I hold blueberries very dear; their impact on my fervid adolescence burns as bright as their indigo hue. Oh, those dreamy ambles at the Catskills’ Spring Lake Hotel plucking swollen berries from roadside bushes, the air lush with pine and the anticipation of asking heart-throb waiter Gary to pour cream over my labor’s bounty. (Cue plaintive sigh.) Well, Spring Lake may be as obsolete as my adolescence, long-lost Gary and I well into middle age, but blueberries are forever.
They can still be plucked on country roads, or at pick-your-own places like Dutchess County’s Fishkill Farms (fishkill farms.com). Or just pluck them right off our greenmarket tables. Then get them home and indulge: ice cream, pancakes, smoothies, and muffins all await. You’ll be indulging your health as well; blueberries seethe with vitamin C, fiber, and antioxidants, and research shows they help improve memory (put them on your shopping list now, before…you know).
These days, they’re always on Chef Lisa Moir’s list. At her ice creamery The Blue Pig (121 Maple St, Croton on Hudson 914-271-3850; thebluepig icecream.com), blueberries and vanilla ice cream are August’s power couple, their color and flavor romance-tabloid worthy. In the spotlight: Moir’s local-dairy-sourced, house-made ice cream crowning her berry compote or blueberry crisp. “I love the contrast of the dark, warm, juicy crisp with the white, cool ice cream,” says this berry expert, who spent girlhood summers working on a New Jersey fruit farm. Her crisp is a weekend special, but any leftovers get their own star turn: “We fold it right into the ice cream for a next-day treat,” she says. Now, that’s worth its own sigh; nothing plaintive about it.
Courtesy of Lisa Moir, The Blue Pig
5 pints fresh blueberries, preferably local
1 cup white sugar
1 cup plus 3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
¾ cup oats (quick or rolled)
2 tsp cinnamon
10 Tbsp salted butter, at room temperature
Preheat oven to 375°F. Butter a 9” x 13” pan. Rinse blueberries in a colander, removing any stems. Pour berries into pan and gently stir in white sugar, 3 tablespoons of flour, and lemon juice.
In a medium bowl, stir together remaining cup of flour, brown sugar, oats, and cinnamon. Drop butter into mixture in 1-inch pieces, using your fingers to thoroughly incorporate until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Put 3 to 4 tablespoons of the mixture into one hand and squeeze tightly, then drop it in pieces over the blueberries in the pan (the pieces will vary in size). Continue to drop the crumb topping pieces evenly over berries until used up.
Bake crisp in lower third of oven for 40 to 45 minutes, until topping is golden brown (if needed, cover crisp loosely with foil for final 15 minutes to prevent further browning). Crisp is done when bubbling occurs around edges and in middle. Leftovers can be folded into softened vanilla ice cream.