Monday, October 20, 2014

Blueberries

Blueberries for Sal is a children's picture book by Robert McCloskey. It was awarded the Caldecott Honor in 1949.

It is the story of a little girl Sal and her mother as they go out into the country to pick blueberries for winter, and a bear and his mother as they go to eat berries for winter from the other side of the same hill. Set in a small town in Maine this picture book piece uses a single dark blue color and block printing for the illustrations.
Sal and Sal's mother are modeled after McCloskey's wife, Peggy, and daughter, Sally.


One Morning in Maine is a picture book by Robert McCloskey set in Brooksville, Maine. It was awarded the Caldecott Honor in 1953.

The book gives a small slice of everyday life in Maine, where McCloskey and his family moved following World War II. Sal (also the heroine of McCloskey's Blueberries for Sal) finds she has a loose tooth and worries that she won't be able to go sailing with her father. She goes digging for clams and the tooth falls out. Eventually she gets an ice cream and her day turns out fine.

Robert McCloskey found inspiration for his writing right in his home state of Maine. While touring the New England region I found these classic children's books prominently placed in store windows and inside on shelves. I noted a sense of pride that the author was from their home state, Maine. Robert McCloskey also wrote Make Way for Ducklings. The setting for that book is Boston Public Gardens.

Our tour missed the key season for harvesting in Downeast Maine which occurred in August. I have been told that driving through the Wild Blueberry barrens, the thousands of acres of wild blueberries make for a beautiful landscape scene. The majority of the harvest is frozen within 24 hours for our enjoyment year round but nothing like plucking one straight from the bush. A wish for another time.  
July is blueberry month but these berries can be enjoyed all year round. They are delicious, versatile and healthy.

Blueberry Pie
Crust: Make your own crust or use prepared refrigerated crusts.
Filling: 
6 cups fresh blueberries, 2 tsp. lemon zest and 2 tsp. juice from one lemon, 3/4 cup sugar, 1 tsp. cinnamon, 2 TB. tapioca, 1 tsp. butter
Directions: 
  • Preheat oven to 400 and adjust oven rack to lowest setting.
  • In saucepan place 3 cups blueberries and mash with a potato masher, cook stirring frequently till thickened, and mixture reduced to 1-1/2 cup about 7 minutes-cool slightly.
  • Add to cooked blueberry mixture the remaining blueberries, lemon zest, cinnamon, lemon juice, sugar, tapioca and pinch of salt.
  • Pour blueberry filling into bottom pie crust. Top with 1 tsp. of butter.
  • Place a top crust over filling, crimp strips of foil around edges of dough to prevent over browning.
  • Mix a little sugar and cinnamon together. Moisten crust with a little milk using a pastry brush and sprinkle cinnamon/sugar mixture over pie crust top. Make 4 large slits in pie for vents.
  • Bake 30 minutes @ 400 then reduce temperature to 350 degrees and bake about 10-15 minutes more or until juices bubble and crust is brown. Let pie set several hours before cutting.
Serve sauce over ice cream, cakes or pancakes 
Blueberry-Lemon Sauce: 
Ingredients:
  • 2 tablespoons sugar 
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch 
  • 1 cup blueberries 
  • 1/2 cup water 
  • 1 tsp. grated lemon peel
  • 1-1/2 tsp. fresh lemon juice 
  • optional 1 tsp. Grand Marnier
Directions:
  • Mix sugar and cornstarch in small saucepan, add in blueberries, water, lemon peel and lemon juice. 
  • Bring to boil on medium heat, stirring constantly and boil 1 minute. 
  • Remove from heat, add in Grand Marnier and cool.

Berry-Almond Cheesecake Tart
Crust
  • 1- 3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 4 Tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
Filling
  • 2 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese, softened
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Topping
  • 2 cups strawberries, halved
  • 1-1/2 cups blueberries
  • 1/4 cup seedless raspberry preserves, melted
Directions:
  • Heat oven to 325F. Spray a 9-inch tart pan with removable bottom with cooking spray.
  • Process graham crackers, cinnamon and sugar in food processor or blender. Mix in melted butter. Press crumb mixture into bottom and up sides of pan. A cheesecake pan can be used for this recipe.
  • Place prepared pan on a baking sheet and bake 10 minutes or until set. Cool on wire rack.
  • Process cream cheese, 2/3 cup sugar, eggs and flour in food processor for 30 seconds until smooth. Add in lemon juice, vanilla and almond extract. Process 15 seconds. Pour into baked crust.
  • Bake 25-minutes or until center is set when gently shaken. 
  • Remove tart from baking sheet and cool completely on wire rack. Refrigerate uncovered for 5 hours or overnight.
  • Remove outside of pan and arrange strawberries around tart. Fill in with blueberries. Gently brush berries with melted preserves. 
  • Store in refrigerator uncovered.

1 comment:

  1. I haven't thought of these books in years. The art is incredible.

    Blueberries are among my favorite fruit, so thank you for the recipes.

    ReplyDelete