Fresh Blueberry Pancakes….If you make them, they will love you.

Fresh Blueberry Pancakes

Weekends are for lounging and yummy brunches.

Mimosas…..eggs benedict….pastries…..home fries……and pancakes.

Like these blueberry pancakes. Pancakes so dreamily fluffy and delicious that you’ll be thinking about them all week. Which is ok really because if you make a double batch, you can freeze the extras and enjoy them any time you want.

Fresh Blueberry Pancakes

My neighborhood store had a fantastic sale this past weekend on sweet, organic blueberries. As a result, I walked away with 10 pints of them. Excessive? Eh, not so much. Particularly since blueberries also freeze beautifully! After you wash and dry them, lay them in a single layer on a cookie sheet in the freezer. Once the berries freeze, transfer them to freezer lock bags and you’ll have delish berries at your disposal. If you don’t take this extra step, your berries will be frozen together in one huge clump—and that’s no bueno.

As for these pancakes, if you don’t have blueberries on hand, you can pretty much chop up most fruits to substitute them with. Bananas and mangoes are two of my favorites to rely on but chocolate chips are also amazing in the batter, too.

Moral of the Story: You must make these this weekend. Your family with love you. Your friends will love you. Heck—even your neighbors who will smell these pancakes will also love you.

And that is just too much Love to pass up on <3

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Blueberry Pancakes
From Cooks Illustrated
Makes approximately 16 pancakes

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 cups milk
2 cups (10 oz) unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 cup fresh blueberries or frozen blueberries, rinsed and dried

Whisk the lemon juice and milk together in a measuring cup. Set aside while you prepare the other ingredients. (Alternatively, you can use 2 cups of buttermilk in place of the milk/lemon juice.)

In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt together. Add the egg and melted butter to the milk and whisk to combine. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and whisk gently just until combined (the batter will be lumpy, that’s fine).

Heat 1 teaspoon of the oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet set over medium heat. Once the oil starts shimmering, use paper towels to wipe the pan so only a thin, even coating of oil covers the bottom and sides. Use a 1/4 cup measure to portion the batter into the pan. Top each pancake with about 1 tablespoon of blueberries. Cook on the first side until the edges are set and bubbles form on the surface, about 2 minutes. Use a spatula to flip the pancakes and cook for 1-2 minutes on the second side, or until golden brown and cooked through. Repeat with remaining batter, adding the rest of the oil to the pan if necessary.

Fresh Fruit Tart with Pastry Cream

Fresh Fruit Tart with Pastry Cream

My cousin, T, recently graduated from optometry school.

And to be honest, it kind of trips me out. I still remember him following me and his sister around when he was a kid and now he’s all grown up and taking care of people’s eyeballs.

Yup, I said “eyeballs“. :)

Fresh Fruit Tart with Pastry Cream

For T’s graduation party, I gave him a few options of desserts to choose from for me to make. He chose a fruit tart which worked out great for me since I had been wanting to try out this pastry cream recipe for some time now. It came together beautifully—silky, rich, and delicious. And since it’s so easy to pull together, I turned to Alice Medrich’s  recipe for a shortbread-like tart crust. Buttery goodness!

Fresh Fruit Tart with Pastry Cream

And not only was this tart delicious but it’s quite a looker, too! :)

Have a great week, Friends!

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Fresh Fruit Tart with Pastry Cream
Makes one 10-inch tart

Ingredients:

Pastry Cream (America’s Test Kitchen):
2 Cups Half-and-Half
½ Cup Sugar
Pinch Salt
5 Large Egg Yolks
3 Tablespoon Cornstarch
4 Tablespoon Cold Unsalted Butter, cut into 4 pieces
1½ Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

Crust (From Alice Medrich):
8 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, melted
¼ Cup Sugar
1/8 Teaspoon Salt
¾ Teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract
1 Cup All Purpose Flour

Topping:
Fresh Blueberries
Fresh Raspberries
Fresh Blackberries
Kiwis, peeled and sliced
½ Cup Apple Jelly

Prepare the pastry cream. Bring the half-and-half, 6 tablespoons of the sugar, and the salt to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium high heat, stirring occasionally. As the half-and-half mixture begins to simmer, whisk the egg yolks, cornstarch, and remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar together in a medium bowl until smooth. Slowly whisk about 1 cup of the simmering half-and-half mixture into the yolks to temper, then slowly whisk the tempered yolks back into the simmering saucepan. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, whisking vigorously, until the mixture is thickened and a few bubbles burst on the surface, about 30 seconds. Off the heat, stir in the butter and vanilla. Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl, lay a sheet of plastic wrap directly on the surface, and refrigerate the pastry cream until chilled and firm, about 3 hours.

While the pastry cream chills, repare the crust. Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Mix the butter, sugar, salt, and vanilla in a medium bowl with a fork. Add the flour and mix just until well blended with a pastry blender or a large fork. Don’t worry if the dough seems too soft. Press all of the dough very thinly and evenly into the sides and bottom of an 10-inch tart pan. If it seems like the butter is getting too oily and it’s becoming difficult to manipulate the dough, simply put it in the fridge for a few minutes, it’ll become easier to handle. Using a fork, prick the dough all over the bottom and sides. Place a large piece of parchment paper on top of dough and fill with pie weights or dry beans. Press weights to the edges of dough and bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove parchment and weights and continue baking until deeply golden in color, approximately 10 minutes longer. Remove from oven and place on cooling rack.

