COOK'S CORNER: Find good treats at festival

Published 9:42 pm Wednesday, June 13, 2007

By By Lisa Tindell – news writer
I know that many of you will be joining hundreds or even thousands of other blueberry lovers this weekend at the Blueberry Festival. I plan to be there, and you can bet I'll be checking out the foods available at the event.
One of the things I plan to make an extra effort to check out will be the blueberry dishes prepared by the Kiwanis Club. Because of their hard work, you'll have an opportunity to get in on some great ice cream studded with blueberries and even some great blueberry cobbler.
That's what got me to thinking about cobblers.
I can remember several years ago when there was a cooking contest followed by a tasting party connected with the Blueberry Festival.
The event produced some great dishes and you could get a sample for the price of a ticket. I believe I paid $2 for the right to go in after the judges had their fill of the prepared dishes and get a shot at a taste or two myself.
It was a glorious event, and I fell in love with one dish in particular.
I have made this dish many times and have even made some substitutions over the years.
If you are not a big blueberry fan, this recipe is also good using blackberries.
LaVenia Pettis won an award for this recipe. As a matter of fact, if I'm not mistaken, she was named grand champion with this recipe.
Now, don't shoot me if I'm wrong. Since it's been a while, I may have my facts mixed up a little.
At any rate, Mrs. Pettis created a great recipe and even if it wasn't named grand champion, it's a big winner with me.
Blueberry Swirled Cobbler
1/2 cup butter
2 cups sugar
2 cups water
1 1/2 cup sifted self-rising flour
1/2 c. shortening
2 c. blueberries
1/3 cup milk
1 tsp. cinnamon
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter in a 13x9x2-inch baking dish. In a saucepan heat water and sugar until sugar melts.
Cut shortening into flour until particles are fine crumbs. Add milk and stir with a fork only until dough leaves side of the bowl.
Turn out on lightly floured surface and knead just until smooth.
Roll out into a rectangle about 1/2 inch thick. Sprinkle cinnamon over blueberries; then sprinkle blueberries over dough.
Roll up dough like a jelly-roll.
Dampen the edge of the dough with a little water and seal. Slice dough into sixteen slices about 1/2 inch thick. Place in pan with melted butter.
Pour sugar syrup carefully around rolls. This looks awful, but do it.
The crust will absorb it and make a moist, juicy yet flaky top on blueberry cobbler.
Bake for 55-60 minutes.
Serve with vanilla ice cream or mound of whipping cream.
I hope you will give that recipe a try. I have cooked it many times and have had wonderful success each time.
Since the rolled up dough is sliced and placed in the pan, it is a wonderful way to control portions.
They look a like little cinnamon rolls in the pan and are easy to serve in a controlled way.
There are many recipes out there for great dishes that call for a can of blueberry pie filling.
Those little cans on the grocery store shelf can get expensive, especially if you need two or more cans. The prices I've seen lately are running a little over $3 per can in some places.
If you have a recipe that calls for a can of pie filling and all you have are fresh or frozen blueberries, it seems a waste to buy the prepared filling when you could make it on your own.
I have found a recipe that makes about five pints of filling that can be used in any of the recipes you may find that call for the sweet filling.
If that seems like a little too much for you to handle at one time, then you could always cut the recipe in half.
Blueberry Pie Filling
12 cups blueberries
3 cups sugar
3/4 cup cornstarch
1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
1/4 cup lemon juice
Wash and drain blueberries. Combine sugar and cornstarch. Stir in blueberries; let stand until juice begins to flow; about 30 minutes.
Add lemon peel and lemon juice. Cook over medium heat until mixture begins to thicken. Ladle pie filling into can-or freeze jars or plastic freezer boxes, leaving 1/2 inch headspace.
Cool at room temperature, not to exceed 2 hours. Seal, label and freeze.
The pie filling is ready for use once it cools and I think you'll find it's just as good if not better than the canned version you buy at the store.
Here's a recipe that uses blueberry pie filling.
It's one that I've prepared time and time again and always get good results and rave reviews. I'm sure you will, too.
Blueberry Fluff
2 c. flour
2 sticks real butter, softened
1 1/2 c. pecans, finely chopped
3 tbsp. sugar
1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
2 cups confectioners' 10X sugar
8 oz. whipped topping, thawed
1 can blueberry pie filling
Mix flour, butter, pecans and sugar well. Press crust mixture into 9 x 13 inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes until light brown. Cool completely. Combine cream cheese, 10x sugar and whipped topping until well combined. Spread over crust. Top with can of pie filling. Chill and serve. Keep unused portion refrigerated.
I can assure you that is one of the best recipes that I've ever done that is well received by just about anyone who eats it. If you're not crazy about blueberries, you could certainly use any type of pie filling you'd like instead of the blueberry. I have found that strawberry pie filling and cherry pie filling are excellent in this recipe.
I hope that you will take an opportunity to attend the Blueberry Festival this weekend. If you can't think of a reason to go to the festival, take into account that you can pick up this year's copy of the annual blueberry cookbook.
I've seen a copy and it's wonderful. Michelle Jones at the Brewton Chamber of Commerce office did an excellent job of compiling the recipes and it certainly is a beautiful edition.
And even if you don;t think you'll be cooking a lot of blueberry dishes, never fear.
There are a wonderful amount of recipes that aren't just blueberry recipes.
You'll find wonderful appetizer, main course, salad and other dessert recipes in the book.
They are selling for $10 and you can pick one up at the festival or drop by the Chamber offices at city hall and pick up a copy.
If you are from out of town, you can contact Michelle and she'll mail you a copy and charge you a little extra for postage. You can reach the office of the chamber at 867-3224.
Remember if you are looking for a lost recipe or if you have a great one to share, let me know.
I'd love to track a recipe down to help you out or share one you have with those who read this column.
You can reach me at 867-4876 or by e-mail at lisa.tindell@brewtonstandard.com.
Until next week, Happy Cooking!