It was mid-summer more than seven years ago when my husband asked me to move in with him. I happily answered “yes” for two reasons: 1.) I loved him and we were planning to get married 2.) His backyard had four of the biggest and most beautiful blueberry bushes I had ever seen.
Now, each summer I get the pleasure of watching the blueberries appear on the branches of these now eight (8) feet tall bushes that slowly but surely turn from green to reddish-purple to the perfect shade of blue. Good things do come to those who wait! From the moment the blueberries are ready to pick, I find myself fighting with my son and the other neighborhood boys, the birds, and the deer for my share of the bounty. I’m crazy about fresh blueberries in my cereal, in Greek yogurt, topping my brown rice cake with almond butter, in my pancakes and I like to experiment with a few recipes before I start freezing them for the off-season. Each summer I use every blueberry and make blueberry tarts, blueberry muffins, coffee cakes, and compotes, but this year I was looking for something different to try.
Recently I was grocery shopping at our local Hannaford Supermarket and picked up the July/August issue of their in-store magazine called Fresh. When I got home and had finished unloading my groceries, I made myself an iced coffee and headed outside to kick up my heels and read it. To my surprise and delight, I found page after page of tribute to the well-deserving blueberry. There was an article on properly freezing and storing blueberries, a ritual I got wrong too many times before I got it right. Next they hailed wild blueberries as a true “superfruit” with more disease-fighting antioxidants than 20 other fruits. Finally, they hit me with Lime Cornmeal Shortcakes with Blueberries. BINGO. This recipe was exactly what I was looking for. “With the essence of lime and subtle crunch of cornmeal, these shortcakes are easy to love”, says the author Lisa Zwirn, Massachusetts-based food writer and author of Christmas Cookies: 50 Recipes to Treasure for the Holiday Season. Another plus was the notation of “good and healthy” by Fresh Magazine editors, who also happen to be Hannaford nutritionists. With a prep time of about an hour, I knew that as a busy working mom I’d need to carve out some time on a weekend to give this recipe the time and attention it deserved. When the time came, I pulled out and organized all the necessary ingredients, turned on the FOOD Network and got right to work. With a little help from my six-year-old “chef in training”, I worked through the few steps with the handful of ingredients:
|1 1/2 teaspoons||Finely grated lime zest (lime sugar)|
|2 1/2 tablespoons||Sugar (lime sugar)|
|1 1/2 cups||All-purpose flour (shortcakes)|
|1/2 cup||Cornmeal (shortcakes)|
|1/4 cup||Sugar (shortcakes)|
|1 tablespoon||Baking powder (shortcakes)|
|1/4 teaspoon||Baking soda (shortcakes)|
|1/4 teaspoon||Salt (shortcakes)|
|1/2 cup (1 stick)||Chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces (shortcakes)|
|2 tablespoons||Finely grated lime zest (shortcakes)|
|1 cup||whipping or heavy cream (shortcakes)|
|2 tablespoons||Fresh lime juice (shortcakes)|
|6 cups||Blueberries (fresh or frozen), divided (filling)|
|3 tablespoons||Sugar (filling)|
|6 tablespoons||Water (filling)|
|1 tablespoon||Fresh lime juice (filling)|
|3 cups||Chilled whipped cream|
My son loves to bake with me and I find that baking is a wonderful and necessary equalizer for me – especially after a long week of chasing the ever-elusive work/life balance. As I mixed and stirred, I took notice of the fresh scent of lime sugar and dipped my finger into the sweet blueberry mixture for a quick test. Wow! I couldn’t help but think that this dessert-in-the-making would produce the lightness I personally appreciate in a summer dessert. With temperatures rising, it’s just so nice to end a meal with something light and sweet.
Assembling the shortcakes was easy. I split the biscuits in half, added a scoop of the fruit filling along with a dollop of whipped cream, and then popped on the top half of the biscuit. They were ready to eat! Wow. These were really, really good, and the subtle textures and fragrance make this dessert my new go-to summer favorite. I’d recommend this dessert as the perfect ending to a country barbeque or summer cookout. Do you have a favorite recipe for blueberries?
Helpful tip from Name Bubbles for storing frozen blueberries: date stamp your container or freezer bag with Name Bubbles Write On! Labels – they’re freezer safe and your message will stay put until you use your berries!