“When I was 17 my mom and dad took the train west to visit family. They left me home with my baby brother who was maybe 2 years old. At that time I didn’t think anything of it, I had helped my mom from the time he was born. We lived on a farm and every morning I’d get up before my brother to take care of the chores around the house. Then some days I would put him in the backseat of our car. There were no baby seats, and I was driving, so I just put him in the back and told him to stay put.
There was a big blueberry patch a few miles down the road and so every day when the chores were done we would make our way there. I spread out a quilt for him and I picked blueberries until all the buckets were full. He sat on the blanket, playing with sticks, or whatever he found around him. I’m sure there were ants crawling on the blanket and who knows what else but back then no one fussed about that stuff.
When we’d get home at night I would make the blueberries into preserves and can them. It had to be done right away or the berries would have gone bad. By time my parents got home I was able to have picked and saved 50 pounds of blueberries. If I would have waited until my mom came home they would have all been gone. You know I didn’t even think about doing this, it was just a part of life, the way things were. Every summer my husband, kids, and I would go pick berries – all kinds – to put up. My husband still makes a couple hundred gallons of blueberry wine. We’re lucky to get a few bottles after we give it to family and friends. It’s a good thing they’ve made blueberry bushes now, I don’t know if my back could take bending over to pick off those little bushes on the ground.”
Before we moved we had a garage sale to get rid of all of our extra “stuff”. In a way that I’ve come to discover is quintessentially Midwestern my mom struck up a conversation with an older couple. The man was a World War II vet and wore his Navy pride on his VFW hat. Somehow the conversation turned to a discussion about the best place to pick blueberries, and the giant bucket my mom and step-dad picked a few days earlier. Then she told us the story that she always remembers when she thinks about blueberries. As she walked away I smiled and told my mom, those stories just capture a moment of someone’s life, a piece of the past. It’s too bad they aren’t shared often enough and just disappear.
As I was making these, I kept thinking back to the lady and her little brother. I wondered how time had changed them, if he admired his big sister and I would have the guts to leave my 17 year old in charge of a toddler for a few weeks (I wouldn’t!). I thought about the treats they made through the cold Wisconsin winter with the blueberries, bringing back a small taste of summer. I couldn’t save the blueberries and there’s none to be found here but if you happen upon some fresh berries, or even some frozen berries that have been thawed you’ll love this easy breakfast/dessert.
- 2 cups coconut flour
- 1 cup almond flour
- 11/2 Tbsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp xantham gum
- 1 stick or 4oz of cold butter cut into cubes
- 2 tbsp vegetable shortening
- 1/4 c ice water
- 2 cups blueberries
- 2 Tbsp chilled butter
- 2 Tbsp sugar
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 1/2 cup almond flour
- sliced almonds for decoration
- Add the coconut flour, almond flour, xantham gum, sugar, and salt to a food processor. Begin to pulse and add the butter and vegetable shortening. Continue to pulse until there are no large pieces left and the dough looks like bread crumbs. Slowly add water just until the dough comes together. Warp the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least two hours but up to 24 hours. (If you do not have a food processor the ingredients can be mixed by hand)
- Add washed and rinsed blueberries to a large bowl. Use your fingers to break apart the butter in to small pieces and combine with the berries. Mix in sugar, lemon juice, and almond flour.
- Preheat oven to 400F
- Remove dough from the fridge and divide into four to five equal parts. Allow the dough to warm up a little. Lightly dust a cutting board with coconut flour or almond flour and press out the dough with your hands. You will want to create a round disc shape.
- In the middle of the disc add a few teaspoons of the blueberry mixture. Fold up the edges of the galette. It WILL NOT cover the full top of the pastry, just a rough lip.. If the dough buckles or even crumbles a little bit it’s ok. This is a rustic pastry.
- Slide each galette onto a baking sheet that it will not stick.. I like to use a silpat liner. A sheet lined with parchment paper will also work. Decorate the tops of the pastry with slivered almonds.
- Once all galettes are ready to bake, place in the oven for 20 minutes and then check. The crust should be a toasted brown color and the fruit soft when you poke with a fork or knife. If they are not done at this point, continue checking every 5 minutes. Be careful not to overcook.
- These are often served at room temperature but I think they taste best when warm.
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