To assemble, spread the chilled pastry cream evenly over the bottom of the cooled tart shell. Shingle the kiwis around the edge, then a row of blackberries, then raspberries, and finally pile the blueberries in the center. Melt the jelly in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally to smooth out any lumps. Using a pastry brush, dab the melted jelly over the fruit. Enjoy!

Pavlovas: A Guest Post at The Ravenous Couple

Pavlova with Fresh Berries

 

One of the best things that has occurred by writing this blog has been connecting with some of the most talented food writers from around the world. Thanks to the internet, I have made friends around the globe who are so incredibly creative that one just can’t help but be inspired.

One of my regular sources of inspiration comes from The Ravenous Couple. You simply must head over there if you haven’t seen their delicious creations yet. Through mouthwatering dishes and beautiful photography, Kim and Hong highlight all of the wonderful flavors of Vietnamese cuisine.

I am honored to be among a group of guest bloggers who will be posting over at The Ravenous Couple while the lovely pair takes some time off to get hitched :)

Just in time for the Fourth of July holiday, I offer individual Pavlovas with Fresh Berries. Not only are these pavlovas delicious but they are sure to impress your guests at any Independence Day shindig! For the recipe and information about my pavlovas, click  here to their site.

Thanks for reading!

Blueberry-Meyer Lemon Bundt Cake

My dear co-worker’s birthday was coming up and as her assigned “birthday buddy”, I was in charge of bringing in a cake to our staff meeting to celebrate her fabulousness. Since I knew she had a chocolate cake for her festivities at home, I was sure that I wanted to bake her something sans-chocolate. Lucky for me, our Meyer Lemon tree was filled with ripe lemons for the picking so I opted for a fruit-citrus cake.

I turned to my gal, Martha Stewart, for some inspiration. Since our staff meetings are in the morning, I opted for a bundt cake that makes you feel better about eating sweets in the morning since it “looks” more “breakfast-like”. I know…not really–but work with me here :)

I settled on Martha’s Blueberry Lemon Bundt Cake, with of course, a few tweaks. For the batter, I added fresh meyer lemon juice to kick up the bright citrus flavor. I also thought the cake was a bit “naked” and created a light glaze to cover the tops. Incidentally, I hadn’t greased the pan thoroughly so the glaze acted as the perfect “cover up” to my imperfections. Also, if you don’t have fresh blueberries, use frozen ones like I did. Just be sure not to defrost them before use—just toss the frozen ones directly with the zest and flour before folding into the batter. :)

A few quick suggestions to a successful cake:

  1. Generously and THOROUGHLY cover your bundt pan with cooking spray. I thought I had but clearly I hadn’t done enough when I inverted the cake later. Yikes!
  2. It’s really important to cool the cake in the pan for some time. Trying to flip it too early could cause tears and sticking since the cake hasn’t fully set yet.
  3. I used Meyer Lemons in my recipe which may vary if you use regular lemons. Meyer lemons tend to be juicier and less tart than the more commonly found ones, so adjust accordingly to your preference.
  4. If you glaze the bundt cake, be sure to wait until the cake has fully cooled or the glaze will soak into the cake versus “glazing” it.

Overall, I think the birthday gal and my co-workers enjoyed the cake. The citrus gave a light flavor which was further accented by the berries. The sour cream also assisted in the moist texture. Next time you’re looking for an alternative to a chocolate cake, give this Lemon Bundt Cake a try :)

After creaming the butter and sugars.

Tossing the blueberries with zest and flour.

Inverting the bundt cake. EEKS! Clearly, not enough cooking spray!

No problem–that’s where glazes act as a tasty cover up to any imperfections!

 

 

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Blueberry-Meyer Lemon Bundt Cake
Adapted from Martha Stewart

Ingredients

For Cake:
2½ Cups All-Purpose Flour, plus 1 teaspoon for blueberries and zest
2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
½ Teaspoon Salt
1 Cup Unsalted Butter, room temperature
1 Cup packed Light-Brown Sugar
1 Cup Granulated Sugar
4 Large Eggs
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
2 Tablespoons Meyer Lemon Juice
1 Cup Sour Cream
2 Cups Blueberries
2 Tablespoons Grated Meyer Lemon Zest
Nonstick cooking spray, for pan

For Glaze:
¼ Cup Meyer Lemon Juice
2 Cups Confectioner’s Sugar (*add more for thicker glaze)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, whisk 2 1/2 cups flour with baking powder and salt; set aside.

In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugars on high speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until incorporated. Beat in vanilla and lemon juice. Reduce speed to low; add flour mixture in three additions, alternating with two additions of sour cream.

In a bowl, toss blueberries and zest with remaining teaspoon flour; gently fold into batter. Coat a 12-cup nonstick Bundt pan with cooking spray. Spread batter in prepared pan.

Bake cake on bottom rack of oven until a toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean, 60 to 70 minutes. Cool in pan 20 minutes. Invert onto a rack; cool completely, top side up.

While cake is cooling, whisk lemon juice and confectioner sugar to create glaze. Mix until all the sugar has dissolved and there are no longer lumps. When the cake has completely cooled, drizzle glaze over the cake.

Serve and enjoy!