My fascination with blueberries began with a phone call last week about chicken spaghetti and missionaries. It ended with three new recipes for the tiny morsels of juicy goodness that, enjoyed over a scoop of vanilla ice cream, baked in a succulent pie or cake, or eaten alone, will get me through the summer. If I have to narrow it down, blueberry cake, lemon-blueberry dessert, and Vanishing Blueberry Pie are the top three treasures from what I call the "Week of the Blueberry."
First, a friend called to ask if her lunch menu was substantial enough to feed the missionary family from church. My friend planned to prepare a large dish of chicken spaghetti, green salad with Mississippi Comeback dressing, and Gulf Coast garlic bread. For dessert, she planned to bake her favorite blueberry cake.
As she continued on and on about the missionaries and their six children and whether or not she should bake one vat of chicken spaghetti or two, my mind wandered back to the blueberry cake. Before the conversation was over, I had the recipe. I’m assuming the missionaries left happy and well fed.
As I made the blueberry cake, I pilfered more than a few from the measuring cup as I added them to the cake batter. I’d forgotten how juicy and delicious they are. A little research showed that blueberries are not only tasty, but low in saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium. They’re also a good source of dietary fiber, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, and Manganese.
And here’s even better news. New evidence suggests that blueberries can improve memory. Additionally, blueberries may slow down or postpone the onset of other cognitive problems frequently associated with aging. Even better reasons to make lots of blueberry desserts this summer.
I pulled out a recipe booklet sent to me by Lucky Leaf Pie Filling. Flipping through the pages, I perused the ingredients for Lemony Blueberry Layered Pie. It’s a slightly different version from regular blueberry pie made with a cream cheese filling.
To make this celestial, yet easy dessert, combine a bar of cream cheese, 14-ounce can of sweetened condensed milk, and 1/4 cup powdered sugar in a large bowl. Blend with a hand mixer for two minutes until smooth. Then add a 3.4-ounce box of lemon pudding mix, 1/4 cup lemon juice, and two teaspoons of lemon zest; mix until blended.
Spoon about half of a can of Lucky Leaf Blueberry Pie Filling into a 9-inch graham cracker crust, then pour lemon-filling mixture on top. Smooth down with a spatula, cover and chill for at least one hour. Remove from refrigerator and spoon remaining blueberry pie filling over top just before serving.
To top off my week of blueberries, I pulled out the Junior League of Jackson’s cookbook, Come on In! The recipe for Vanishing Blueberry Pie, aptly named because it doesn’t stay around long, has always been one of my favorites. It’s not too early to begin planning for Fourth of July cookouts, so I’m sharing the easy recipe. It’s the perfect salute to the juicy berries that fed the missionaries and will make our summer sweeter.
Vanishing Blueberry Pie
1 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg, beaten
2-1/2 cups fresh blueberries
Pastry for 9-inch pie shell, unbaked
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
3 tablespoons chopped pecans or walnuts
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. For the pie, blend sour cream, flour, sugar, vanilla, salt, and egg until smooth. Fold in blueberries. Pour filling into pastry shell and bake 25 minutes. Make the topping by thoroughly combining flour, butter, and nuts. Sprinkle topping over pie and bake 10 additional minutes. Chill before serving.
Recipe from Come On In! by the Junior League of Jackson
Summer's Best Blueberry Pound Cake
3/4 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
1/3 cup plus 1 teaspoon milk, divided
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups frozen blueberries
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
Heat oven to 325 degrees. Grease a 9-x-5-inch loaf pan; set aside. In a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer beat butter until creamy; gradually add sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating just until blended after each addition.
In a separate bowl, stir the flour, baking powder and salt. Add alternately: 1/2 of the flour mixture, the milk, then the remaining flour, beating at low speed just until blended after each addition. Spread half of the batter into the prepared pan. Top with half of the blueberries. Gently spread remaining batter over blueberries, then sprinkle remaining blueberries over the top. Tap the pan briskly on the counter top to settle the batter. (The blueberries will distribute themselves throughout the cake during baking.)
Bake 50 to 60 minutes, until golden and a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool in pan 10 minutes. Turn out and cool completely on a wire rack, about 1 hour. In a small bowl combine confectioners’ sugar with the remaining teaspoon milk. Brush or drizzle over cake.