I love blueberries, and they’re packed with health benefits such as anti-oxidants and vitamins. The only disadvantage, especially at this time of year, is that they’re not cheap. So I decided to set myself a challenge and see how far I could make a single 150g punnet of blueberries go. Here’s how I got on.
Everyone’s favourite blueberry recipe, these are best eaten fresh but also freeze beautifully.
- 110g butter or margarine
- 120g sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 large tablespoon plain yogurt
- 120g self-raising flour (I used half wholemeal and half regular)
What to do:
Preheat the oven to 180C.
Put the butter in a large, heatproof mixing bowl and soften it in the microwave for ten seconds or so. Add the sugar and yoghurt, and beat until well combined (the yogurt will make it make it look a bit curdled).
Add the eggs and beat well. (I had some lovely free range eggs which were all different sizes, so ended up using three small ones instead of two large. If in doubt, the combined weight of the eggs should be as close to 120g as possible!)
Add the flour and mix well to form a smooth batter, than add in 2/3 of the punnet of blueberries, reserving the rest. Stir to combine.
Line a muffin tin with cases, and spoon in the batter so that it comes about 2/3 of the way up the case (you should get between six and eight muffins). Bake for around 15 minutes until well risen and golden (they took slightly less than that in my ancient AGA). OK, 1/3 of a punnet to go!
Apple and blueberry compote
I’ve never done this with blueberries before, but it’s something I make a lot during the apple season with blackberries or raspberries as my additional fruit. It’s delicious served warm with ice cream or yogurt, or makes a nice addition to muesli.
- one large cooking apple, peeled and cut into small pieces
- four cardamon pods
- juice and rind of one orange
- sugar to taste
What to do:
Put the apple in a saucepan with the orange juice and rind, and add the cardamon pods. Bring it to the boil, then reduce the mixture to a simmer. Pick out ten or so large blueberries from what you’ve got left, and add the rest to the pan. Let it cook for around ten minutes until the fruit is very soft and pulpy, then remove from the heat, remove the cardamon pods and sweeten to taste. This will keep for up to a week in the fridge. Ten blueberries left!
Blueberry shortbread biscuits
Again, I’ve never tried putting fresh fruit in these biscuits (I normally use dried) – but nothing ventured, nothing gained!
- 90g butter (it does have to be butter this time, not margarine)
- 40g sugar
- 30g polenta or rice flour
- 100g plain flour
- rind of one lemon (you can freeze the juice in ice cube trays and use it for something else)
What to do:
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C, and prepare a baking tray by covering it with greaseproof paper. (I use Bake-O-Glide tin liners instead of greaseproof, as they’re really non-stick and you can also clean them in the dishwasher and keep reusing them.) Put the butter in a large, heatproof mixing bowl and soften it in the microwave for ten seconds or so. Add the sugar, and mix to combine. Add in both the flours (using the polenta flour gives a crisper texture, but it’s not essential – if you don’t have any, just use more plain flour instead) and the lemon rind. Cut the blueberries into quarters, and add them to the mix. Work everything together until you have a firm dough.
Turn the dough out on to a floured surface, and roll it out to about 0.5cm thick. Cut it into rounds with a pastry cutter, and transfer to the baking tray – you should get 10 to 12 rounds. Bake for around 12 minutes until a very pale golden brown (they will still be quite soft). Leave them on the tray until fairly cool, then transfer to a cooling rack until completely cold (a fish slice helps with this bit). As they’ve got fresh fruit in they probably won’t last more than a couple of days in an airtight tin, sot hat’s an excuse to eat them quickly!
What’s your favourite blueberry recipe? Do share your ideas in the comments below. Happy baking!
All photography (c) Write Image for You Media.