Yesterday my husband and I were up at the crack of dawn so we could go to Jones Family Farms to pick blueberries. This was my first time picking blueberries. Last year we went strawberry picking, but the season passed us by this year so I was extra happy we were able to find our way to the fields before the end of the blueberry season.
We picked over three pounds! Now what?
My first blueberry creation was a pasta salad with fresh blueberries. I made it last year for Blueberry Night! This time I left out the chicken. First I made the pasta, about a half a cup for the two of us. In a mini-blender I combined onion, garlic, basil, salt, pepper and olive oil and gave it a good go 'round until it was all finely chopped. Throw that in with the cooked pasta and add some finely chopped carrot and red pepper and then let it all chill. I had some shredded lettuce left from the previous nights tacos, so I put that in a big bowl and topped it with the pasta mixture. Dress it with oil and vinegar, toss, add fresh blueberries, shred some Parmesan cheese on top, toss again. Bang! Really nice, refreshing, crunchy, chewy, tangy, spicy. I ate two bowls of it, and so did my husband.
As for my second blueberry creation...I'm gonna cut myself some slack. Of course I made it up in my crazy mind and it didn't totally turn out the way I expected. BUT it was still super tasty, not too sweet, refreshing and nummy beyond belief.
Blueberry Cream Pie was what I was going for...here's how I went about it. I used this recipe for the pie crust, plus a pinch of cardamom. When you make it it'll be a pile of crumbs and you'll say to yourself "this Headbanging Hostess is crazy! How is this gonna make a pie crust?" but trust me, it'll work. Push the crumbs into the pan and trust that it's gonna work.
After that was done I let it sit to cool and I made a pastry creme. At this point I have to hope my college baking teacher isn't reading this because I had me some pastry creme trauma. I'm just being honest. I'm not saying you shouldn't try or it's too hard. I'm just saying I had a tough time with it but I DIDN'T GIVE UP! It's only food! You gotta keep at it!
I won't go through all my mistakes, but I'll tell you what worked in the end.
1 cup milk (whole milk, don't use 1% like I did)
2 Tablespoons corn starch
Put the milk and sugar in a heavy bottomed pan and slowly bring to a simmer. While that's going on, whisk the eggs and corn starch together in a separate bowl. Once the milk mixture comes to a simmer carefully whisk it into the eggs, slowly so the eggs don't scramble, and then return the whole lot to the stove until it's thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Then put it all in a chilled bowl to cool in the fridge.
You just made pudding. It should thicken up as it cools. If it doesn't, don't freak out, just send someone out to get you pudding from the store :)
Then whip up a pint of whipping cream. Fold about half of the (unsweetened) whipped cream together with the homemade (or store bought) pudding. Add a couple spoons of sugar and a cap of vanilla extract to sweeten it just a tad. The goal here, as with most of my fruit desserts, is to allow the berry to speak for itself, or as in this case, sing for itself.
Next I filled the pie crust with berries, poured the pudding cream in an topped it all with the last of the (unsweetened) whipped cream. You may want to fold the berries and pudding cream together first. The cream didn't quite surround the berries as I'd hoped and the pie crust and pie innards never quite connected because the berries were in the way which made for an interesting plating experience.
BUT! As always, it was super tasty. A gallant first try! And I still have ton of berries to play with! Stay tuned!!!