We’ve got the early blues

Cynthia Stone
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These blues are no reason to be sad. They are sweet and juicy and early, and give us every reason to celebrate the last few weeks of summer.

Whether you buy them or pick them, the superior quality of our local blueberries demands our best kitchen efforts. Today’s dishes will work only with fresh berries — save the frozen for the dead of winter.

Blueberry Almond Custard Squares

Sweet and creamy and crunchy and nutty, these treats are best served warm for dessert with a spoonful of whipped cream or a scoop of the best vanilla ice cream. Count on getting 16 delicious servings.


2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/3 cup ground almonds

1/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1/2 tsp. salt

1 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, (no other)


2-1/2 cups fresh blueberries

1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 tbsp. ground almonds

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. nutmeg, freshly grated if possible

1/2 cup whipping cream

2 eggs

2 tsp. vanilla

1/4 tsp. almond extract

For the crust, whisk together flour, ground almonds, brown sugar, granulated sugar and salt. Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter or your fingertips until mixture is crumbly.

Press a little more than half the mixture into the bottom of an ungreased nine-inch square baking pan, reserving the rest for the top. Bake at 350 F for 15 minutes; cool 15 minutes before filling.

Tumble the berries on top of the cooled baked crust and shake the pan gently to even them out. Whisk together brown sugar, granulated sugar, flour, almonds, salt and nutmeg.

Whisk together cream, eggs, vanilla and almond extract. Combine flour and sugar mixture with cream and eggs mixture, whisking until smooth. Pour gently over blueberries in baking pan.

Sprinkle remaining crust mixture evenly on top of custard layer. Bake at 350 F for 30 minutes, until top is golden brown. Cool completely in pan before cutting into squares. Refrigerate any leftovers.

Frozen Blueberry Lemon Yogurt

You can buy frozen yogurt but it won’t hold a candle to this rich confection because of the flavour of the blueberries.

For a spectacular dessert dish, spoon the partially frozen yogurt into a graham cracker pie crust and freeze until solid. Serve with fresh berries on the side.

If you prefer not to use the liqueur in this recipe, substitute lemon juice.

These quantities make lots but cover tightly and it will keep in the freezer for weeks.

If you want to make less you can halve the recipe but then you’re stuck with half a can of sweetened condensed milk in your fridge and how will you resist dipping into it every time you pour a cup of coffee?

4 cups full-fat plain Greek yogurt

1 can sweetened condensed milk

2 tbsp. Limoncello or other lemon liqueur

1/2 cup good quality blueberry jam

4 cups fresh blueberries

Combine yogurt, condensed milk and liqueur. Drop the jam in small spoonfuls all over the top of the yogurt mixture.

Add the blueberries and stir very gently to distribute the berries and to pull the jam through — you aren’t going for a homogenous mixture but rather a white base with streaks of jam and berries.

Pour into a 13 by 9-inch dish and freeze about six hours.

Blueberry Crumble

This is the best crumble you will ever taste. It will seem, when you’re making it, like there isn’t a lot of top crust. That’s on purpose so the blueberries can take the starring role.

It also helps to prevent too much liquid from pooling at the bottom.

1/2 cup sugar

1 tbsp. cornstarch

1/4 tsp. salt

5 cups fresh blueberries


2/3 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup large-cut old-fashioned rolled oats

1/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

1/2 tsp. each cinnamon and ground cardamom

6 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

Whisk together sugar, cornstarch and salt and toss lightly with blueberries to coat them evenly. Pour into an 8-inch square baking dish.

Stir together flour, rolled oats, sugar, cinnamon and cardamom until mixture is thoroughly combined.

Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter or your fingertips to get a crumbly mixture. Don’t overwork the crumbs because you want large clumps so they crisp up in the oven. They should be about the size of the biggest blueberries you have.

Sprinkle the crumble mixture evenly over the top of the blueberries.

It won’t completely cover the base and that’s the way it should be.

Bake at 375 F for 30 minutes. Allow to cool on a rack 30 minutes before serving. If you don’t let the crumble sit for the full half-hour, it will be too loose.

Serve with vanilla ice cream or a big scoop of blueberry frozen yogurt.

Cynthia Stone is a writer, editor and teacher in St. John’s. Questions may be sent to her c/o The Telegram, P.O. Box 86, St. John’s, NL, A1E 4N1.

Organizations: The Telegram

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