When summer peaks, so does our interest in fruits. Suzen’s interest in vegetables also peaks but, frankly my dear, I don’t give a … No, I care. I do. It’s just that I’m focused on the fruits of the season. One thing at a time.
I’ve written here about the difficulty of some fruits: peaches and pears come to mind. At the other extreme are creatures like blueberries. They seem wondrously robust with a uniformity of flavor and sweetness. Even if the exterior of that blueberry is a little less than spectacular, the berry is fine to taste, sip, bake, or preserve. A bruised peach has to be examined like an ebola suspect: is it already a gonner, how deep is the distress, can it be saved?
Blueberry sauce has infinite uses. Almost infinite: you really should not just eat it by itself. It deserves some kind of marriage: ice cream, fruit salad, pound cake, cake of almost any order.
This recipe comes from a new book, Bakeless Sweets, that has many expedient treats. You’ll soon seen a review of the book and more recipes. In the meantime, should blueberries cross you path, here is a wonderful way to enjoy that very berry bite.
This recipe calls for a teaspoon of vanilla. You can experiment here, substituting brandy for example. And the picture above has blueberries sitting on a bed of mint. Adding some diced mint leaves to the pot is certainly an interesting option. Lastly exotic as it sounds, blueberries do have preferred mates. Just a dash of chile powder will make that ice cream sizzle in your mouth and amplify the blueness of the experience.
This post is appearing on a Monday, the start of our work week. We have a busy days and not much time to think about a complex dessert during the week. This sauce is an expressway towards a lovely yet easy dessert experience.
Yield: 2 cups
- 2 cups blueberries, fresh or thawed frozen
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 lemon, zested and juiced [about 2 tablespoons juice]
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Pinch salt
Stir the blueberries, sugar, and lemon zest together in a 2-quart saucepan and bring them to a simmer over medium-high heat.
In a small bowl, whisk the cornstarch into the lemon juice until smooth, then stir the mixture into the blueberry sauce. Boil for a full minute, or until the berries begin to pop open. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla and salt. Chill.
Source: Bakeless Sweets by Faith Durand
Photo Information [bottom shot]: Canon T2i, EFS60mm Macro Lens, F/5 for1/30th second at ISO‑1250
Last year, for the 4th, I suggested a Butterscotch Roll-up Cake. The cake was rolled in a combination of whipped cream and rich butterscotch sauce that had been folded into one diabetic dream. Butterscotch is a variant of caramel and, when well made, is outrageously satisfying. Just a tad can make all the difference to a dessert.
This year, I project we go more healthy. Here’s the recipe just for the sauce which is lovely on ice cream. Look for a deeply rich French vanilla that can mate with the butterscotch and not be overwhelmed.
I have always presumed that butterscotch had to an ancient treat devised by Scottish clans to deal with those nasty winters or invaders from England. Not true. Perhaps because it uses what would have been pricey ingredients — butter and brown sugar — it is recent, first appearing in the literature only in 1848. And then it was described as “Doncaster Butterscotch” from the town of Doncaster right smack in the middle of England. The “scotch” part may come from an old verb “to cut or to score.” Nothing to do with geography. Here the recipe is designed, not for cutting, but for pouring.
Although, I am told that a desperate man, with a full set of lungs, can use a straw and not a spoon.
Yield: ~2 cups
- 1/3 cup [3 ounces] salted butter
- 1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon whisky
- 1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
Melt the butter over medium heat in a large heavy-bottomed sauce pan. Dump in the brown sugar all at once and stir with a wooden spoon to combine. Cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture begins to simmer and changes from a wet sand consistency to a liquid that fives off a lovely molasses smell and looks like taffy, approximately 3 minutes from the time it comes to a simmer. Drizzle ¼ cup of the cream into the mixture and vigorously blend the cram into the sugar and whisk in the remaining cream. Turn the heat up to medium-high and allow the sauce to boil, whisking occasionally, until it has darkened, about 8 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and allow the sauce to cool for a few minutes before adding the whisky, vanilla, and salt. Refrigerate until cold.
Source: Vintage Cakes by Julie Richardson