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Thursday, August 28, 2014

Blueberry Lemon Squares

These Blueberry Lemon Squares are a taste delight in the mouth.  I particularly like lemon flavoured desserts and these squares are no exception.  The tangy lemon paired with sweet blueberries makes a most refreshing and delightful cookie square.  

I've had the lemon square recipe for some years and had always made it without the blueberries as that's how it was supposed to be made.  One year I threw in a few blueberries, with great success, and the Blueberry Lemon Square was born.  

Of course, you can make it without the blueberries for a superb Lemon Square but at this time of the year, when the blueberries are free for the picking, I always throw in the berries for another taste treat.

Serve them in larger pieces, with a fork, for a nice plated dessert or cut them smaller for finger sized cookie squares or bars. 

Blueberry Lemon Squares   
1 can sweetened condensed milk
½ cup lemon juice
1 tablespoon grated lemon rind
Pinch of salt

1 cup quick oats, uncooked
1 cup flour
½ cup coconut
½ cup coarsely chopped pecans or walnuts
½ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup butter, melted

1½ cups blueberries, fresh or frozen

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and line a 9 x 9-inch baking pan with parchment paper.

In medium bowl, combine sweetened condensed milk, lemon juice, rind and salt.  Lay aside.

In a separate medium bowl, combine oats, flour, coconut, nuts, sugar, baking powder, salt and butter. Combine to form a crumbly mixture. Set aside.

Pat just over half of crumb mixture evenly on bottom of 9 x 9-inch baking pan. Spread evenly with the blueberries. Spread sweetened condensed milk mixture on top and sprinkle with remaining crumbs. 

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool thoroughly before cutting. 

Makes 9-36 servings.  It just depends on how big or small you cut them.   Store in refrigerator in a loosely covered container.

Mix the sweetened condensed milk, lemon juice and lemon rind together.  The mixture will become thick and smooth and almost cheese-like, reminiscent of a ricotta cheese mix.

Mix the melted butter with the dry ingredients until a crumbly mixture is formed.  Press just more than half into a 9x9-inch pan.  Reserve remaining crumbs for the topping.

Layer blueberries over the bottom crust.  Spoon on the condensed milk mixture and spread over the berries.  Top with reserved crumbs.

Pat the crumbs firmly onto the top and bake for 30 minutes.
Cut into squares.  The size is up to you.  
They can be cut in larger dessert squares or smaller finger size.

Luscious with sweet blueberries and tangy lemon.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Blueberry Chocolate Punch Bowl Trifle

Sometimes you need a large dessert for a dinner party, potluck or family gathering.  Recently I had 16 people (one being an infant who has not had the privilege of tasting anything but milk) invited for dinner and needed a large dessert to accompany the main meal.  As it is blueberry season I wanted to use  the berries in the mix but was looking for something different.  As everyone likes chocolate (most everyone) I made this LARGE punch bowl dessert based on a chocolate cake.  

You may have eaten a Black Forest Cherry Cake or Trifle and this is similar in that a chocolate cake is layered with a blueberry filling and chocolate pudding.  Not many blueberry desserts are paired with chocolate but I thought it would be good and I was correct in my assumption. 

I used a punch bowl to build this trifle so when I say this is a large dessert I mean it is HUGE.  It will serve 20 or more guests generous servings so it does make a perfect dessert for a large gathering.  Of course if you want a "normal" size dessert cut everything down and use about one-third of the ingredients.

During the year different fruit fillings can be substituted for the blueberries but in August blueberries seems to be the perfect pick. I have also included the recipes for Blueberry Puree, Blueberry Pie Filling and Homemade Chocolate Pudding if you would like to make everything homemade.

Blueberry Chocolate Punch Bowl Trifle 
1 9x13-inch prepared chocolate cake, homemade, cake mix or purchased
1 cup blueberry puree*

3-4 cups blueberry pie filling* or 2 cans (If using canned add 2 tablespoons water to thin out the filling.)
2 packages chocolate instant pudding prepared with 3 cups milk OR 3 cups homemade chocolate pudding*
4-5 cups whipped cream or whipped topping or large tub Cool Whip
Fresh blueberries for garnish
Chocolate curls for garnish

Make sure cake is cold before beginning. 

