Shades of Blue Blueberries outgrow pancakes and muffins

August 11, 1993|By Ellen Creager | Ellen Creager,Knight-Ridder News Service

They add color and flavor, and they're among the easiest fruits to prepare. Just rinse and they're ready. So it's time to stop confining blueberries to muffins or Sunday morning pancakes and experiment a little.

Blueberries work equally well in fruit salads and green salads. They're a sturdy fruit that hold their shape well, so they can be tossed with abandon. Try them in a sorbet, mix them with nectarines for an innovative poultry stuffing or enjoy them simply with a little chevre on crackers. Available from May to September, blueberries can be refrigerated up to two weeks and freeze well.

Blueberry sorbet

Serves 8

1 cup water

1 cup sugar

1 pint blueberries, stemmed, washed, drained, dried

2 to 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, or to taste

Chill a 12-by-9-by-2-inch metal pan in the freezer. In a smalsaucepan, combine water and sugar. Simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally until the sugar is dissolved, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. Refrigerate until chilled, at least 2 hours.

In a blender or food processor, puree the blueberries. Add the sugar syrup and lemon juice to taste. Pour the mixture into the chilled metal pan. Freeze until solid.

Remove from freezer and break the sorbet into small chunks. Place in a food processor and process until smooth and creamy. Serve immediately, or pack into a covered container and freeze for up to 2 hours. Makes 1 quart.

(Source: "La Dolce Vita" by Michele Scicolone. William Morrow and Company Inc., $23.)

Blueberry carrot cake

Serves 12

1 tablespoon butter plus 1 tablespoon flour; or floured baking spray

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

1 cup corn oil

1/4 cup walnut oil or favorite nut oil

4 eggs

4 medium carrots, peeled, ends removed, coarsely grated

1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

2 cups fresh blueberries, stemmed, washed, drained, dried

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Using butter and flour or floured baking spray, grease or spray a 12-cup bundt or ring pan, preferably nonstick; tap out excess flour.

In a medium bowl, combine flour,baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. In a large bowl, combine sugar and light brown sugar. Whisk in corn oil and walnut oil or favorite nut oil. Beat in eggs, one at a time, whisking until smooth after each addition. Stir in the carrots and walnuts. Add the flour mixture to the carrot mixture and fold until just combined; do not overmix. The batter will be thick. Sprinkle blueberries over top and fold in.

Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and bake about 1 hour, or until the cake begins to pull away from the sides of the pan and a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Remove from oven and cool the cake in the pan on rack for 15 minutes. Invert onto a plate and cool completely before serving. When cake is completely cool, make glaze.

Cook's note: You may substitute unsweetened frozen blueberries. Stir them into the cake without defrosting them.

Pineapple rum glaze

1/3 cup pineapple juice

1/4 cup unsalted butter ( 1/2 stick)

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

1/4 cup dark rum

In a small heavy saucepan, combine pineapple juice, butter, sugar, light brown sugar and dark rum. Bring to a boil, stirring. Lower the heat and simmer until bubbly and caramel-colored, about 7 minutes. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. Pour over bundt cake.

(Source: "The New American Kitchen" by Michael McLaughlin. Simon and Schuster, $24.95.

Blueberry-pear cake in creme anglaise

Serves 16

1/2 cup orange marmalade

4 pears, peeled, cored, each cut in 8 even-sized wedges

1 cup fresh blueberries, stemmed, washed, drained, dried, divided

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/4 cups sugar

3 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 cup frozen nonfat egg substitute, thawed, equivalent to two eggs

6 ounces baby food pear puree

1 cup nonfat skim milk

2 tablespoons butter, melted

2 teaspoons vanilla

creme anglaise

2 cups nonfat skim milk

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup frozen nonfat egg substitute, thawed, equivalent to one egg

3 tablespoons cornstarch

1 teaspoon vanilla

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Brush bottom of a nonstick 11-inch round baking pan with orange marmalade. Arrange pear wedges, tips outward, in two concentric circles in prepared pan. Fill each space between fruit with 2 blueberries. Reserve remaining blueberries for batter.

In a large bowl, sift flour, sugar and baking powder. In another large bowl, combine egg substitute, baby food pear puree, nonfat skim milk, melted butter and vanilla. Stir until blended. Make a well in the flour mixture and stir in liquid mixture. Gently fold in reserved blueberries. Carefully pour batter over arranged fruit in baking pan.

Bake 30 to 45 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean and top is golden brown. Remove from oven and cool 5 minutes. Loosen cake around edges of pan. Carefully invert onto large shallow platter.

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