It’s going to be warm soon! Here’s how I can tell:
1. Mosquitoes are back. And biting. Love them.
2. I no longer have to layer up like an onion with jumpers and knits and coats and two or three pairs of socks and scarves and beanies just so that I can go outside. Maybe I can even pack up my winter coats for the year? That’s probably wishful thinking.
3. Today, when I left the house at 5.45am to go to work, there was some daylight outside. The sun was rising. It wasn’t pitch black. I could actually see where I was going on my way to the car. It blew my mind.
4. When I got to said car, it didn’t have a layer of ice on the windscreen.
5. Among all the rainy, cold, miserable Melbourne days, there have been a few warm ones this month. Gorgeous days where you can actually wear just a t-shirt when you go outside. It’s amazing.
6. It is not absolutely freezing and bitingly cold at night anymore. Most of the time.
7. I can smell spring. I’m not sure if it’s the freshly cut grass, or the blossoming flowers, or just the promise of warmth in the air, but it smells like spring outside. I love the smell of spring.
8. My eyes are itchy itchy and I am sneezing all the time. I have hay fever! It’s so attractive.
9. I have actually been motivated to go running recently. Which definitely did not happen at all during winter. No, no it didn’t.
10. I have started baking with summer fruit. Actual fresh summer fruit, not frozen summer fruit. Like blueberries. Yum! Bring on summer
- FOR THE SHORTBREAD BASE
- ½ cup icing sugar (55g, 2 oz)
- 1½ cups plain flour (215g, 7½ oz)
- ¾ cup unsalted butter, softened (170g, 6 oz)
- pinch of salt
- FOR THE BLUEBERRY FILLING
- This pie filling calls for tapioca flour. If you can’t find this, try using extra cornstarch or some flour as a replacement thickener.
- 1kg blueberries (2 pounds)
- 1 cup sugar
- ¼ cup tapioca flour
- 2 tbsp cornstarch
- pinch of salt
- FOR THE CRUMBLE TOPPING
- 1½ cups plain flour
- 125g cold unsalted butter, cubed (1/2 cup + 1 tbsp)
- 3 tbsp brown sugar
- pinch of salt
- Preheat the oven to 180 C (350 F) and line a 9 x 13 inch pan with baking paper.
- To make the crust, sift the icing sugar into the bowl of your stand mixer. Add the flour and salt. Fit the mixer with the paddle attachment and mix on a low speed to combine.
- Add the butter and mix on a low speed just until a dough forms.
- Put the dough in the pan and press it evenly into the base and up the sides. This will take a little time and is annoying, but keep at it.
- Line the crust with parchment paper and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake the crust about 25 – 35 minutes, until it evenly colours to a deep golden brown. I had to uncover mine for the last 5 minutes.
- While the crust is baking, make the crumble. In the same stand mixer, add the flour, butter, sugar and salt. Mix on a low speed for 4 - 5 minutes, until a buttery crumble forms. Set aside.
- To make the filling, mix together the blueberries, sugar, tapioca flour, cornstarch and salt in a large bowl. Set aside.
- When the crust is ready, take it out of the oven. Spread the blueberry filling evenly over it, and top with the crumble.
- Return to the oven and bake for 40 minutes, until the crumble is golden brown. Allow to cool completely before cutting. Makes 20 pie bars.
Shortbread crust adapted from Tartine by Elisabeth M. Prueitt and Chad Robertson.