Use a very large bowl such as a punch bowl or divide into two smaller bowls. 

Prepare chocolate pudding with 3 cups of milk or make the homemade pudding.  Mix with 2 cups whipped topping.  Lay aside until needed.

Cut prepared cake into medium size cubes.

Layer in punch bowl as follows:

1.  ⅓ cake cubes
2.  ⅓ blueberry puree
3.  ⅓ blueberry filling
4.  ⅓ mixed chocolate pudding
Repeat two more times.  Top with remaining 2 cups whipped topping.  Garnish with fresh blueberries and chocolate curls.  Chill at least 3 hours or overnight.

Makes lots–about 20 servings.  

*Recipes follow.

Cube the cake and lay about ⅓ in the bottom of punch bowl.  Dribble the blueberry puree over cake cubes.  Cover with about ⅓ of the pie filling.  Layer the pie filling with a mixture of chocolate pudding and whipped topping.  Make 3 layers of the cake, blueberry puree and filling and pudding.  Top everything off with more whipped topping.  

 The layers show up nicely in a clear punch bowl.

Decorate the top with fresh blueberries and chocolate curls.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Blueberry Puree
1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen
2 tablespoons sugar (can use more if you like it sweeter)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
¼ cup water

Place all ingredients in blender and whiz until completely blended and smooth.  This doesn’t have to be sieved to take out any solids because it will blend into the cake.  

Makes approximately 1 cup.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Blueberry Pie Filling
6 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen
½ tablespoons cornstarch

⅓ cup white sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
½ teaspoon grated lemon rind, optional
½ cup water

Mix everything together in a medium saucepan.  Cook over medium heat until thickened and bubbling.  Cook 1 minute after bubbles break the surface.  Cool and store with plastic wrap over surface. 

Makes approximately 3½ cups. 

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Because of time constraints, I used instant pudding, but this  homemade cornstarch Chocolate Pudding when cooled will make the perfect chocolate filling for your trifle.

Homemade Chocolate Pudding
½ cup white sugar
3 tablespoons cocoa
¼ cup cornstarch + 1 tablespoon (The extra tablespoon is to make a thicker pudding)
⅛  teaspoon salt
2 ¾ cups milk
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla

In a saucepan, stir together sugar, cocoa, cornstarch and salt. Place over medium heat, and stir in milk. Bring to a boil, and cook, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and bubbles break the surface.  Cook 1 more minutes.  Remove from heat, and stir in butter and vanilla. Cool and store with plastic wrap over the surface. 

Makes approximately 3 cups.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

 Needed:  20 people with spoons!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Steamed Blueberry Pudding

There's nothing as down-home as a Steamed Blueberry Pudding.  People don't make them much anymore.  They seem to be relegated to grandmothers and great-aunts to make the traditional desserts.  So, as a grandmother and great-aunt here's my contribution to the education of the younger generation.  

My mother was a great hand at making steamed puddings.  Growing up we had a variety of them almost weekly during the the year but Steamed Blueberry Pudding would be one of those once-a-year treats we looked forward to only during blueberry season. Frozen food for consumers was in its infancy and for most people the little freezer at the top of the refrigerator was sufficient for a brick of ice cream or any other "exotic" frozen food that might spike one's interest while grocery shopping.  As a child hardly anyone had a freezer to preserve the blueberries so unless your father was a hunter or fisherman your mother used up as many berries as she could making blueberry cakes, muffins and puddings.  Pies could be made all year round because the berries would be made into jam and preserves for winter use.  But for most of us blueberry season was also Blueberry Pudding season as well. 

Of course, fresh  blueberries are now available year-round.  But many home freezers hold the bounties of the land in gallon-sized plastic bags awaiting the cold winter months to break out a taste of summer with the little wild blueberries to be eaten on cereal or baked into goodies, once only made during the summer.   Even though a blueberry pudding can now be made any time of the year it always tastes best made with fresh wild berries still warm from the picking. 

