I have a confession to make. I’ve been kind of holding out on you guys just a little bit, and the guilt is too much for me to take anymore. You see, the last time my mom came to visit, she brought with her the most prodigious amount of peaches and blueberries from my favorite orchard back in CT.
I completely swooned over this mountain of produce, and immediately started divvying up the goods: some for eating, some for baking, some for cooking…and then the race was on between me and the heat of my kitchen ripening the fruit. Who would win?
Well I did, and I just can’t keep the results to myself anymore. The first thing I knew I wanted to make was a crumble or crisp of some kind. Something simple that would let the natural sweetness and flavor of the berries really shine.
I also wanted a hint of tang, so I decided on a blueberry lemon crumble, baked in ramekins. I really should bake things in ramekins more often, individual desserts are so much fun.
Anyway, this crumble fit the bill exactly and really hit the spot. The lemon complemented the blueberries perfectly, and the crumble topping added texture and just a touch more sugar. And butter. But you can never have too much of that, right?
Blueberry Lemon Crumble
Adapted from The Pastry Affair
Makes 4 individual servings
¼ cup whole wheat or all-purpose flour
¼ cup rolled oats
2 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, cold and cubed
zest of 1 lemon
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 ½ cups blueberries, fresh or frozen
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, rolled oats, and brown sugar. Add the cold, cubed butter and, using your fingers, mush the butter into the flour until the whole mixture resembles coarse sand and holds together when squeezed. Set aside.
In another bowl, combine the lemon zest, lemon juice, sugar, and blueberries and toss.
Divide blueberries equally between four ramekins. Sprinkle the oatmeal topping evenly over each. Place ramekins on a baking sheet in case the crumbles overflow and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until topping is browned and the crumbles are bubbly and fragrant. Let cool for ten minutes before serving (the fruit will be very hot). The crumbles may also be enjoyed at room temperature or chilled (or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream).
This wonderful loaf of bread keeps in line with yesterday’s theme of combining two different kinds of baked good together. Today, instead of cupcake on cookie action, we’ve got granola swirled and baked inside a loaf of bread.
I first attempted this loaf while still in college. Back then, my knowledge of yeast wasn’t as large as it is now, and I used rapid rise instead of active dry. This resulted in a dense dough that was extremely difficult to knead and didn’t cook through in the middle. The bread turned out rather hard to cut, and eating it was great exercise for my jaw.
Nevertheless, I enjoyed every slice of it. You can imagine my joy at making it this time with the correct type of yeast. The dough was soft and malleable, and the resulting bread was fluffy and delicious.
But let’s not forget about that granola swirl. I can’t seem to get enough of carbs. Using maple syrup, brown sugar and dried blueberries as sweeteners, the granola is amazingly tasty in its own right, and I wish I had made a double batch to keep some around for snacking.
Maybe I’ll go do that now. Whether you make extra granola or not, this loaf of bread is sure to please. The added sweetness from the granola makes this a great snacking bread, as well as a good candidate for bread pudding or french toast.
Maple Blueberry Granola Swirl Bread
Adapted from Sugar Plum
Makes one very large 9×5” loaf*
For the bread:
1 cup warm milk, divided (100°-110°F)
1 tsp+ ½ cup sugar
2 ¼ tsp (1 packet) active dry yeast
4 Tbsp melted unsalted butter, divided use
3 large eggs, at room temperature, divided use
4 Tbsp pure maple syrup, divided use
1 ¼ tsp salt, divided use
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups bread flour
2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour (or you can use all all-purpose)
For the granola:
¼ cup packed brown sugar
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ cup finely chopped pecans
2/3 cup old fashioned oats
1/3 cup sweetened dried blueberries
First make the dough. In a large bowl, mix together ½ cup warm milk, 1 tsp sugar and yeast until combined and let sit for 10 minutes or until it’s all foamy. Add 2 Tbsp melted butter, additional ½ cup milk, ½ cup sugar, 2 eggs, 3 Tbsp maple syrup, 1 tsp salt and vanilla to yeast mixture and mix until well combined. Mix in bread flour and all-purpose flour until combined and the dough comes together. Remove the dough from the bowl and knead for 5 minutes on a lightly floured surface, adding flour as necessary to keep the dough from being too sticky. Place in a large mixing bowl lightly covered with cooking spray and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm area for 1-2 hours or until doubled in bulk.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line a small cookie sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Coat the insides of a 9x5x3 inch loaf pan with cooking spray. *I would advise you to prepare two loaf pans if you can. My loaf ended up being so large I had to form it into an “s” shape to fit it into the pan (see photo above). Next time, I’ll make two smaller loaves.
Next make the granola. In a medium bowl, whisk together 1 Tbsp melted butter, the last 1 Tbsp maple syrup, additional ¼ tsp salt, brown sugar and cinnamon until well combined. Stir in pecans and oats until combined. Evenly spread the mixture onto prepared cookie sheet. Bake for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until granola is fragrant and golden brown. Transfer to a medium bowl and stir in blueberries until combined.
On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into an 11×15 inch rectangle. Brush dough with remaining Tbsp melted butter. Sprinkle granola evenly on top, leaving a 1/2” border. Starting at one end, roll the dough up jelly roll style, pinch and tuck ends under, and place in loaf pan. Lightly cover with plastic wrap and allow dough to rise 1 hour, or until doubled in bulk.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Whisk remaining egg together with a Tbsp of water and evenly brush on the surface of dough. Bake for 20 minutes, cover with foil, and bake an additional 35-40 minutes or until internal temperature of bread reaches 180 degrees F and the bottom sounds hollow when tapped. Cool pan on a wire rack for 20 minutes before removing bread to a wire rack to cool completely.
Oh July, I’m going to be honest with you. There is only one reason that allows me to tolerate your ridiculous heat and humidity, and that is blueberry season.
It seems like every year I’ve found myself in the midst of blueberry patch, the ever familiar “plunk” as the berries hit the bottom of my container a symphony of summertime joy.
The joy could also be from my mouthful of ripe berries, too delicious to even make it into my basket. Blueberries have always been my favorite berry; both bite sized and devoid of hard seeds that lodge themselves in my teeth.
Yep, blueberries have it all. A baked good containing blueberries will always make me swoon, but this one stands above all others. Call it nostalgia, call it sentimentality. I just happen to think my mom makes a damn good blueberry coffee cake.
I’m not alone in the sentiment. She entered it last fall in the local fair, and it won a first place ribbon. Of course I’ve known it was a winner since the first time I tried it, and have loved it ever since. I’m so glad to be able to share the recipe with all of you, it’s quite simple, and the results are incredible.
Mom’s Blueberry Coffee Cake
Recipe via My Mom
Makes one 9” or (7×11”) square pan
¾ cup sugar
¼ cup (half a stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 large egg
½ cup milk
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
2 cups fresh or thawed frozen blueberries
For the crumb topping:
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ cup (half a stick) unsalted butter, cold and cut into pieces
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a 9” or 7×11” baking pan and set aside. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then add the egg and milk and stir to combine. Sift in dry ingredients; the batter will be stiff. Fold in blueberries. Spread the batter into the prepared pan.
To make the crumb topping, combine first three ingredients in a medium bowl and whisk to combine. Massage the butter pieces into the mixture with your fingertips until clumps the size of peas start to form. Sprinkle the topping over the batter, making sure it is evenly covered. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 20-25 minutes or until crust is a deep, golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Transfer to wire rack and allow to cool completely. This coffee cake is best enjoyed at room temperature and will keep in an air-tight container for up to a week.