Tag Archives: blueberries

Grilled Blueberry-Peach Crumble

Back in September 2015 I saw this terrific Skillet Peach Cobbler made in individual cast iron skillets, and wondered how it would translate to one big skillet baked on the grill. I waited all winter to give it a try, and here it is. I only made a few changes, other than the size of the skillet, to Shari’s recipe:

  • First, I made it mostly blueberry, with just a few peaches scattered around. I used 3 pints of blueberries and 3 peaches.
  • Because it seemed like a lot of fruit, I increased the lemon juice to 2 tablespoons.

Everything else is exactly as you will find it in the original. In the fall, I like oatmeal in such a dessert, but in the summer, I think that’s a little heavy, so I like this kind of topping that is very much like a streusel topping.

Of course, the blueberries I found had almost more stems than blueberries, so I had to do a lot of stemming, and the peaches were the kind where the flesh sticks to the pit, so I had to cut it off the pit before I could slice it. Luckily, a crumble or crisp or cobbler or whatever you call it is forgiving about the appearance of the fruit.

I used the indirect grilling method, with the skillet in the center between coals in side baskets. It was 400° when I put the pan in, but it quickly settled down to between 300°-350° and stayed there. I checked it after 20 minutes and the fruit was bubbling around the edges, but the crumble was not yet browned. Because I had it all in one pan, I figured it might take as long as 45 minutes and it did. I think you could translate that longer time to oven baking, as well.

Don’t forget to stop by Cook AZ I Do for the original recipe and other great recipes: Skillet Peach Cobbler

Blueberry Oatmeal Bars

I was wanting a bar cookie with fresh fruit in it, since, after all, this is summer. I kind of knew that I wanted a crumbly top on the fruit, but I didn’t want to go through that mess of one recipe for the bottom crust and another for the filling and yet another for the top. I settled on a recipe for date bars from my old Betty Crocker cookbook, but made a few changes to use fresh blueberries, quite a difference from the thick date paste in the original recipe. I personally love oatmeal date bars, but they seem more like a fall treat to me.

The date bar uses one crumb or streusel mixture for both the top and bottom, pressing it into the dish for the bottom crust, but just sprinkling the rest of the mixture on top of the filling. I didn’t see any reason why I couldn’t do it with blueberries, but I wouldn’t be cooking them first, as you do with the dates. The blueberry version turned out just what I wanted, a sandy brown sugar top and bottom with the extra chew of oatmeal, and a juicy blueberry filling. I think they need to be refrigerated both for handling and because a chilled filling is nice in the summer. They can be eaten out of hand or with a fork.

Aside from using a blueberry filling, the only change I made to the crust was to use all butter, instead of a combination of butter and vegetable shortening.

Blueberry Oatmeal Bars

  • Servings: makes 24 2 inch squares
  • Difficulty: easy
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Adapted from the “Date Bars” recipe in the Betty Crocker New Picture Cook Book (1961), p. 197.

Preheat oven to 400°; reduce to 375° after 10 minutes baking.

Butter a 9″ x 13″ baking dish.

Streusel crust:

3/4 cup butter at room temperature

1 cup packed brown sugar

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups rolled oats (not quick cooking)

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the butter and brown sugar until blended.
  2. Add the dry ingredients, except oats, mixing until combined.
  3. Stir in oats. This will be a crumbly and what I would call a sandy mixture. Just make sure that the butter is evenly distributed.

Filling:

2 pints fresh blueberries, rinsed and dried, stems removed

1/2 cup white sugar

1 generous tablespoon cornstarch

  1. Combine sugar and cornstarch.
  2. Stir in blueberries to coat.

Put it all together:

  1. Press half the streusel into the bottom of the buttered dish.
  2. Top with the sugared blueberries.
  3. Sprinkle the rest of the streusel over the blueberries.
  4. Bake at 400° for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 375° and continue baking for about 20 more minutes. The streusel should be browned and you should see some of the filling bubbling around the edges. I was concerned about using the baking recommendation of 400° for a full 30 minutes. In the original date bar recipe, the filling is cooked to a thick paste first and then cooled. In this recipe, you are cooking the filling in the bars. I was concerned that the streusel could brown too much before the filling was cooked. It’s possible that you could use the lower temperature for the entire time or for a longer time.

Cool on rack, then in refrigerator for about 10 minutes, before cutting.

What other fruits would you try in these bars? I think cherries would be good, if you could Tom Sawyer someone into doing the pitting.

 

Lemon Blueberry Ricotta Cake

While taking a break from those buttermilk bars, I was looking at that container of ricotta I had in the fridge, but not really in the mood for a heavy lasagna, or even a light lasagna, after those stuffed peppers and last weeks pulled pork enchiladas. Even a ricotta cheesecake seemed too heavy. There are many ricotta cake recipes out there and some take way too many ingredients, like Martha Stewart’s that takes 3 lbs of ricotta, arborio rice and 6 eggs! I must try it, but today I’m just looking for a small, lighter, fruity cake that would be good with a cup of tea. This Italian ricotta cake looks good, except for the Sambuca, but I decided on this cake with raspberries and used lemon zest and blueberries instead of raspberries, lots of blueberries.

