Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Colonial Blueberries

This is the recipe that Would Not Be Made. I had planned to make this after two different trips to the fabulous Livermore Farmer's Market, but each time after I got home and started making dinner, I realized that I wouldn't have time to make it. So most of the berries I bought for this recipe were eaten as is, which was fine. For the rest, I got a giant value-pack of non-local blueberries at Safeway.

But finally I told myself, "I need to just go ahead and make this recipe. After all, there are five teenage girls in the house! Someone's going to eat it!"

Having teenagers around is, I find, an excellent reason to bake. Also, when said teenagers are out at a giant outdoor music festival and you're not sure when they'll get home or if they're OK, baking is a soothing activity. Not that I worry about my child and her cousins.

I'm not sure exactly how to classify this dessert. It has the cake and buttery richness of an upside-down cake but is served right-side-up.

I liked the orange-y, boozy cake layer, but I found the fruit part to be too sweet and buttery. I think a tarter fruit like blackberries would be nice, or just the addition of lemon juice to the blueberries. Or you could just cut down on the added sugar after tasting the fruit. And I might cut the butter in half.

This is a terrible iPhone-in-bad-light photo, but it does show how thick the cake layer is compared to the fruit layer. To me that makes it more a cake than a cobbler. Despite all the caveats, I do recommend making this and serving it warm with ice cream.

Here's the recipe. Make it when you get the chance.

Colonial Blueberries

5 cups (1 lb. 4 oz.) blueberries (or blackberries or mixed berries), washed and drained
1 c. (7 oz.) brown sugar (I would use less, depending on how sweet the fruit is)
6 T. (3 oz.) butter (recommend less: maybe 3-4 T.)
1/2 t. cinnamon

Put 3 cups of the blueberries in a heavy 3-quart saucepan with the sugar and butter over low heat. Stir occasionally until the mixture comes to a low boil. Let simmer gently for 3 minutes. Let the mixture cool down for about 10 minutes, then add the remaining 2 cups berries. Pour the mixture into a 3-quart baking dish and sprinkle it with the cinnamon. Set aside while you make the topping.

2/3 c. (5.3 oz) butter, room temperature
2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
1/2 t. vanilla
Finely grated rind of one orange
3/4 c. (5.25 oz.) sugar
2 large eggs
2/3 c. (5.3 oz.) fresh orange juice (grate the rind before you squeeze)
Cognac, bourbon, or more orange juice
1-1/2 c. (6 oz.) flour

Heat the oven to 350. Cream the butter with the baking powder, salt, vanilla, and orange rind until fluffy. Add the sugar and beat another minute or two. Beat in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add enough booze or orange juice to the 2/3 c. orange juice to make 3/4 c. (6 oz.) liquid. On low speed add the flour to the creamed mixture in three additions, alternating with the orange juice/booze mixture. Maida says the mixture will probably looked curdled and that that's OK.
Slowly pour the batter over the berries. Maida says it's OK if the batter doesn't cover the berries completely, even though it probably should. Bake for 45 minutes, or until "richly browned" and the batter springs back when gently touched.
Serve warm with ice cream or whipped cream.

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