This isn't my mother's recipe.  She would have used a white batter for her pudding but this one is simply excellent.  The brown sugar used in the batter gives a wonderful butterscotch flavour that complements the blueberries wonderfully.  The pudding can be eaten immediately when cooked or can be frozen for another meal.  Thaw the frozen pudding and place in the original mould.  Steam about half an hour and your pudding will just as fresh as the day you made it.  

Steamed Blueberry Pudding
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup butter or margarine
1 cup lightly packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla 
½ cup milk
1½ cups blueberries, fresh or frozen

Grease a 2-litre (quart) pudding mould.  A 2-litre heat-proof bowl or casserole dish makes a good substitute.  You may also use two well washed 28 oz. stewed tomato cans.

Prepare a large dutch oven or soup pot with 3 or 4 inches of water.  The pot should be large enough to hold the pudding with enough space for a  pot cover.  Place a trivet on the bottom.  Bring the water to a simmer while preparing pudding batter.  

Remove 1 tablespoon of flour and mix with the fresh berries.  Skip this step if using frozen berries as the flour will clump from the moisture.

Mix remaining flour, baking powder and salt together.  Lay aside. 

Cream butter and brown sugar together.  Add eggs and vanilla; beat well until light and fluffy.  You may beat the butter mixture with a whisk or use an electric beater.

Add dry ingredients to butter mixture alternately with the milk. Stir in blueberries.

Turn batter into prepared mould or bowl.  Cover with wax paper and foil and tie tightly with twine or secure with a sturdy elastic band.  Place the prepared pudding into the pot of simmering water. the water should be hot enough to break bubbles.  Steam 2 to 2½ hours.   Check periodically to make sure there is enough water in the pot.  It should be at least 2 inches deep at all times. Use boiling water to replenish the pot.

When pudding is cooked, carefully remove from water.  Let pudding set  at least 10 minutes. Turn mould or bowl upside down on serving plate.  Cut pudding into wedges and serve hot or warm with a Brown Sugar or Lemon Sauce. 

Makes 8-10 servings.


Brown Sugar Sauce
½ cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch 
1 teaspoon vanilla 
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 cup boiling water
1 tablespoon butter

Combine all ingredients except lemon juice and vanilla.  Cook over medium heat until mixture comes to a gentle boil.  Lower heat and continue to cook and occasionally stir for 2 minutes.  Add lemon juice and vanilla and mix well.  Serve with steamed pudding.


I don't have a pudding mould so I always use some kind of heat proof bowl.  I've had this one almost 40 years and it serves me well for steamed puddings.  Whatever you use, grease it well with butter or pan spray and for added assurance flour the container as well.

Anything that will keep the bowl off the bottom of the pan will work as a trivet.  I've used screw on rings from canning jars.

If using fresh berries, use 1 tablespoon of the measured flour to sprinkle over the blueberries.  It's supposed to keep the berries from sinking to the bottom of the batter during baking.  Mix the remaining flour, baking powder and salt together and lay aside. 

Cream the butter and brown sugar together adding the eggs and vanilla.  Beat until light and fluffy.  Then add the flour and milk alternately into the batter.  I find using a whisk is just as efficient as an electric mixer for this batter. 

Fold in the blueberries.  I'm using fresh berries but this can be made just as successfully with frozen berries.  Frozen berries may leave blue streaks through the batter but this won't affect the quality of the pudding.

Place the batter in the well-greased bowl or mould.  Cover with waxed or parchment paper.  I like to secure the paper with an elastic band and then I bring aluminum foil up around the bowl.  It works well for me.  Place the wrapped pudding in the hot water.  Make sure you have a trivet on the bottom so the bowl won't sit directly on the bottom of the pot.  Cover and steam for 2 to 2½ hours.  My pudding took exactly 2 hours.  Make sure the water is always at a low boil or heavy simmer.  Replenish the water as needed.

When the pudding has finished steaming remove from the pot, carefully avoiding burning yourself on the steam.  Peel back the papers and you'll reveal a tasty treat ready for eating.

