Friday, June 29, 2012

I Found My Thrill....

When my children were little, my in-laws gave them a great book by Maine author Robert McCloskey called Blueberries for Sal.

It's about a little girl named Sal and her mother and a little bear cub and his mother who are picking and eating blueberries on Blueberry Hill.  If you have young children, I highly recommend it.  Whenever Sal would put some berries in her little metal pail, it would make a distinctive sound: kerplink, kerplank, kerplunk.

Reading this story was like a step back in time.  I grew up in Upper Michigan where there used to be loads of wild blueberries ripe for the picking.  My Uncle Pete would take us to all of his secret places where we would fill our own little metal pails--kerplink, kerplank, kerplunk--with the blue nuggets.  Wild berries are small but perfectly tart.  Domesticated berries are much sweeter and not quite as intensely flavored, but I love them all!  At this time of year we buy mounds of blueberries because in my mind, it's just not summer without them.

I usually bake up some fabulous double blueberry muffins or make berry, berry extraordinary french toast or even throw some blueberries in a spinach salad, but this time I tried Ina Garten's Blueberry Crumb Cake.  I made it exactly according to her recipe except that I used large eggs instead of extra large and put a few sliced almonds in the crumb topping.  I also baked it in a springform pan so it would have a nice presentation.

Tangy sour cream adds moistness and butter adds incredible richness.  The lemon zest is a zingy counterpoint to the sweet berries.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9 inch spring form pan.  Cream butter and sugar for about 5 minutes or until light and fluffy:

Add eggs, vanilla, lemon zest, and sour cream and mix thoroughly.  Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Add these dry ingredients plus fresh blueberries to the creamed butter mixture and gently stir in by hand.

Spoon mixture into the prepared spring form pan, and smooth the top.

Make the streusel for the top:

I like to grind my own nutmeg, which lends nice flavor.

Sprinkle the streusel evenly over the top of the batter.

Bake for 40-50 minutes or until tester comes out clean. Cool completely, then unmold.  Garnish with powdered sugar and additional blueberries.

Cut a wedge!

I found my (Blueberry) Thrill!

Linking to:

Cast Party Wednesday

Miz Helen’s Country Cottage

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