It’s July and my favorite seasonal fruit is in season: blueberries! This year we bought 40 pounds of blueberries, and sadly had to freeze the majority of them rather quickly because they weren’t lasting too long in the refrigerator. I had fresh blueberries, homemade granola and homemade yogurt for breakfast for most of a week — with the exception of the day we made blueberry pancakes — and ate a tea cup of them after dinner with the kids here and there.
The only recipe I had time to try out while they were still fresh was these blueberry hand pies. Only I kind of made them in a hurry and didn’t crimp my edges very well and a lot of the filling leaked out. My 5-year-old suggested we just throw them away without trying them (spilled blueberry filling can look pretty black), but I was not diverted by their looks, and could hardly wait for them to cool in order to taste them. Which was silly, because I had already tasted the filling before putting it in the crust, but a pie really isn’t a pie without crust. Next time I will take my time and be more careful. And since you cook the filling on the stove first, this is a great recipe for using frozen blueberries.
My next recipe was for a blueberry butter cake. Butter cakes are always nice, and when you add blueberries, it’s now like a sliceable blueberry muffin. A lot of butter and a lot of eggs make this a nice, rich cake.
And finally, I found this recipe for a plum blueberry upside-down cake. This makes a nice petite cake, which you may want to make in a springform pan rather than a traditional round cake pan, to ensure you can get it out at the end to see the beautiful purple and pink fruits that are now at the top. Arrange your plum slices in big concentric circles for pretty presentation, and feel free to spread the blueberries out on top of the plum slices so that you get a little bit of both fruits in each bite.
I may not have made much with my blueberries yet, but thanks to my spare freezer, I’ll have plenty of blueberries to work with year round.
Blueberry hand pies with whipped cream
2 cups blueberries
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 package (14.1 ounces) ready-to-roll refrigerated piecrusts (2 piecrusts per package)
1 large egg, beaten with 1 tsp water
Whipped cream for serving
In a saucepan, combine 1 1/2 cups blueberries, 1/4 cup sugar and the lemon juice. Cook over medium heat 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook 3 minutes, until all berries have burst.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, stir cornstarch and 2 tablespoons water until smooth. Add to berries; cook 1 minute, until thickened. Remove from heat and stir in 1/2 cup blueberries.
Place saucepan in a bowl of ice water. Stir mixture frequently, until cooled.
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Unroll 1 piecrust on a lightly floured work surface, then roll out to 1/16-inch thickness. Using a 4 1/2-inch round cutter, cut out 4 rounds.
Place 2 tablespoons filling on half of each round, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Dampen edges with a fingertip dipped into water. Fold dough over filling, pressing edges to seal. Crimp with a fork. Refrigerate 15 minutes. Repeat with remaining piecrust and filling.
Brush pies with egg wash and make 2 slits in center of each (for steam to escape). Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon sugar. Bake 20 minutes, until golden. Let cool before serving with whipped cream.
Blueberry butter cake
1 cup unsalted butter softened
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs room temp
4 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
10 ounces blueberries
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
Powdered sugar for dusting
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Lightly spray an 8- by 8-inch square baking pan with non-stick spray, then line with parchment paper, leaving overhang at the edges. Lightly spray the parchment paper with non-stick spray.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter and sugar for 3 minutes, until light and fluffy.
Add in the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Add in the vanilla and mix well.
Fold in the flour with a silicone spatula until combined and no lumps remain. Add in the milk and continue folding until combined.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan, using a spatula to smooth out the top.
In a small bowl, toss the blueberries with the 1 tablespoon of flour. Spread the coated blueberries across the top of the cake in an even layer.
Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Start checking the cake at 30 minutes to ensure the top is not browning too quickly. If it is, tent a piece of aluminum foil over the top.
Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove to cool completely. Once cool, dust with powdered sugar.
Plum blueberry upside down cake
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons margarine
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup margarine
1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup milk
4 black plums, pitted and thinly sliced
3/4 cup blueberries
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-inch round cake pan.
Combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
In the prepared pan, combine 3 tablespoons margarine and brown sugar. Place pan inside the preheated oven until the margarine melts and begins to bubble. Set aside. In a large bowl, cream together the 1/3 cup margarine and 1 cup white sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg, then stir in the vanilla. Beat in the flour mixture alternately with the milk, mixing just until incorporated.
Arrange plums around the edges of the prepared pan, overlapping slightly. Distribute the blueberries in the center. Pour batter into prepared pan, covering fruit completely. Bake in the preheated oven for 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool 15 minutes before serving.