 A healthy drizzle of Brown Sugar Sauce.  Where's my spoon?

A taste of summer any time of the year!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Lassy Buns

Lassy Buns (Molasses Buns for those not acquainted with the vernacular of Newfoundland) are one of those treats your grandmother gave you when you went to her house after school.  Well, the grandmothers of yesteryear did.  Don's mother usually had a good supply of these distinctly molasses-flavoured buns on hand at any given time and the boys (little and big) always enjoyed eating them when we went to Nan's.  She would often send up half a dozen or so when she baked and not only did the boys go for them, so did I.  My mother never made these sweet molasses buns and they were new to me when I was first married.  

Lassy Buns can be found throughout the Atlantic provinces but we Newfoundlanders are sure they belong to us. For years molasses from the West Indies was traded for Newfoundland codfish and became a kitchen staple in every home. During my grandmother's time, molasses was used to sweeten tea, breads, cookies, puddings and buns.  It was used as a spread on bread, as a sauce for puddings, and as a syrup over pancakes and toutons (fried bread dough). Many traditional Newfoundland recipes trace their roots back to molasses as a main ingredient.   

Molasses Buns can still be found in almost any good bakery and in grocery stores that carry locally baked items.  Lassy buns can be made plain or with raisins, with or without spices.  I like them any way they are made, though I don't ever recall Nan Gill making them with raisins.  

I've asked Nan several times for the recipe for her Lassy Buns but she tells me she hasn't made them in such a long time she can't remember how she put them together.  I should have gotten the recipe years ago.  Here's my recipe, and although they are good, anyone in the family eating them will tell you they're not Nan Gill's buns.  I sent a few down to her a couple of months ago and wondered how she liked them.  She told me they were too dark and strong.  I was a bit taken back at that statement as she likes the store-bought buns which are as big and dark and heavy as a hockey puck.  But she did manage to eat every one of the buns and a few weeks later she commented on how good they were.  It's true, mine are darker than hers and I've included the spices which I don't think Nan used.  Anyway, you'll find as much variety in a Lassy Bun as there are in the people who make them.  

These buns are sweet and spicy and full of molasses--almost a hybrid of a cookie and a biscuit. They can also contain raisins for a Lassy Raisin Bun.  I've not added the raisins in these as I like them plain.  They're good just as they are or can take a pat of butter or a spoonful of jam.  Don eats them like a cookie but I like them buttered. (We're like Jack Sprat and his wife.) They're great in a lunch box or make a great snack with a tall glass of milk or a cup of tea.  (I just ate two for my breakfast.)

Lassy Buns
3 cups flour
½ cup sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon, optional
¼ teaspoon cloves, optional

½ cup molasses
½ cup butter
½ cup milk
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients together, mixing well.  Lay aside.

In a small microwave-proof bowl, combine molasses, butter and milk.  Microwave 40 seconds or until butter is starting to melt.  Stir until everything is combined.  The mixture should not be hot.  If it is let cool.  Add egg and vanilla and beat together until combined.

Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the molasses mixture.  Gently mix until everything is combined in a soft dough. 

Turn dough out onto a well floured surface and gently knead 3 or 4 times to bring the dough together.  Pat dough out into a rectangle or circle about an inch high.  Using a well floured biscuit cutter cut out the buns and lay on parchment paper lined cookie sheet.  You may have the buns touching for soft sides or leave a little space between for crusty sides. 

Bake 12-15 minutes.

Makes about 20 small buns or 15 medium.

½ cup of raisins may be added to the batter for Lassy Raisin Buns.

 Mix the dry ingredients together.  Combine well.  Set aside.

 Heat butter, molasses and milk together just long enough to start melting the butter.  Mix with egg and vanilla.

Combine the wet and dry ingredients together.  Use a gentle hand when mixing.  The dough will be quite soft.  Turn out on well floured surface and knead together 3 or 4 times until the dough comes together.  Pat or roll out to about an inch thick.  Cut with cookie or biscuit cutter.  If you don't have a cutter use a drinking glass.  Dip the open end of glass in flour and use that to cut out the buns. 

