Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Blueberries and Cream

Sunday was Father's Day, and we decided to do something nice for my father-in-law. Sure, he can be grouchy and controlling, but he means well. So we bought a lovely bottle of Bordeaux and brought over a bunch of food we thought he might enjoy eating. Sami went out into the cold rain (yes, it's June here--why do you ask?) and grilled a whole fish and some sausages (insurance against fish failure), and we had this potato salad (made with green beans instead of asparagus) and blueberries and cream.

And yes, I used frozen blueberries. France isn't really a blueberry kind of place. In season, you can get fabulous cherries and raspberries and apricots and currants...the list goes on. But the blueberries usually look sad and cost a fortune. These babies, from the frozen food store everyone loves to hate, are delicious and cost for a big bag what a tiny basket would cost at the market. And hey, I'm cooking them anyway.

This recipe is a keeper. It's like my favorite German dessert, Rote Grütze, which tends to involve lots of mixed red fruits: raspberries, cherries, currants, and the like. But the blueberry focus was nice here, and it seems so light and healthy and antioxidant-filled that it would be a shame not to put a giant dollop of vanilla-infused cream on top. So we went for it.
My father-in-law seemed very pleased with all that we offered him, so it was a good evening. You too will be happy to have made this very simple and delicious dessert.

Here's the recipe. Make someone happy.

Blueberries and Cream

2 T. (1 oz.) water
3 T. (1.5 oz.) lemon juice
1/2 c. (3.5 oz.) sugar--I used 3 oz. raw sugar, since I know the frozen berries are pretty sweet
Pinch salt
1 lb. blueberries, frozen or fresh
1/4 c. (2 oz.) cold water (you could use juice of your choice if you've got some lying around)
2 T. (0.5 oz.) cornstarch
About 1 c. (8 oz.) crème fraîche or sour cream
1-1/2 T. sugar
1 t. vanilla

Put the water, lemon juice, water, and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves and the mixture begins to come to a boil. Add the berries, bring the mixture back to a gentle boil, and then turn down the heat and let them simmer for 5 minutes. In the meantime, mix the cold water and cornstarch to dissolve. Stir it into the berry mixture and cook over low heat, stirring gently and occasionally, for a few minutes to cook out the cornstarch taste. Don't stir too much and don't let the mixture come to a boil. Transfer to a bowl, cover, and refrigerate it for a few hours or overnight. While the mixture chills, at some point mix together the cream, sugar, and vanilla--all amounts are to taste. Serve the blueberries in bowls or wineglasses with cream on top.

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