But back to the blueberry part of this post. Big, beautiful local ones have been showing up at the farmer's markets here lately, and I can't resist. Blueberries and ripe, juicy heirloom tomatoes epitomize the best of summer's bounty to me. Corn, too but we haven't enjoyed much of it since we try to stay (kind of) carb-less during the week. Oh, the curse of the fat gene!
One of my favorite pairings is blueberries with fragrant, sweet mango. With a touch of lime. Andy (the son in NYC who loves to cook) was making dinner recently and asked me if I had any suggestions for a light, non-dairy dessert. I mentioned the blueberry/mango combination and that's what he made. Apparently it was a hit. I hope he impressed the hell of out her!
There really isn't a recipe for this, but here's the basic:
1 pint fresh blueberries, washed and stemmed
1 ripe mango, peeled and cut into chunks
1 tablespoon granulated sugar (or more or less, depending upon sweetness of fruit)
Zest of one lime
Combine blueberries, mango and sugar in a bowl. Stir well and let sit at room temperature for about an hour. Spoon into parfait or martini glasses, sprinkle with lime zest and serve.
Obviously, you can make this in whatever combination or quantity you choose. It keeps for about two days in the refrigerator. Know how you open the refrigerator door somethimes and stand there while you try to figure out what you want to snack on? This is a really good option and it keeps you away from the stuff (like the caramel sauce in there) that's not-so-good-for-you.
Of course, the not-so-good-for-you stuff is what I REALLY want to eat. That's why I made my favorite cake last week. I make it once a year, when blueberries are at their peak. I was good; I made it, then gave it away, but not until Henry and I shared a hefty slice before it departed.
Here it is. I adapted it from Bon Apetit. The original recipe called for a white chocolate frosting, but I'm not a big fan of white chocolate, so I substituted cream cheese frosting instead. Much better, I think! If you need a recipe for it, here's the one I use:
3 1/3 cups cake flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
2 cups granulated sugar
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
Zest from one large lemon
4 extra-large eggs, room temperature
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk
2 1/2 cups fresh blueberries, tossed with 2 tablespoons flour
Cream Cheese Frosting (see link above)
Preheat oven to 350-degrees. Butter two 9-inch round cake pans and line bottoms with parchment. Butter again and dust lightly with flour.
Sift flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Set aside. Using electric mixer, beat butter until fluffy. Add sugar and continue beating, scraping down sides often until mixture is light and creamy, about 8 minutes. Beat in lemon juice and zest then add eggs one at a time. Scrape bowl down after each addition.
Add flour mixture and buttermilk alternately, beginning and ending with flour. Do not overbeat. Remove bowl from mixer and finish combining by hand, using a large spatula or wooden spoon. Gently fold in berries.
Divide batter between prepared pans. Rap each pan one time sharply on countertop to remove air bubbles. Bake until cake tester comes out clean, between 30 and 40 minutes, depending upon your oven. Cool on racks for at least one hour or longer.
Frost layers with cream cheese frosting. Garnish with lemon slices and fresh blueberries, if desired. If you really want to go overboard, slice each layer horizontally so that you have four layers, then fill and frost as usual.
Note: I baked my layers for 40 minutes, and they were a little too dry for my taste. You should start checking for doneness at 30 minutes. Also, this cake is much, much better a day or two after you make it so that all the flavors start to meld. If you make it tomorrow, it will be perfectly "cured" for your Fourth of July celebration on Sunday!