Cook's Corner: Blueberries make great desserts

Published 12:42 am Wednesday, June 7, 2006

By By Lisa Tindell
It's blueberry season and everyone seems to be gearing up for a wonderful celebration at this year's Blueberry Festival. For 25 years, Brewton has been home to this festival celebrating a wonderful recipe ingredient.
I remember many years ago when the festival first began, that there was a cooking contest. Contestants prepared a dish to be judged by a group of folks who loved blueberries.
The part that I enjoyed, even though I didn't cook anything, was that the leftovers were served to festivalgoers who purchased a tasting party ticket.
You can bet I purchased a ticket and was surprised at some of the dishes that were put together using this tasty berry.
There were even some cookbooks printed and sold that contained the submission for the contest.
And, yes, much to my husband's dismay, I have at least three of those cookbooks.
The most useful recipe printed in one of the cookbooks was one that allowed me to take fresh blueberries and turn them into blueberry pie filling.
A lot of recipes that I have made with blueberries always called for a can of pie filling. I found it hard to determine just how to use fresh blueberries in that sort of recipe. Luckily, I found the right way to prepare the fresh fruit to fill the need for canned pie filling.
If you're planning to make some blueberry desserts this season and find that you need to turn fresh or frozen blueberries into pie filling, you're going to love this first recipe.
Blueberry Pie Filling
2 cups fresh blueberries
3 tbsp. cornstarch
1 cup sugar (or less to taste)
one-third cup water
Combine cornstarch and water well. In a medium saucepan combine blueberries and sugar.
Pour in cornstarch mixture and heat slowly until blueberries thicken. Let cool thoroughly.
I have found that by mashing a few of the blueberries, you can get a better consistency and increase the flavors in the sauce.
This sauce is also great to serve over pound cake and ice cream.
This next recipe reminds me of a dish that my grandmother used to make.
She used this basic idea and used blackberries as well.
Most of the recipes you'll find that call for fresh blueberries can be prepared using your favorite berries.
Blueberry Dumplings
2 cups all-purpose flour
4 tsp. baking powder
One-half tsp. salt
3 tbsp. shortening
Two-thirds cup milk
2 cups water
1 cup sugar
1 pint blueberries
In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking powder and salt. Rub in shortening with fingers. Stir in milk to make a soft dough. In a deep skillet, boil water. Reduce heat to a simmer and stir in sugar until dissolved. Stir in blueberries. Drop dough by rounded spoonfuls into simmering blueberry syrup. Cover and simmer 10 minutes. Serve.
This next recipe is an easy one that can be prepared in almost no time. It calls for that ever-popular can of blueberry pie filling. Now you know how to make it using those fresh blueberries you sweated to pick.
Blueberry Dream Pie
1 (9 inch) pie shell, baked
3 bananas
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
One-half cup sugar
1 (12 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed
One-half can blueberry pie filling
Slice the bananas and arrange in the bottom of baked pie shell. In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Fold in the whipped topping. Spread over the bananas and top with blueberry pie filling. Chill for at least 1 hour before serving.
I hope that you are enjoying the bounty of your blueberry harvest.
If you have more than you can stand, just give me a call. I don't have any blueberry bushes at my house, but I do love a good blueberry dessert.
I plan to give you a few more recipes using blueberries next week, just in time for the annual Blueberry Festival.
Until then, Happy Cooking!