Thursday, July 24, 2014

Farmers Market Bounty #3: Blueberries

We are having company tomorrow night and 2 of the people can't eat gluten so I'm making my go-to summer dessert: frozen meringue cake with berry topping. Perfect since the markets are overrun with blueberries! I may add a few peaches or nectarines to the topping as well. Whenever I make this dessert I usually make creme anglais to use up the extra egg yolks.
As I was making creme this morning,and was scraping the vanilla bean seeds into the cream I starting wondering how the heck did someone discover the incredible flavor of vanilla? I always thought that the vanilla bean was stamen of an orchid, but after checking wikipedia discovered it is actually the fruit from an orchid plant and was originally harvested by Totonacs of Eastern Mexico, a tribe that was conquered by the Aztecs. So there you go...your interesting fact for the day!
In addition to the cake recipe, I'm also including a blueberry gin cocktail. We drank this several years ago and I rediscovered it the other day. As a bonus I'm also adding my mom's incredibly simple blueberry pie.So bon appetit and salut!

Blueberry Thrill

From Cooking Light

  • 2 cups blueberries
  • 1 1/2 cups dry gin
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 cardamom pods
  • crushed ice
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • additional blueberries for garnish (optional)

1. Place 2 cups blueberries in a large, heavy stainless-steel saucepan; mash with a fork or potato masher. Place over medium-high heat, and cook 3 minutes or until berries begin to release juice. Remove from heat; add gin. Cover and let stand at least for 1 hour or up to overnight. Strain mixture through a sieve into a bowl, pressing berries with the back of a spoon to remove as much juice as possible; discard solids.
2. Combine 3/4 cup water, sugar, and cardamom pods in a small saucepan; bring to a boil. Cook 2 minutes or until sugar dissolves. Cool completely; discard cardamom pods.
3. To serve, add the ice to a cocktail shaker to come halfway up sides of container. Add 1/4 cup blueberry-gin, 1 1/2 tablespoons cardamom syrup, and 1 tablespoon lemon juice; shake until chilled. Strain cocktail into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with additional blueberries, if desired. Serve immediately. Repeat procedure with remaining ingredients.

Kate's Simple Blueberry Pie


  • 1/4 cup almonds
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 T flour
  • 4 cups blueberries
  • 1 T powdered sugar
  • 1 refrigerated pie crust
  1. Follow directions for pie crust to unwrap and put in pie pan
  2. Process the almonds, flour and sugar in a food processer and sprinkle over the bottom of the pie shell.
  3. Add the blueberries and sprinkle powdered sugar on top
  4. Bake at 400 degrees for 45 minutes
Damn this is easy! I forgot about this wonderful recipe.

Frozen Meringue Cake with Berry Topping

From Epicurious 

For meringues

  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1 cup sugar
For cream

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon sifted confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract or seeds from 1 vanilla pod

To serve

  • 1 pint seasonal berries such as strawberries, raspberries, or blueberries
  • Additional whipped cream for garnish
Make meringues
  1. Preheat oven to 200°F. Line 2 large baking sheets with aluminum foil; butter and flour foil.
  2. In large bowl using electric mixer, beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar, beating until stiff and glossy. Drop 8 (approximately 1/3-cup) mounds of meringue about 1 inch apart onto baking sheets and use spoon to make indentations in centers of mounds.
  3. Bake in upper and lower thirds of oven until crisp but still white, about 45 minutes. Turn oven off and cool meringues in oven 1 hour. Using metal spatula, transfer meringues to rack to cool completely. (Meringue shells can be made up to 5 days ahead and kept in airtight container at room temperature.)

Make cream and assemble dessert
  1. Lightly oil 7-inch diameter soufflé dish or ramekin (6 cup capacity).
  2. In large bowl using electric mixer, beat cream until soft peaks form. Fold in confectioners' sugar and vanilla. Chop meringue shells into 1-inch pieces and fold into cream. Transfer mixture to soufflé dish and cover with plastic wrap. Freeze until firm, approximately 8 hours. (Can be made 3 days ahead. Cover; keep frozen.)
  3. To un-mold dessert, fill large bowl 1/3 full of hot water. Run small knife around inside edge of soufflé dish to loosen. Dip dish into bowl of hot water for 2 seconds, being careful not to splash water onto cream. Carefully invert onto serving plate. Arrange berries on top of and around frozen cream and garnish with additional whipped cream.

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