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Baking with blueberries

My husband is producing so many blueberries we cannot eat them fast enough. This may be our best year so far. So it is a good thing they are good for you. We are eating them three times a day. Dessert at every meal.

They are available in the markets now, but it is nice to have them at home. Plant several varieties and have them ripening early and late so as to prolong the season. And be sure to get varieties suitable for the South. Plant Southern highbush or Rabbiteye (which are taller and wider than highbush and easier to establish). They take a couple years to get started producing well. They should be mulched with tree leaves so as to help keep the soil acidic. They are not bothered much by pests but today I had to pick several caterpillars off which were defoliating the plants. Every year is different.

Blueberries are low in calories and high in nutrients. They have only 80 calories per cup so you can eat a lot of them. They are the king of antioxidant foods. They may lower blood pressure. They can reduce DNA damage and protect against ageing and cancer. Blueberries can also protect cholesterol in the blood from becoming damaged.

Blueberries are soft and wonderful to eat with or without cream. Cereal topped with blueberries, or pancakes with blueberries are a treat for breakfast. Blueberry muffins right out of the oven are irresistible and a blueberry pie or cobbler is out of this world.

So give this blueberry pie a try. It is delicious!

 

From the City Magazine of Charleston, June 2018.

Blueberry Cheese Pie

Serves 8

For the blueberry topping:

¾ lb. fresh blueberries (about 2 cups)

½ cup sugar (or more to taste)

2 tsp. fresh lemon juice

 

Combine the blueberries, sugar, and lemon juice in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer the mixture for about 15 minutes, until the berries burst and a sauce forms that is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Transfer to a heatproof container, cool to room temperature, cover, and refrigerate.

 

For the pie crust:

1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs

½ cup finely chopped pecans

¼ tsp. cinnamon

5 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Combine the graham cracker crumbs, pecans, cinnamon, and melted butter in a medium bowl and stir to incorporate. Transfer the mixture to an eight-inch pie pan and press it out evenly on the bottom and up the sides. Bake the crust for five minutes. Remove and cool to room temperature.

 

For the cheese filling:

16 oz. Philadelphia cream cheese, room temperature

½ cup sour cream

¼ cup heavy cream

½ tsp. pure vanilla extract

½ cup sugar (or more to taste)

2 tsp. fresh lemon juice

Combine the cream cheese, sour cream, heavy cream, vanilla extract, sugar, and lemon juice in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large mixing bowl using a hand mixture, and mix until they are incorporated and the mixture is creamy and smooth.

Pour the filling unto the pie pan and smooth the top flat. Spoon the chilled blueberry mixture on top. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to firm up before serving. The pie will keep for two days in the refrigerator.