I like to place the buns close together.  They will rise and fill in the pan while baking.  
Mmmmm....first bun out.

 A little butter or jam tops off the bun.  I like a bit of butter.

Store Lassy Buns in an airtight container.

Lassy Buns waiting for a cold glass of milk or cup of tea.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Eggplant Parmesan

Don and I both enjoy eggplant, especially if its Eggplant Parmesan.  I started making this years ago and it was an immediate hit with the family.  It's a great casserole to make ahead and bake just before eating.  It's a good potluck dish as well.  People see the cheese and tomato sauce and automatically their mind tells them they'll like this dish.  Even if they've never eaten eggplant before, most people enjoy this dish. 

Eggplant Parmesan is a delicious casserole which makes a great side dish to meatballs, spaghetti, macaroni or any pasta dish.  It's also good with potatoes, veggie patties and salad.   It can even step in as the main dish in a meal, mmmmm....Eggplant, garlic bread and salad.  Anyhoo, if you like pizza, you'll probably like Eggplant Parmesan. 

Eggplant Parmesan is a dish that is really a process rather than a recipe.  It's hard to measure what a large, medium or small eggplant will yield in slices but I'll try and give you as accurate measurements as I can.  Don't be put-off with the length of the recipe. It's because I'm trying to explain what I do.  Actually, it's a very simple recipe--fry, layer and bake. 

Eggplant Parmesan
1 large eggplant or 2 smaller medium eggplant
1 cup flour
2 cups dry breadcrumbs or cracker crumbs (I like saltine cracker crumbs)
Salt and pepper to season crumbs and flour
1 egg
½ cup milk

Oil for frying

2-3 cups tomato sauce (your favourite canned or homemade)
1½ cups grated Mozzarella cheese
¼-½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Wash and slice eggplant in approximately ½-inch slices. No need to peel.  I had 12 slices from the eggplant I used.

Lay eggplant on a tray or plate and sprinkle both sides lightly with salt.  Leave the eggplant slices for 15 minutes to draw out excess moisture and bitterness.  If your eggplant is very fresh you may omit this step as fresh eggplant should not be bitter.  After 15 minutes, blot off the accumulated moisture with paper towelling.  

Place the flour in a shallow bowl or container.  Season with about ¼ teaspoon salt and pepper each.  Mix well.  

Place the bread or cracker crumbs in another shallow bowl and season the same as the flour.  If you are using salted crackers, omit the salt.

Beat the egg and milk together in a shallow bowl. You may have to double this amount if you run out of the egg mixture.

Bread the eggplant slices one at a time as follows:
1.  Dip slice on both sides in egg mixture.
2.  Dredge slice on both sides in flour.
3.  Dip slice back into the egg mixture, covering both sides.
4.  Dredge slice in crumbs to cover both sides.

As each slice is breaded place it on a tray or piece of parchment paper.

When all slices are breaded, heat 2 tablespoons of cooking oil in a frying pan over medium heat.  Lay as many slices into the hot oil, without crowding, and fry on each side 3 or 4 minutes until each side is golden brown and eggplant has softened.

Continue frying until all slices are cooked.  You may have to add more oil as the eggplant is like a sponge, but go easy on the oil because you can use up to half a cup (or more) just frying the eggplant and you don't want to do that!  Place the fried eggplant on paper towels to soak off some of the oil.

Alternately, you may bake the eggplant slices at 375 degrees on a well oiled cookie sheet.  Bake them about 20-25 minutes, turning each slice half way through the baking.

When the eggplant is all fried or baked, assemble the casserole.  

You will probably need an 8x11-inch  or a 10-inch round baking dish.  Judge the dish size by the amount of slices you have.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 

Lightly grease the baking dish. Place about ⅓ of the tomato sauce in the bottom of the dish.  Lay half the eggplant slices on top of the sauce.  Place a second ⅓ of the sauce on top of the slices.  Sprinkle with half the Mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses.  Place the remaining eggplant slices on the cheese, spread the remaining sauce over the slices and sprinkle with the remaining cheese.   Bake 30-40 minutes or until bubbling and the cheese begins to blister and start to form a crust.  

