Janine Gilbertson's Granite Kitchen: True blue(berries)

By JANINE GILBERTSON August 07. 2018 10:46PM

Blueberry shortcake is the new strawberry shortcake. (JANINE GILBERTSON)

Blueberry season is in full swing in New England, so it’s the perfect time to pick your own blueberries or stop by a local farmstead and grab a few pints to bring home.

Blueberries are considered a superfood; a food that’s highly nutritious and full of health benefits. My mother always seemed to have insider information on where to pick the best blueberries. Somehow she knew exactly where to go to find undisturbed blueberry bushes loaded with plump, delicious blueberries.

A few years ago I spent a summer morning picking blueberries with her. We picked so many blueberries that we packed half of them in containers and dropped them off at a food pantry. Our freezers were already full of blueberries and it seemed a shame to let all that nutritious food go to waste.

This year, I put my cache of blueberries to good use by baking them into coffee cakes (an absolute Sunday morning favorite in my house) and blueberry muffins. I also got to wondering why I’ve never heard of blueberry shortcake and decided to give that a try.

I used the same biscuit recipe I use when I make strawberry shortcake and whipped up a blueberry sauce with a little sugar. I spooned the sauce over the shortcakes and topped it off with a little whipped cream. It was delicious and made for a perfect summer dessert.

If you decide to freeze some of your extra blueberries, first remove any stems and leaves, then spread them in an even layer on a baking sheet and stick them in the freezer for a couple hours.

Remove the berries, pack them into freezer bags and put them back in the freezer.

This way it will be much easier to use the berries when you’re ready, like on a cold, winter morning when you decide to whip up some blueberry pancakes and only need a cup or so of berries.

The blueberries you pick in the summer will be a welcome reminder of warmer weather when a winter storm has you housebound.

Blueberry Shortcakes

3 c. flour

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 c. heavy cream

1/2 c. milk

1 tsp. vanilla

1/2 c. sugar

4 tsp. baking powder

1 1/2 sticks butter, chilled, cut into pieces

2 eggs

Add the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt to a food processor and pulse two or three times to combine. Add the butter and pulse until the flour mixture becomes a coarse meal. Add the eggs and cream to a medium bowl and whisk to combine, then add to the flour and butter mixture. Pulse the food processor until large clumps begin to form. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and heat an oven to 375 degrees. Scoop about a half a cup of dough and form into a biscuit shape and place on the baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough. Set the baking sheet in the oven and bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until the biscuits turn a light golden brown, then remove from oven to cool. To serve, spoon about 1/4 cup of blueberry sauce over each biscuit and top with whipped cream, if desired.

Blueberry Sauce:

2 cups fresh blueberries

1/4 cup sugar

Add the blueberries and sugar to a saucepan and set over medium high heat. Simmer the blueberries for about 15 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat when the sauce begins to thicken.

Cinnamon Blueberry Coffee Cake

2 1/2 c. flour, divided

1 c. brown sugar

1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 c. butter

2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1 c. butter

1 c. sugar

1 egg

1/2 c. milk

1 1/2 c. fresh blueberries

Prepare the topping by combining the brown sugar, 2/3 cup of the flour and the cinnamon to a medium bowl. Add the 1/2 cup of the butter and cut in with a pastry blender or two forks; the mixture will become crumbly. Set aside and prepare the rest of the cake. Add the remaining 1/2 cup butter and the white sugar to a large bowl and beat with an electric mixture until fluffy. Beat in the egg. In a separate bowl, whisk together the remaining 2 cups of flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the flour mixture and the milk to the creamed mixture and beat until well combined. Fold in the blueberries. Spray a bundt pan (you can also use a regular cake pan) with cooking spray, then pour in the batter. Spread the cinnamon sugar topping over the top, then set in an oven heated to 350 degrees. Bake for about 50 minutes, or until golden brown and the edges are slightly pulling away from the pan, then remove from oven.

Blueberry Ricotta Muffins (JANINE GILBERTSON)

Blueberry Ricotta Muffins

1 1/2 c. fresh blueberries

1 1/2 cups flour

1 c. sugar

2 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

3/4 c. ricotta cheese

1/3 c. vegetable oil

5 T. milk

1 egg

1 tsp. vanilla

2 T. coarse sugar for sprinkling (optional)

Add the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt to a large bowl and whisk together. In a separate bowl, stir together the ricotta, oil, milk, egg, and vanilla. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, stirring until just combined. Add the blueberries and gently stir to combine. Spray a muffin tin with cooking spray (you can also line with paper muffin cups) and spoon the batter into the cups until the cups are 3/4 of the way full. Sprinkle sanding sugar over each muffin, if desired. Set in an oven preheated to 375 degrees and bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.


Follow us on Twitter Follow us on Facebook Follow our RSS feed
Union Leader app for Apple iPad or Android *
Click to download from Apple Apps StoreClick to download from Android Marketplace
* e-Edition subscription required