas vu de tartelettes aux myrtilles ??? bon va falloir que j’y retourne ! :)

  11. What beautiful pictures! I can feel my feet in the sand. And I simply love wild blueberries, I’m eating as many as I can before the season ends.

  12. I love how you are inspired by everything, wherever you go Bea. The tarts look beautiful and perfect for the picnic!

  13. Hah! Wait till my hubby hears about blueberry and tarragon. First of all, blueberry is his go-to fruit for his yoghurt granola in the morning , and tarragon is his favorite herb to use bar-none on everthing he could think of. Can you imagine how he will adore me if I make him a blueberry-tarragon tart?! ;)

  14. As always, your tarts are inspiring. But I loved the photos. It brought me back to my days of spending summers at the Cape. A wonderful escape over my morning coffee. Merci!

  15. I stumbled across your blog just recently,and I love it already!
    You take the most amazing pics.

  16. Just love those breathtaking pictures! And the tartlets…where do you find quinoa flour in the US? Maybe I can find it too, I’d like to try.

  17. What stunning tarts – I adore the tarragon here! These photos are just incredibly evocative, though my favorite might be the bag of doritos as big as its owner!

  18. Tes photos sont toujours aussi magiques, merci pour cette ballade iodée et ces petites tartes à croquer !

  19. Your post brought back memories of my first Ex. Chef “Oh, you French people and your &*&$ tarragon in everything” to which I would always respond “Oh you Americans with your &*&#* cinnamon in everything’….I agree Bea, blueberries and tarragon are a lovely combo. My dad’s favorite is tarte aux myrtilles!

  20. Bonjour,
    Ah! les photos sont comme toujours merveilleuses!

    Pourrais-je vous suggérer un autre terme pour la traduction de “blueberry” soit “bleuet”. Ce petit fruit sauvage d’Amérique que j’ai le bonheur de cueillir tout les ans à la fin août sur les terres sablonneuses longeant la mer chez moi en Acadie, sur la côte est Canadienne.

    Merci pour les succulentes recettes, j’en ai déjà l’eau à la bouche!

  21. Wow, les clichés sont d’un grand art. Je suis vraiment ébahie par tant de beauté, surtout l’oiseau volant au ras du sable et la mer prise de face. Tu es une merveilleuse photographe!!

  22. Tes photos sont absolument magnifiques, qu’il s’agisse de paysages ou de mets !
    Estragon et myrtilles, c’est original, je tenterai !

  23. what a great post and I love that you used diptychs to tell the story. I especially like the boardwalk and picnic basket photos. my husband and I are having a great culinary vacation in TN and I’m definitely going to try out some new diptychs when I report in! your tarts are very pretty

  24. By my calculations, tomorrow would be next Sunday! You are so lucky to have such a fantastic place so close by to go to and the ability to enjoy all it’s seasons! I love end of the summer on the beach! And I love your tart. Next year, I am going to put out at least 6 tarragon plants. My one this year just struggled – so I must put out enough so that one finds the right spot.

  25. I used to go to Plum Island when I was a child. I love that it was a lot less populated than Hampton Beach (which I still dislike.)

    That said, we used to pick beach plums there, about 20 years ago. I do not know if there are still beach plums around; locals may not tell you if you ask in order to keep them a secret (it’s the same at the Cape.)

    Keep an eye out for them though. They make excellent plum kuchen. They grow on shrubs, not trees. I’ve included a website so you can identify them: http://www.hort.cornell.edu/extension/commercial/fruit/mfruit/beachplum.html.

  26. Your photos and recipes always make me drool — usually for the food, lately for the beach, and today for your picnic basket! Will you tell where it came from or must it be a secret?

  27. Thanks again everyone.

    Jen, the bag is from a German company called Reisenthal.

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  30. I like your pictures. You say Plum Island is not and island? Not true. Do you go over a bridge to get to the island? Yes, you do.Is it surounded by water? yes it is.
    I have been spending every summer there as far back as 1957.

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  32. I’m loving your blog and all the great recipes. My husband and I used to go to Plum Island but we haven’t been in years. So this year we have decided to drive down from Montreal with our 9 year old son to show him the area and have lots of beach time (except the drop off Plum Island scares me a bit).
    Food recommendations? We are not sure exactly where we are staying yet (maybe near Danvers as it will be difficult to find something closer) but no matter we will go anywhere the food is good and casual. Have you eaten at Bob’s on Plum Island?
    A bientot.
    Suzanne

  33. Suzanne, you’ll have a wonderful time! I haven’t eaten at Bob’s before, so I would know…

  34. Hello:
    Wow! This is a great visit to Plum Island. I compile a monthly issue of The Nature Place for my group on e-mail. May I have permission to use your article and photos. All articles and photos in each issue have been contributed by our readers. Question: Why is it called Plum Island?
    I couldn’t find the answer anywhere.
    Looking forward to hearing from you
    Shirley
    sunnyasalark@aol.com

  35. Lauresophie,

    Alors non, pas du tout. C’est une surprise. Ce n’est pas moi qui est téléchargé la recette!

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