When assembling use as much sauce and cheese as you wish.  I like less sauce but a good amount of cheese.  

Makes 4-6 servings.

Salting the eggplant slices will release any bitter juice that may be lurking inside the flesh.  Dry well with paper towels before frying.  New fresh eggplant won't be bitter but we're talking imported eggplant here in Newfoundland.  I'm assuming they aren't fresh by the time I buy them.

You can see the breading station in the upper left corner--egg, flour, egg, crumbs.  The eggplant doesn't take too long to fry to a lovely golden brown.  Make sure you drain the fried slices on absorbent paper.
First layer with slices, sauce and cheeses.  Second layer, same as the first.  Then it's ready for the oven. may place the finished dish in the refrigerator and bake later or next day.

The baked Eggplant Parmesan.  See, it does look something like pizza.  So good.

A delicious casserole of Eggplant.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Oatmeal Blueberry Muffins

I like all things blueberry and blueberry muffins are no exception.  These muffins are probably different from what you may be used to because they contain oatmeal and brown sugar as opposed to the more common white batter that usually holds the blueberries in a muffin.  These are "real" muffins and not those cakey things disguised as muffins.  Don't get me wrong, I like cake but if you're going to be a cake, be cake or at least call yourself a cupcake.  A cake by any other name is still cake. (I'll lay that rant aside now.)  These muffins are not overly sweet and could almost be called nutritious if you use the whole wheat flour and don't use the crumb topping.  I like the crumb topping, especially if I'm entertaining at breakfast or at a brunch.  To be honest, I like the crumb topping even if I'm home alone and no one is going to eat the muffins but me.  I'm drawn to crumbs.  

This recipe comes from my friend Janet.  We both taught together many years ago when I was young and she was even younger.  She submitted this Blueberry Muffin recipe to our fundraiser cookbook and I'm so glad she did.  I have added the optional crumb topping to the original recipe because as I stated above, I like crumb toppings.  

As you can see, this book has been used and over-used.  
It's falling to pieces and is well stained on my favourite recipes.

As with any muffin or quick bread, use a gentle hand when mixing.  Don't use a mixer because you'll probably over-mix the batter and these are so quick and easy to make you just don't need to mess up your beater blades.  

Of course I'm using the world's best blueberries in these muffins.  Don is picking the little wild berry as I type. 

Oatmeal Blueberry Muffins
1 cup oatmeal
1 cup sour milk (1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar in cup of milk)
1 cup flour, white or whole wheat
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup brown sugar
1 egg, beaten
¼ cup melted butter or oil
1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen

Optional crumb topping (See recipe below.)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Grease or line 12 muffins cups.

Combine oats and milk in small bowl; let stand.  Combine flour, baking powder, soda, salt and brown sugar.  Stir well to blend.  Add egg and oil to oat mixture; mix well.  Add oat mixture all at once to dry ingredients.  Stir just until all ingredients are moistened.  Gently fold in blueberries.  Fill well greased or lined muffin cups ¾ full.  If using the optional crumb topping place 1 tablespoon crumb mixture on top of each muffin.  Bake at 400 degrees F.  for 15 to 20 minutes.

Makes 12 muffins.

Optional Crumb Topping
¼ cup oatmeal
¼-½ cup flour
¼ cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon 
Pinch of salt
¼ cup soft butter

Combine all ingredients together, thoroughly rubbing the butter in to make a crumbly mixture.  Use only the ¼ cup of flour to begin with and work in more if the mixture is not crumbly enough.

Soak the oatmeal in the sour milk.  Mix the oil and egg with the oats.  Combine all the dry ingredients and add the wet oatmeal mixture.  I used whole wheat flour in these and no one would know the difference.  Just a great way to add a little more nutrition and fibre to the diet.

Very gently mix the wet and dry ingredients until just combined.  Again, I say, gently fold in the berries.  Scoop mixture into muffin pans and top with the cinnamon crumbs.

Baked to perfection.  My muffins took 18 minutes in the 400 degree oven.

