All photos by Ted Axelrod
Spurred on by the incessant Maine blueberry season news all around me (some of which I’m responsible for, see “More blueberry love,” below), I have become a somewhat obsessive daily consumer of blueberries. Right at this moment, in fact, I’m eating plain Greek yogurt with wild blueberries stirred in and drinking wild blueberry kombucha from Urban Farm Fermentory. Buying them at the farmers market and from roadside stands, I’ve sprinkled blueberries into salads and muddled them into cocktails.
This is perfectly OK, I tell myself: wild blueberries are good for me (full of antioxidants!) and no matter how many I shovel in, there’s little chance I’ll end up looking like the unfortunate Violet Beauregarde in “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.”
Fresh wild blueberries have to be consumed pretty quickly, and even I can’t always get through a quart before they start to go soft. The other night, I wanted to surprise Ted with a dessert, so I came up with a version of an old-fashioned cobbler I recently enjoyed at a friend’s house and a recipe I found on Pinterest. It makes good use of blueberries that are a little too mushy to stir into yogurt or bake into muffins. And not wanting baked goods hanging around the house, I made just enough for the two of us.
Wild Maine blueberries are a must for this dessert, a rustic mash-up of cake/pudding/cobbler. The bigger, cultivated blues won’t break down the same way in the oven.
It comes together super quickly. A simple, vanilla cake batter goes on the bottom of two individual baking dishes (I used these adorable mini Le Crueset pans but any small, oven-proof dish will work), with the berries piled on top. Baked for about 30 minutes, the “cake” sets up and the berries get deliciously bubbly — Nigella Lawson might say “squodgy”. Vanilla ice cream or whipped cream to melt into the berries and cake is another must.
Of course if there’s more than two at your table, the recipe can be doubled or tripled.
Adapted from Bunny’s Warm Oven
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of kosher salt
1/4 cup milk (lowfat is fine)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
1 cup Maine wild blueberries, rinsed and picked over
1 tablespoon, packed, dark or light brown sugar
Preheat oven to 375. Butter two 1-cup oven proof baking dishes.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. In a small bowl, combine milk, vanilla and melted butter (tip: I measured the milk, then add the vanilla and butter right into the measuring cup, because we don’t have a dishwasher and not dirtying lots of bowls is a good thing).
Divide the batter between the two baking dishes. Divide the blueberries in half and distribute as evenly as possible over the batter. Divide the brown sugar and sprinkle it on top of the berries.
Bake the pudding cakes for 30 minutes; they are done when berries are bubbly and starting to caramelize around the edge of the dishes.
Serve the puddings warm with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.