Kuplink, kuplank, kuplunk!
That’s the lovely sound of blueberries hitting the bottom of Little Sal’s tin pail.
The other day, I opened this delicious classic for the first time in eons. I had forgotten about how wonderful Robert McCloskey’s illustrations were, all done in dark blue ink. The double page spread displayed on the endpapers is stunning, showing Little Sal standing on a chair playing with rubber canning seals, her mom pouring cooked blueberries into jars, the Hoosier cabinet with a drawer and door open, and of course, the cast iron stove. You can just feel that fresh breeze drifting in through the open windows.
And what a sweet, gentle story — Sal and her mother go blueberry picking, but Sal never fills her pail because she keeps eating the berries as they go along. On the other side of the hill, a mother bear and cub are fattening up for the winter on blueberries. Sal and Little Bear fall behind and eventually trail after the wrong mothers.
Blueberries are a staple in our house all year round. They are one of the reasons I’d like to live in Maine. The best blueberry pie I’ve ever eaten, hands down, came from the Red Fox Tavern in Middleburg, Virginia. It was made from a bounty of small, incredibly sweet wild Maine blueberries. It’s been over 10 years, and I’m still thinking about that piece of pie.So, for all you fellow blueberry lovers, here are three wonderful recipes – classic blueberry pie (compliments of Violet Beauregarde of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory), blueberry cream cheese pie, and a simple blueberry cobbler. I’ll take my blueberries any way I can, and I love showing off my blue tongue!
NOT VIOLET, BUT BLUEBERRY PIE
Pastry for one 2-crust 9-inch pie
4 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen (if frozen, do not thaw)
1 T lemon juice
1/2 tsp fresh grated lemon zest
1/3 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
4 tsp cornstarch
pinch of salt
Place berries in a bowl. Drizzle them with lemon juice. Add the remaining ingredients and toss to distribute. Pour the berries into a 9-inch pie pan layered with a bottom crust rolled 3/8 inch thick. Position top crust, crimp edges together, and trim. Bake at 400 degrees F for about 50 minutes. Cool and serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.
~ from The Book Lover’s Cookbook (Ballantine Books, 2003)
BLUEBERRY CREAM CHEESE PIE
1 prebaked 9-inch pie crust
8 oz cream cheese
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 8-oz container whipping cream
1 can blueberry pie filling
Mix cream cheese until soft, add sugar and vanilla. Stir well.
Fold mixture into stiffly whipped cream.
Pour into baked pie shell, top with pie filling and chill.
Here is the easiest one of all; takes only about 10 minutes to prepare for baking.
2/3 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt, if desired
2/3 cup skim milk
2 T butter or margarine, melted
2 cups blueberries, cleaned and washed
1. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Stir in the milk, and mix the batter until it is smooth.
2. Pour the melted butter into a 1 or 1-1/2 quart casserole-type baking dish. Pour in the batter, and sprinkle the blueberries on top.
3. Bake the cobbler in a preheated 350 degree oven for 40 to 45 minutes or until it is lightly browned. Spoon out the cobbler onto individual dishes to serve.
~ from Jane Brody’s Good Food Cookbook (Bantam, 1985)