Hello, amazing readers!

It’s that time again: blueberry season! I always eagerly anticipate this time of year. Peak season in July and August, and I can never ever get enough of those plump, delicious and nutritious berries!

I hope you’ll join me in participating in the Washington Blueberry Commission’s 2021 Kids’ Blueberry Recipe Competition for chefs ages 12 to 18. The contest is open June 29-July 18 at wablueberries.com/contest.

Send your favorite original blueberry recipe for the chance to win a flat of fresh local blueberries, a sweet surprise and have your recipe posted to the commission’s website! It can be a simple dish or something more complex, from jams and sauces to salads, desserts and more using fresh or frozen blueberries. Sweet or savory dishes are welcome!

I plan to submit my recipe for blueberry lemon verbena tarts.

Washington residents can enter by posting a photo of your finished dish and recipe to Instagram or Facebook, tagging @wablueberries and using the hashtag #wablueberries. Or you can email your recipe and photo to contest@wablueberries.com. Judges will narrow the field to three finalists, then prepare and taste those recipes. The recipe must be original, not copied from a cookbook.

The winner will be announced July 22. I can’t wait to see what you cook up!


Here’s my entry!

Blueberry Lemon Verbena Tarts

Food processor
Medium saucepan
Large mixing bowl
Fine sieve
Six 8-centimeter round loose-bottomed tart pans
Parchment paper
Standing mixer/handheld mixer

Ingredients for the custard:
1 cup milk
10 lemon verbena leaves
¼ cup sugar
1 egg and 2 egg yolks
1/8 cup cornstarch
5 ounces heavy cream

For the pastry:
1 ½ cups flour
⅓ cup powdered sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup unsalted butter, chopped
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon iced water

For the garnish:

9 ounces blueberries

Let’s get going!

  1. Pastry: Pour your flour and sugar in a food processor and pulse until it is well mixed. Add in your vanilla and butter, and pulse until it looks like breadcrumbs. Add in egg yolk and iced water. Pulse until the dough comes together into a smooth ball. Remove dough ball from processor, wrap in plastic and chill in your refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  2. Custard: In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine your milk, lemon verbena and half of your sugar. Bring the mixture to a simmer and then set it aside for 30 minutes to allow for the lemon verbena to infuse into the milk.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the egg and egg yolks, cornstarch and the other half of your remaining sugar until the mixture is fluffy and a pale color. Take your infused milk and bring it to a simmer again. Strain milk into your egg mixture and remove the lemon verbena leaves.
  4. Clean out your saucepan and pour the milk/egg mixture back into it. Over low heat, stir the pudding for five to six minutes or until it is thick and smooth. Transfer to another bowl. Cover with plastic wrap. Chill in refrigerator.
  5. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  6. Grease six 8-centimeter round loose-bottomed tart pans.
  7. Divide your pastry into six equal-sized pieces and roll out on a surface that has been lightly floured. Place one pastry round into each pan. Place a piece of parchment paper and fill each pan with pastry weights or dried beans to weight the pastry down. Bake for eight minutes, then remove weights and paper. Bake for an additional five minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
  8. Using a standing mixer with the whisk attachment, a handheld mixer or your very strong arms, whisk the heavy cream until it has soft peaks. Fold this into your chilled custard. Fill your pastry cases with the custard and top with blueberries. Serve on individual plates with a lemon verbena garnish if you have extra!