WRAL reporter Brian Shrader and our own Lisa Prince feature seasonal recipes in their weekly Local Dish Cooking segment. This month Brian and Lisa featured recipes that feature one of North Carolina’s top fruit crops, blueberries.
North Carolina is the seventh-largest producer of blueberries in the nation, yielding 48.8 million pounds in 2014. Bladen County is the top producing county with more than 3,000 acres of blueberries.
Blueberry season is expected to last through August. Find a farmers market or pick-your-own farm nearby at www.ncfarmfresh.com.
The first recipe is for a cool and delicious fresh summer treat. It is from the June 2012 issue of Coastal Living. Lisa suggests using paper cups and plastic spoons if you don’t have popsicle molds. Cover the cups with aluminum foil or plastic wrap if you want the spoons to stand up in the middle. If the ice pops don’t easily come out of the cups, run the bottoms quickly under cool water.
- 2 cups fresh or frozen pineapple cubes
- 1⁄4 cup unsweetened pineapple juice or apple juice
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 cup fresh blueberries
Combine first 3 ingredients in a blender, and process until smooth. Pour mixture evenly into 6 (3-ounce) ice pop molds, leaving about 1 to 2 tablespoons of the puree in the blender.
Add blueberries to blender with reserved puree. Process until well blended; pour over pineapple mixture in ice pop molds. Insert wooden sticks, and cover if necessary to hold wooden sticks upright. Freeze 4 hours or until firm.
The next recipe is for a fresh and light dessert that Lisa’s friend, Margaret Fish, has been making for her family for 50 years.
Blueberry Queen by Mrs. Margaret Fish
- 2 deep dish pie shells, thawed
- 1 cup N.C. pecan pieces, divided
- 2 8-ounce packages cream cheese
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 large can of blueberry pie filling
- 2 cups blueberries, divided
- 16-ounce container of whipped cream
Press both thawed pie shells into a 9×13 baking dish. Then press ½ cup pecans into the dough. Bake at 300 degrees for 15-20 minutes, let cool. Mix together cream cheese and powdered sugar. Spread over the crust. Top cream cheese mixture with can of blueberry pie filling. Then sprinkle 1 cup of fresh blueberries on top of pie filling. Cover with whipped topping, sprinkle with nuts and remaining 1 cup of fresh blueberries. Chill overnight.
This recipe is courtesy of Jean Anderson from her latest cookbook: Crisps, Cobblers, Custards & Desserts. Lisa calls it “a delicious read filled with inspired creations, many of which feature a number of N.C.’s top crops.”
So Easy Blueberry Pecan Crunch
- 1 1⁄2 quarts fresh or solidly frozen blueberries
- 1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
- 1⁄2 cup fresh orange juice
- 3⁄4 cup sugar
- 1 1⁄2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
- 1 cup moderately coarsely chopped pecans
Homemade Biscuit Mix:
- 4 1⁄2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons double-acting baking powder
- 4 teaspoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 10 tablespoons refrigerator-cold unsalted butter
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spritz 13x9x2–inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Prepare homemade biscuit mix: Place flour, baking powder, sugar and salt in large bowl and whisk until well combined. Add butter and using a pastry blender, cut butter into flour mixture until texture is coarse. Toss blueberries with orange zest, spread over bottom of baking dish, and drizzle with orange juice.
Combine 2 2/3 cups homemade biscuit mix (freeze the remaining biscuit mix for several months) with ¾ cup sugar. Sprinkle mixture evenly on top of blueberries, then drizzle melted butter evenly over pudding and scatter with pecans. Slide onto middle oven shelf and bake until lightly browned, about 45 to 50 minutes.
Finally, here is a classic recipe for blueberry pie, a summertime staple. Lisa suggests garnishing with a fresh sprig of mint and some lemon zest. To save a little time you can use a pre-packaged pie crust, just bake it according to package instruction. You may also want to garnish this dessert with powdered sugar. If you don’t have time to make the Cream Fraiche, just use whipped topping or mix together 1 cup heavy cream with ¼ tsp. vanilla until soft peaks form. For a delicious July 4th dessert add in some strawberries!
- 1 1⁄2 cups heavy cream (Crème Fraiche)
- 3 tablespoons sour cream (Crème Fraiche)
- 1 package refrigerated pie crust
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1 tablespoon sour cream
- 1⁄2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 9 1⁄2 cups fresh blueberries
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 Tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon butter
Crème Fraiche: Make one day ahead of time. Whisk heavy cream and sour cream together in a small glass bowl until smooth. Cover with double thickness of cheesecloth, set in a cool draft-free spot and let stand for 12 hours or overnight. Remove cheesecloth and whisk mixture until smooth. Store in a jar with a tight lid in refrigerator for up to one week.
Heat oven to 425 degrees. Sprinkle work surface with powdered sugar. Roll piecrust into an-11 inch circle on prepared surface. Fit piecrust sugar side down into a 9 inch pie plate; fold edges under and crimp. Prick bottom and sides with a fork. Bake 10 minutes or until golden. Cool completely on a wire rack.
Beat cream cheese and sour cream at medium speed with a mixer until smooth. Add ½ cup sugar, lemon zest and juice; beat until smooth and fluffy. Spoon mixture into the cooled pie crust, cover and refrigerate until ready to assemble.
Process 1 ½ cups of blueberries in a blender or food processor until smooth, and press through a wire-mesh strainer into a 3-quart saucepan, using back of a spoon to squeeze out juice; discard pulp. Stir in 1 cup sugar into juice in pan. Whisk together cornstarch and ¼ cup water; gradually whisk cornstarch mixture into blueberry mixture. Bring to a boil over medium heat, and cook, whisking constantly, 1 minute. Remove from heat, and whisk in butter. Cool 15 minutes.
Toss together blueberry mixture and 8 cups of blueberries gently in a large bowl until coated. Cover and chill 3 hours or until cold.
Once the blueberry mixture has been chilled, spoon it on top of the pie crust that has already been filled with the cream cheese mixture and top with a few dollops of Cream Fraiche. Serve at once as is or garnish with 1 cup heavy cream, whipped to soft peaks, or 1 pint vanilla ice cream.