Don couldn't resist--no waiting for breakfast on these beauties.  He had them with his supper and so did I!

The earth's bounty baked in a muffin.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Blueberry Dumplings

"You ought to have seen what I saw on my way
To the village, through Mortenson's pasture to-day:
Blueberries as big as the end of your thumb,
Real sky-blue, and heavy, and ready to drum
In the cavernous pail of the first one to come!
And all ripe together, not some of them green 
And some of them ripe! You ought to have seen!" 
                                                        ~Robert Frost

The blueberries are ripe in Newfoundland--wild blueberries, those little globes of dusty blue, intensified blueberry flavoured berries, the best tasting blueberries in all the world!  Now, you may take exception to that last statement but I'll not change it--THE BEST BLUEBERRIES IN THE WORLD!  And, for the most part, free for the picking.  

Don went out last night after supper and picked almost 4 litres in just under 2 hours.  He's a good picker but, I, on the other hand am as slow as the proverbial cold molasses going down hill.  I pick one berry to his three.  So if I had gone last night there would have been one more litre (maybe).  

As the blueberries were still sitting in the pail this morning awaiting my attention I decided we'd have a blueberry dessert following our dinner (lunch).  I don't always make dessert during the week as we do have a tendency to eat the stuff until its gone, but with fresh wild blueberries sitting on the counter that rule flew out the window.  I wanted something quick, not too sweet or fatty and of course something delicious.  Blueberry dumplings fit the bill and I quickly put them together just before dinner time.  

Blueberry dumplings are usually served hot or warm so they do need to be made about half an hour before the meal.  The good news is they take only 10 minutes to put together before simmering the dumplings in the hot blueberries.  You may even put the dumpling ingredients together early in the day and add the milk when you are ready to make them.  Handle the dumpling dough with a light touch.  Mix lightly until just combined for the best fluffy dumplings.

Blueberry Dumplings

Blueberry Sauce:

5-6 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
½ cup water or fruit juice
¼-½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind (optional)

1 cup flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon butter
½ cup milk or water + 2 tablespoons

In a large saucepan combine the blueberries, water/juice and sugar together.  Add lemon rind if using. If you like lots of blueberry sauce use the larger amount of berries. Bring to a boil over medium high heat.  Lower heat when blueberries come to a boil.

While blueberries are coming to a boil mix the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar together.  Rub in the butter using your fingers or the back of a spoon.  Add the milk and gently mix until just combined. The dough should be similar to biscuit dough--not sticky but not totally dry.   Drop the dough by spoonfuls into the boiling blueberries.  You should have about 8 portions.  Cover the pan and lower the heat so the mixture will simmer.  Simmer for 20 minutes. DO NOT lift the cover until the 20 minutes are up.  Remove the cover and let the dumplings sit about 5 minutes.  Serve hot or warm with ice cream, pouring cream or whipped topping.  (Of course, in Newfoundland, the favourite topping would be Fussell's canned cream.)

Makes 8 servings (or 4 servings for blueberry fiends).

Boil blueberries with a little water and sugar.  Add lemon peel if desired.  The sugar amount in the blueberry sauce can be decreased or increased to taste.  I didn't want very sweet dessert so I used the lower amount of sugar.   Bring the berries to a boil.  While the berries are doing their thing mix the dry ingredients together for the dumplings.   Add the milk and mix gently until just combined.

I made 8 dumplings.  Just spoon out the dough by cutting out with the side of a spoon.  Drop the dough into the bubbling blueberries.  Cover for 20 minutes.  Don't peek.  I have glass covers on my pans so I took a picture through the fog so you could see the cooking dumplings.  The finished dumplings will be about 2 or 3 times the size of the raw dough. 

The dumplings are cooked and ready to serve.  They are best served hot or warm.  I like them on the hot side of warm.  If they're too hot I always burn my tongue.

Fluffy, sweet dumplings swimming in a hot blueberry sauce makes a welcome dessert after any meal.

A drizzle of cream takes this dessert 
from everyday family eating to fancy company fare.
(Just remember the napkins!)