Quick & Easy
By Beverly Barbour
Have you ever met anyone who didn't love blueberries?
If I met someone who cared not a whit for blueberries, I would think, GOOD (more for me). Not many things that we put in our mouths are colored blue--purple perhaps (think plums and grapes) but blueberries and Concord grapes are all that come to my culinary mind. Maybe that is a reason for everyone to like those little blue balls.
One of the many delectable character traits displayed by blueberries is that you can just pop them directly into your mouth like popcorn. And, like popcorn, once you start it is really hard to stop until the bowl is empty.
But, aren't they fun to cook with--so versatile, so delicious, so uncomplaining?
They do love a little lemon. The lemon enhances the flavor of the blueberries, much as salt does when sprinkled on almost anything. They also like nutmeg and cinnamon, if you want to play around a little. Here are some basic recipes to start the action.
Fresh Blueberry Shortcakes
The Cream and Berries can be served on sponge cake or angel food as well. However, this Buttermilk Biscuit recipe melts in your mouth and is not to be overlooked. Make the Cream first, as it should stand 2 to 4 hours before serving. Biscuits can be made 3 hours ahead. Toast any extra biscuits and serve with blueberry jam the next morning.
1 cup heavy cream
4 cups fresh blueberries, divided
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
Cream: Beat cream and crème fraiche in bowl until mixture holds peaks.
Berries: Mash 1 cup berries with back of fork. Mix in sugar, liqueur, and lemon juice, then remaining berries. Let stand at least 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
Biscuits: Preheat oven to 350 F. Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine flour, 1/2 cup sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in large bowl; whisk to blend. Cut butter in thin slices into the flour. Rub butter together with flour mixture until coarse meal forms. Pour 3/4 cup buttermilk over. Toss until moist clumps form, adding more buttermilk by tablespoonfuls if dough is dry. Gather dough into a ball. Press out on floured surface to 3/4-inch thick round, about 8 1/2-inches in diameter. Using a round cutter, cut out biscuits. Gather dough scraps and repeat until all dough is used. Arrange biscuits on prepared sheet. Brush with cream; sprinkle generously with raw sugar. Bake biscuits until golden on top and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer to rack; cool 30 minutes. Let stand at room temperature until serving time. Cut biscuits in half horizontally. Place bottoms on serving plates. Spoon large dollop of cream, then scant 1/2 cup berry mixture onto each. Cover with biscuit tops. Sift confectioners sugar over. Makes 8 servings.
Wildflower Inn Blueberry Jam
Maine produces a lot of blueberries and the Wildflower Inn in Searsport, Maine knows what to do with them. This jam is delicious on pancakes or waffles, biscuits or toast.
5 cups fresh or frozen, thawed wild blueberries
Place washed and stemmed blueberries in a large saucepan and crush with a potato masher. Add sugar, juices, and salt; stir well to combine. Let blueberry mixture stand for 30 minutes. Bring mixture to a boil over medium heat, cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and add pectin, stirring until well blended. Pour jam into jars or airtight containers. Cool completely, cover and refrigerate for up to 4 weeks. Makes 7 cups; serving size 2 tablespoons.
Easier than any pie but you need to begin preparing the cheesecake one day before serving.Crust:
2 1/3 cups graham cracker crumbs
4 packages (8 oz. each) cream cheese, room temperature
1/3 cup blueberry jam
Crust: Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 375 F. Wrap outside, including the bottom, of 10-inch springform pan with heavy-duty foil. Combine all ingredients in processor. Blend using on/off turns just until crumbs are moist. Press mixture firmly onto bottom and 2-inches up sides of prepared pan. Bake until crust begins to brown, about 8 minutes. Transfer to rack and cool. Keep oven at 375 F.
Filling: With electric mixture beat cream cheese and sugar in large bowl until well-blended. Beat in flour. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating just until combined. Beat in sour cream, milk and vanilla. Pour filling into crust. Place springform pan in large roasting pan. Pour enough hot water into roasting pan to come 1-inch up sides of pan. Bake cheesecake until just set in center and top is slightly puffed and golden brown, about 1 hour. Turn off oven; keep door closed. Let cheesecake stand in oven 1 hour. Remove cheesecake from roasting pan. Refrigerate until cold, at least 6 hours. Cover; refrigerate overnight.
Topping: Stir blueberry spread in large skillet over low heat until melted. Remove from heat. Add blueberries; toss to coat. Spoon blueberry mixture over top of cake, spreading evenly. Chill until cold, at least 1 hour and up to 4 hours. Run small sharp knife around sides of cake to loosen. Release pan sides. Transfer cake to platter. Serve in wedges. Makes 10 to 12 servings.
Keep those little blue balls rolling!