• Tommy Centola

Two sweet takes on blueberries

With the spring weather finally leveling out, fresh fruits are starting to hit stores and farmer’s markets. One of the more popular berries are blueberries. They tend to turn up in sweet applications especially blueberry pies.

The memory of blueberries that stick out in my mind is from a favorite childhood movie, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. As the tour is being lead thru the factory, one of the inventions Wonka is working on is a three course meal in a chewing gum. The first two courses work well but when she gets to dessert, Violet Beauregarde starts turning into a blueberry. Seeing her start to turn purple was a surreal moment.

Enough with the fantasy and on to reality. Today’s recipes, Blueberry Pancakes and Blueberry Cheesecake are common uses for blueberries. They make a great addition to both of these recipes as they do to others.

Pancakes are a great way to start any day. Growing up, every Saturday morning meant pancakes. What made them special was that my dad always cooked them. Saturday was his day to cook, pancakes for breakfast and hamburgers for dinner. He never varied from his pancake recipe. Blueberries would have made a great addition.

Blueberry Pancakes

2 Eggs

2 cups Buttermilk

2 cups Flour

1 tablespoon Sugar

1 tablespoon Baking Soda

1 teaspoon Salt

6 tablespoons Melted butter

1 cup Fresh Blueberries

Preheat griddle to medium.

Beat Eggs until light and fluffy. Add milk. Sift together flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Add to egg-milk mixture; beat until smooth with an electric mixer. Stir in butter and fold in blueberries. Oil griddle. Pour or scoop batter onto the griddle using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake. Brown on both sides and serve hot.

Most everyone likes cheesecake. It is a tasty dessert that has unlimited varieties. With fresh blueberries in season, they make a great addition to this dessert.

Blueberry Cheesecake

Pecan Crust:

1 1/2 cups finely ground Pecans

1/4 cup Sugar

3 tablespoons Butter, softened

1 tablespoon Flour

Blueberry Cream Filling:

3 (8 ounce) packages Cream Cheese, softened

1 1/4 cups Sugar

3 tablespoons Flour

1/2 teaspoon Salt

4 large Eggs

8 ounces Sour Cream

1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

1 teaspoon grated Lemon Rind

1 1/2 cups Fresh Blueberries

Topping:

1 cup Whipping Cream

2 teaspoons Sugar

2 tablespoons Sour Cream

Preheat oven to 300℉.

Combine all crust ingredients in a small bowl. Lightly grease a 9-inch springform pan. Press crust mixture into bottom and 1 1/2 inches up the sides of the pan. Set aside.

Beat cream cheese with an electric mixer until smooth. In a separate bowl, combine sugar, flour and salt. Add to cream cheese and beat well, until blended. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add sour cream, vanilla and lemon rind, beating just until well blended. Pour mixture into prepared pan. Bake for 70 minutes or until the center is firm. Turn off oven. Let cheesecake stand in oven, with the door partially open, for about 30 minutes. Remove cheesecake from oven; cool in pan on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Cover and chill for at least 8 hours.

Before serving, beat whipping cream at high speed until foamy; gradually add sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks form. Fold in sour cream. Spread over cheesecake. If you wish, you can top with more berries for a garnish.

You don’t have to wait for blueberries to be in season to use them in your recipes. You can always substitute frozen berries. I do feel, however, that fresh berries always taste better than frozen.


My new cookbook, Creole & Cajun Comfort Food is now available online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble

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