It is blueberry season at my house and we are so excited! It is a little early this year as we had a warm spring and things are a bit off schedule. In the nearly fourteen years we have been raising blueberries on this property, I can only remember one other time where we were picking in June. I am not complaining as I love these little blue/black beauties and all the possibilities that go with having an abundance of them. High in antioxidants, they are considered one of the super foods! They are really quite versatile as they can be used in baked goods, such as muffins, pies and crisps, tossed in salads, cereal and pancakes or made into jams. Best yet they can simply be eaten with a splash of fresh cream or milk. For maximum freshness, do not wash them until right before you are ready to use and store them (preferably in a single layer) in a moisture proof container for up to five days.
My friend, Cathy, brought me some beautiful peaches the other day and my husband picked a couple pints of blueberries this morning so I went in search of a recipe that would combine them both. I picked up one of my favorite cookbooks, Cook Like A Rock Star by Anne Burrell , I will so be doing one of my culinary crushes about my “girlfriend” Anne soon, and found her Blueberry and Nectarine Crisp recipe. Anne says you can substitute peaches, pears, plums, berries or just about any fruit that you like here and to have fun. So I did and here is what I did.
2 pints blueberries, picked through for stems and crushed berries
5 nectarines (in my case, peaches), peeled, pitted and cut into 1-inch chunks
Note: Peaches are easy to peel if you cut an x into the opposite of the stem end and plunge them into boiling water for about a minute. Cool under cold water and peel! You can also use a very sharp vegetable peeler but I prefer the boiling water method.
1/2 c granulated sugar
Grated zest of one lemon
1/4 c corn starch
1 1/4 c whole wheat flour
1/2 c rolled oats
1 c packed light or dark brown sugar
1/2 t cinnamon
Pinch of salt
12 T (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold, cut into pea-size pieces
1t pure vanilla extract
For the filling:
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the blueberries, nectarines (peaches), sugar, lemon zest, and corn starch.
- Place the fruit in a wide shallow baking dish (2-2 1/2 quart) or eight 1-cup ramekins.
For the topping:
- In a food processor, combine the flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt and pulse.
- Add the butter and vanilla and pulse, pulse, pulse, until the mixture looks dry and crumbly. Add 1T of water and pulse again until the mixture starts to come together. If it still seems dry, add 1 more tablespoon of water and pulse again. Sprinkle the topping over the fruit mixture. Add the almonds on top of each, if using.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the filling is hot and bubbly and the top is crispy and browned. Serve warm with whipped cream or ice cream.
I am looking forward to trying this recipe with other fruit combinations as the summer season progresses. I liked that it was not overly sweet and allowed the fruit to make a statement of its own. I also liked that the recipe was easy and the combination of flavors was amazing. Another benefit to this recipe is that while baking and for many hours afterwards, it makes your house smell so delicious you can hardly stand it! My husband came in from working outside and said you can smell it all the way down the driveway! Better make a lot as I am sure you will be getting some unexpected visitors.
Let me know what combinations you try and how you liked it. Thanks for the recipe, girlfriend, Anne.