Alert! Alert! Blueberries are in season! I recently came home to visit my dad and his wife, only to find 18 pounds of freshly-picked highbush organic New Jersey blueberries. They were gorgeous; as far from your typical grocery store blueberries as you can imagine. These berries were lucious and juicy, sweet but still tangy, practically as big as very small grapes.
I did everyone a public service and baked things til my tongue turned purple! Here are some of the things I made:
Blueberry Crumb Cake
based on Blueberry Crumb Cake from Smitten Kitchen
STEP ONE: Prep
Heat the oven to 375°F. Butter a 9-inch round baking pan. Dust it with flour. Cut out a circle of parchment paper to fit in the bottom. (I did this step because I miraculously had parchment paper available to me. Probably it would be ok if you didn’t have the paper; it will just make it harder to get out at the end.)
Next, gather your ingredients.
- 5 Tbsp all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 4 Tbsp unsalted butter (that’s half a stick)
- pinch of salt
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 4 Tbsp softened unsalted butter (that’s the other half of the stick)
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 lemon’s zest
- 1 large egg
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 1/2 cup fresh blueberries
- 1/2 cup unsweetened plain almond milk
STEP TWO: Topping
Combine the flour, sugar, cinnamon and salt together, and then cut the butter into it. I learned to cut butter in a time when I did not have a pastry blender available to me. I think I was like twelve. I tried to use the “two knives” method, but I didn’t have the fine motor skills for it and honestly I don’t think I do now, either. My preferred butter-cutting method is just with my fingers.
I start by cutting the butter into smallish cubes like so:
And then I put them in the flour/sugar mixture:
And then I pull them apart over and over again.
At the end of the process, you can involve a fork to kind of smash things around.
The idea is to get it all crumbly, but not have the butter completely evenly distributed.
GOOD WORK. Now put it aside for later. I put it on the stove, which I didn’t realize was going to make it get hot because of the heat from the oven. This was not the worst thing later when it was time to put it on the cake, but if it had been on the oven much longer, it would have probably melted into a goo that would have been less than ideal.
STEP THREE: Cake
Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together. In a different bowl, beat the butter, sugar and zest together. I used a hand mixer for this, but if you have a stand mixer it’d be worth it to pull it out, because while this is totally manageable, it’s gonna get less manageable.
Once the butter, sugar and zest are fluffy, add the egg and vanilla and beat it all together.
Ok, so now you have your wet ingredients, your dry ingredients, and your almond milk on the side. (Sidenote: I always prefer almond milk when baking because it’s easier on my stomach and it adds a subtle almond flavor that is rarely a bad thing.) First, beat 1/3 of the dry into the wet. THEN add half of the milk. THEN add another third of the dry, then the rest of the milk, then the rest of the dry. OK? Got it? Dry, milk, dry, milk, dry. You’re going to have really, really thick batter, but Deb says “don’t fret,” and if Deb says not to fret, there’s no need to, is there?
Then fold in those blueberries. Yes, all of them.
Now take your cake pan and dump the batter in. Spread it all around. Then sprinkle the topping on.
Bake for 40 minutes or until the top is kind of crunchy and a toothpick comes out clean.
STEP FOUR: Eat
We ate this to celebrate my aunt’s birthday! Happy Birthday Auntie Ali!
It’s like 50% blueberries and so very delicious.
Blueberry Basil Popsicles
I combined the abundant blueberries with abundant home-grown basil to make abundant popsicles. While you can certainly follow my recipe, I’d recommend you create your own modifications depending on what you have a ton of and/or really need to use.
- juice from half a lemon
- 3.5 cups blueberries
- a whole bunch of basil (I don’t have anything more specific to tell you other than I loosely filled a salad spinner. I know that’s not super helpful, but it’s better than nothing)
- 1/4ish cup sugar
- 1/2 cup water
Take your blueberries, mix them with the water and sugar and a little more than half the basil, and put them in a saucepan over medium heat until the sugar dissolves, the basil wilts, and everything is super dark purple.
Then fish out the basil. I am not sure why, but the internet suggested it, and I feel like it makes sense. because you don’t want a bunch of cooked basil in your ice pops.
Now let the blueberries cool. While you wait, juice your lemon half, maybe rip up the rest of the basil a little bit, get out the blender, and clean the kitchen.
Once the blueberries are cool, put everything in the blender and liquefy it for a good long time.
Then pour it into your popsicle molds.
I had exactly the right amount to make eight popsicles, which made me feel like a wizard.