This is a beautiful cake, dense and moist like a coffee cake. I recommend using a springform pan to make it easy to unmold. I put a sheet of foil under my pan in the oven in case it leaked, but it did not. The batter is very, very thick.

Lemon Blueberry Ricotta Cake

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
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Adapted from “Raspberry-Ricotta Cake” at Epicurious: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/raspberry-ricotta-cake-51264060

Preheat oven to 350°; line the bottom of a 9″ springform pan with parchment paper, and spray the paper and pan with non-stick vegetable shortening spray. If you’re worried about the seal on your pan, you can cover the bottom with foil, but this thick batter should not leak out.

Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • zest of one lemon, grated

(I like to mix the zest with the dry ingredients so the flour coats each bit and it distributes better in the final batter.)

  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk ricotta
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • 1 3/4 cups frozen wild blueberries
  1. Mix the eggs, ricotta, and vanilla in a second bowl. Stir this mixture into the dry ingredients without over-mixing. I used a hand mixer for this step, as the batter is very thick.
  2. Mix in the melted butter until incorporated.
  3. Fold in 1 1/2 cups blueberries to distribute. The berries will start to bleed a little on folding and that’s okay, but you don’t want to over-mix the batter and break all the berries.
  4. Pour and spread batter in pan—did I say it is very thick? It almost looked like polenta, what with the small grains of the ricotta.
  5. Sprinkle the remaining blueberries over the top, pressing them in a bit.
  6. Bake for 50-60 minutes. Mine took the full 60 minutes, but my springform pan is a heavy pan. Cool on a rack for about 30 minutes, then remove the outer ring and continue to cool.

Easy Puff Pastry Blueberry Tart

Some of the best desserts are the ones that look complicated, but are surprisingly easy to put together. How could you not be in love with frozen puff pastry for that reason? Yes, I made my own puff pastry once, and it wasn’t that hard—just messy and time-consuming—but I see no need to ever do it again. It was just another of those things you try to see if you can do it and to say that you have done it. I still have the article that inspired that little adventure, Julia Child’s “You Too Can Be a Pastry Cook” from March 24, 1985 in Parade Magazine, that newspaper insert in the Sunday paper:

Today’s tart is much easier to produce with frozen puff pastry, although you could make your own and keep it in the freezer, too. Like a lot of the recipes I make, it’s part with quick, available products and part from scratch. The cream filling uses pre-packaged instant pudding mix, but you have to whip the cream yourself. The blueberry topping is all from scratch but simple to create.

Easy Puff Pastry Blueberry Tart

  • Servings: 8-10; makes two
  • Difficulty: easy
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You can make the fillings before, during, or after the pastry shells are made—they both come together in minutes. Just don’t fill the shells until completely cooled.

Make the pastry shell:

Preheat oven to 400°; line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.

1 package Pepperidge Farm® puff pastry sheets

  1. Separate the two sheets and cover with plastic wrap while they thaw for about 40 minutes. They will thaw more uniformly if you unstack them for thawing. Just don’t try to unfold them while frozen.
  2. Unfold each sheet of thawed pastry on your cookie sheet and score the dough about 1/2 inch from the edge all around. Cut through as far as you can without cutting through the bottom, although I suspect it might grow together in baking if you do cut through. This is the easiest way to make a border around your tart. Some recipes suggest rolling out the dough a little and then folding over the edges—I wanted to do as little fooling with the dough as possible.
  3. Now dock the dough of the inner rectangle all over with a fork. You are trying to keep the center from rising too much. If you have pie weights, you could put those in the center to keep it down. I wish I had pie weights.
  4. Bake for about 15 minutes until browned and puffy. Remove with parchment paper to rack and cool completely.

Make the two fillings:

Vanilla Pudding Pastry Filling from Food.com

1 small box vanilla instant pudding mix (The original recipe makes a mistake here by calling it a 4.5 oz box. Actually, it makes 4 1/2 cup servings and weighs less than 4 oz)

1 cup milk

2 cups heavy cream, whipped

  1. Whip the cream until it makes big fluffy peaks, but is not churned into butter!
  2. Whisk the pudding and milk together until combined, then set aside for about 5 minutes to thicken.
  3. Fold the pudding into the whipped cream.

This is not like a cooked pastry cream made with eggs, but it is a nice, fluffy filling without a lot of sugar.

Blueberry Filling adapted from Martha Stewart’s Blueberry Tart recipe

4-5 cups (two 11 oz containers) fresh blueberries, rinsed and dried

2 tablespoons cornstarch

2 tablespoons lemon juice

2/3 cup sugar

Pinch of salt

  1. Bring 1/4 cup water and 1 1/2 cups berries to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat; simmer, stirring occasionally, until berries begin to break down, 3 to 4 minutes.
  2. In a small bowl, mix cornstarch, sugar, and salt; stir into berries in pan. Add lemon juice. Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Simmer, stirring, just until mixture begins to thicken, 30 to 60 seconds. Remove from heat. Stir in remaining fresh berries just to heat.

Spread the filling over the inner rectangles of each tart (I had a lot of leftover cream filling). Spoon the blueberry filling over the cream filling (I had just enough for the two tarts).

These tarts are a refreshing dessert that are not too sweet or filling, so go ahead and have two pieces. I cut ours into 4 squares each, but you could make more servings.