Special Food Memories
I love berries of all sorts,
but blueberries are my absolute favorite.
Blueberries are considered a “super-food” because of their health
benefits. They’re packed with phytonutrients, anthocyanins and other
gigantic words that are used to describe the small, but mighty blueberry. But
the best thing about blueberries is their fabulous flavor and the special
memories they evoke.
My sister Rhonda Matias has
mmm-marvelous memories of our mother’s fabulous
blueberry pie. Mom always added a green apple to her blueberry filling, which
gave it a hint of tartness as a counterpoint to the sweetness of the berries.
My sister (affectionately known by the family as Cookie) tells the story about
how she had a craving for Mom’s blueberry pie and finally convinced her to
bake one for her. It had become difficult for Mom to go shopping, so Cookie
went to a small supermarket one Sunday morning and bought 2 cartons brimming
with blueberries. They cost $4 each but my sister bought them anyways, rather
than going to the big supermarket, going through the hassles of parking and
standing in line.
Mom nearly went “meshugah” when she heard how much the blueberries cost.
“You spent how much? I usually pay $2 a box!” My sister replied “When
was the last time you bought blueberries? Don’t worry about it. I paid for
the berries. Just make the pie!”
My mom used to bake a plethora of pies each summer when we went to Winnipeg
Beach for our summer vacation. No electric stove, no running water, but we
still called it “our vacation.” Each day, we shlepped a heavy pail of well
water from the pump for a block or two, depending on where our rented summer
cottage was located. I can still remember the fun of pumping the handle up and
down until the slightly metallic water finally flowed into the pail. Then we
carried the overflowing pail back to the cottage, sharing the heavy load in
our tiny hands.
Mom would rinse the fresh berries in the newly pumped water, pat them dry,
then prepare the filling for her wonderful blueberry pie. She would make her
flaky pastry, rolling it out deftly with her heavy rolling pin on the rickety
kitchen table. She would fill the pie shell to overflowing with her special
blueberry-apple mixture, then carefully transfer the top crust to cover the
“blue-ti-full” filling. We loved to sprinkle sugar on top. “Not too much
sugar!” warned Mom.
Then Mom would test the temperature of the wood-burning stove to see if the
oven was hot enough. She would put her hand in the oven quickly, then withdraw
it even more quickly. We could never figure out how Mom knew when the oven was
The pies always disappeared quickly, but the special flavor of their memory
will last forever.
BELLE’S FAMOUS BLUEBERRY PIE
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
pinch of baking powder
2/3 cup chilled shortening (e.g., Crisco)
scant 1/2 cup ice water
1 tsp vinegar
Old-Fashioned Method: Combine flour, salt and baking powder in a large bowl.
Cut in shortening with 2 knives or a pastry blender until particles are the
size of peas. Add water and vinegar slowly, mixing lightly with a fork until
all the flour is moistened. Shape into a ball.
Food Processor Method: Combine the flour, salt, baking powder and shortening
in the food processor. Process with several quick on/off pulses, just until
the particles are the size of peas. Add the water and vinegar and process just
until dough gathers together in a ball, about 10 to 15 seconds longer.
Divide dough into 2 equal parts. Wrap well and refrigerate for at least 30
minutes for easier handling. Prepare the blueberry filling.
4 cups fresh blueberries
1 large green apple, peeled, cored and grated
1 tsp lemon juice
3/4 cup sugar
3 to 4 tbsp flour
1 to 2 tsp additional water, for brushing top of pie
1 tbsp additional sugar for sprinkling on top of pie
Combine berries, grated apple, lemon juice, sugar and flour in a large bowl;
Roll out 1 piece of dough about 1/8-inch thick. The board and rolling pin
should be lightly floured. Keep pastry circular and roll it 1-inch larger than
an inverted 9-inch pie plate. Fold pastry in half and transfer it to the pie
plate. Unfold, being careful not to stretch dough. Place filling in pie shell
and trim off overhanging edges. Moisten edge of bottom crust with water.
Roll out the top crust and make several slits to allow steam to escape. Place
the top crust over the filling. Fold the overlapping edge of the top crust
under the edge of the lower crust. Seal and flute, making sure edges are
hooked onto the rim of the pie plate. Brush top crust lightly with water and
sprinkle lightly with sugar.
Bake in a preheated 425 F oven (or a very hot wood-burning oven!) for 40 to 45
minutes, until golden. Inhale and enjoy!
When I asked my friend Kathy Guttman of Toronto for her favorite blueberry
recipe, she responded quickly. “This is my family’s favorite cake. It’s
the one recipe that everyone loves, which is unusual, because no matter what I
bake, someone doesn’t like something!”
Kathy reduces the sugar from 1 1/4 cups to 1 cup in this berry-studded cake
and it still comes out moist and tender. Kathy told our mutual friend Frieda
Wishinsky how much she loved the recipe because she can whip it up in moments
and it freezes beautifully, so Frieda has now added it to her repertoire. As
we sat over coffee the other morning, they both agreed that this is one cake
that should definitely be in everyone’s collection! Berry easy, berry
NORENE’S BLUEBERRY CRUMBLE CAKE
Source: The NEW Food Processor Bible by Norene Gilletz
An all-time family favorite! This is a winner. It’s also delicious with
2 1/4 cups flour
1 1/4 cups sugar (can be reduced to 1 cup)
3/4 cup butter or margarine, cut in chunks
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup sour cream or yogurt
1 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
Insert Steel Blade into the work bowl of a food processor. Process flour,
sugar and butter or margarine until fine crumbs are formed, 12 to 15 seconds.
Remove 1 cup of crumb mixture from processor and set aside.
Dissolve baking soda in sour cream or yogurt. Add to the crumb mixture in the
food processor along with baking powder and eggs. Process for 6 to 8 seconds,
just until blended, scraping down sides of bowl with a rubber spatula as
necessary. Do not over process. Stir in blueberries by hand.
Spread batter evenly in sprayed 9-inch square baking pan. Sprinkle with
reserved crumb mixture. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until done.
Yield: 9 servings. Delicious warm or at room temperature. May be frozen.
The recipe for these scrumptious muffins comes from my cousin Nancy Gordon,
another former Winnipegger. Winnipeg women are wonderful cooks and bakers and
these berry-studded muffins are sure to enhance your reputation as a baker as
well. I’ve lightened up these from Nancy’s recipe, which contained 3/4 cup
NANCY’S BLUEBERRY STREUSEL MUFFINS
Source: Healthy Helpings/MealLeaniYumm! by Norene Gilletz
1 tbsp tub margarine or oil
1/4 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup flour
1 egg plus 2 egg whites (or 2 eggs)
1 cup sugar
3 tbsp canola oil
1/2 cup orange juice (or concentrate)
1 1/2 cups flour (you can use part whole-wheat)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
1 tsp grated orange rind, optional
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups blueberries (fresh or frozen)
1 tbsp flour
2 tbsp sugar
Topping: Mix together margarine, brown sugar, cinnamon and flour until
crumbly. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 375 F. Beat egg, egg whites, sugar and oil until light. Add
juice and mix well. Add flour, baking powder, salt, orange rind and vanilla.
Mix just until flour disappears. In a small bowl, combine blueberries with 1
tbsp flour and 2 tbsp sugar. Gently stir blueberry mixture into batter.
Line muffin pan with paper liners. Fill three-quarters full with batter.
Sprinkle with topping. Bake at 375 F for 22 to 25 minutes, until golden.
Yield: 12 muffins. These freeze beautifully, if they don’t disappear in a
Healthy Helpings or The
NEW Food Processor Bible to order these great cookbooks by Norene