Okay. So. Here’s how they turned out. On flavor, I’d give them a nine out of ten, but on texture they were only at like a five. They were too chunky! The blueberries weren’t totally liquefied before they went into the popsicle molds, but that wasn’t as much of an issue as the basil, which also wasn’t totally liquefied — some of the pieces were still kind of big, which is pretty weird in a popsicle. This is why when I say liquefy that stuff in the blender, I really mean liquefy. There might be something to be said for using an actual juicer if that’s something you have access to.
I still thoroughly enjoyed these with the family.
Then I left the other four popsicles unattended while I went to Dyke March, and said remaining popsicles were appropriated for “BlueberryTinis.” I am told this involved, “blending the popsicles and adding a lot of gin.”
This is the lone photographic evidence of said BlueberryTinis, but I am assured that three of them led to a fun night and a rough next morning.
So that’s what I did when I had a zillion blueberries at my disposal. And let’s be honest – there were still a ton leftover in the freezer. How are you celebrating blueberry season?
i went on a date with a girl last night that when i offered her cherries she said, “i’m more a blueberry kind of girl” she also mayyyybe mentioned that food is the way to her heart. what i’m getting at, is that this is timely and right along the lines of what my refinery29 horoscope said this week would be like.
i am soooo excited to provide you with this important post at this critical hour @alarae <3
MADDIE IS THE BEST.
Will you ship me blueberries???
sending them via brainwaves. did you get them yet??
YES. Will yoi make blueberrytinis at camp?
if someone brings me 18 pounds of blueberries, yes!
I really, really love it when the Get Baked section has actual recipes as opposed to long lists/ links to other recipes. I know that actually recipes is probably loads harder to get together (since you need an actual person to test them, take pictures, write it out, etc), so I understand why it occurs less often. But man, I really love it.
Also, I want a blueberry crumb cake with a blueberry-tini right now! Totally going on my sure baking bucket list. Thanks Maddie!
Ugh! That should say “my SUMMER baking bucket list”. Typos are my enemy. Blueberries are my friend.
let me know how they turn out @c-p!
Report back from the field!
I finally got back to this recipe (2 months later, haha, sorry!). The blueberry crumb cake has now become a peach crumb cake, as that is what is now in season for me. It is in the oven and smells delicious!!! I had to physically restrain myself from eating the all the scrapped, left over batter from the bowl.
this speaks to me on such a level
This all looks so yummy! Definitely going to try the crumb cake!
Is no one going to mention THE INGENUITY OF THOSE POPSICLE HANDLES. They have straws so you can drink the melted goodness from the popsicle!! DUDE. This is probs no big deal to a lot of people, but I’ve never been blessed with these sort of handles in my life.
Aside from that, thank you for the post! Gotta try that crumb cake.
This brings back instant memories of slurping up popsicle juice on the porch as a kid. I would purposefully let it melt so that I’d have a juicy treat at the end. It was like the chocolate at the base of a drumstick cone – the best part. And no mess! You must buy these. Actually, I must buy them too, since the adult me sadly does not own any popsicle-making tools.
I have come bearing a lazy ass way to enjoy fresh blueberries.
STEP 1 Gently wash and “dry” your blue orbs of goodness.
STEP 2 Put them at the bottom of a bowl.
STEP 3 Dump vanilla yogurt on top the berries.
STEP 4 Attack with spoon
(Topping Option: dry cereal on top, like Honey Bunches of Oats or plain granola)
There’s some mighty fine recipes or ways of making desserts outta berries I got in my noggin or in my files, but they require oven or stove use even though a couple of them are cold served that need refrigeration it is just too July right now.
The crumb cake was delicious! The blueberrytinis also included a squeeze of lemon juice and a splash of seltzer to go with a generous dousing of gin. Blend and smile!
Things I do with blueberries:
Whip up a dry rub with dried blueberries and make a bbq sauce with fresh blueberries for the 15 lbs. of ribs I’ll be throwing in the smoker later today.
um i want to know everything about this dry rub situation.
I made the cake today and it was DELICIOUS.
…but I’m assuming you don’t butter or flour the bottom of the pan if you have wax paper?
ok, i DID because Deb of Smitten Kitchen didn’t tell me not to! I don’t know if it matters!
Also though – that’s parchment paper, not wax paper!
Made the crumb cake and it was a hit!!
wooo! do you have a pic?
I made fellow straddler Christine a blueberry pie for her birthday and it was pretty much the best thing ever. Also probably the prettiest natural thing I’ve ever made. (Prettiest unnatural being rainbow cupcakes obvs.)
this is very beautiful.
A lattice top crust, brava madam.
Just made the crumb cake and oh my god. So delicious!
I think about this crumb cake constantly. It’s super good with half cherries, if you constantly overestimate how much you actually like eating cherries and underestimate how many blueberries you’ll eat before getting a chance to bake.