I don’t know what it is about the humble berry, but it has inspired some curiously named desserts: blueberry buckle, blueberry grunt, blueberry boy bait, and — no foolin’ — the berry fool. (Not certain where the name came from — the all-seeing Googles is vague about its origin.)
(Whenever I hear blueberry grunt, I want to let out a football player [guuuh!] and slap something with my spatula.)
Nothing foolish about the blueberry fool, no sir. Freshly whipped cream, lightly sweetened and vanilla scented, is streaked — and topped — with a Grand Marnier-spiked blueberry sauce. A light and airy treat for these dog days of summer.
Back in late spring, I miraculously remembered to freeze several quarts of fresh, local blueberries in the midst of a mad-pitched blueberry frenzy (as always occurs — berry season is short but ever so sweet — it’s every girl for herself at the farm stand (the elbowing was accidental, I swear)).
A mere few minutes of washing, sorting, and packing means weird-named blueberry desserts any time I want. Yay, blueberry fool! Yay, for food preserving!
And now, back to my tomato canning. The Farmers’ Almanac recently released their winter prediction for 2012/13: the eastern half of the country can expect a cold, snow-filled winter. Thick, savory sauce tasting of fresh, sun-kissed tomatoes will be required for the sanity maintenance of this summer girl.
for the blueberry sauce:
1 1/2 heaping cups blueberries (fresh or frozen)
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon orange juice
1/2 teaspoon orange zest
1 tablespoon Grand Marnier (optional
1 teaspoon candied ginger
1 teaspoon vanilla
for the whipped cream:
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla
Prepare the blueberry sauce: Place all sauce ingredients in a small pot and heat over medium until lightly simmering and bubbly (about 6-8 minutes). Remove from heat, transfer to a small bowl and allow to cool completely. Refrigerate for an hour, if you have the time (recommended).
Prepare the whipped cream: In a large bowl, beat the heavy cream with an electric mixer on medium until the cream begins to thicken (if preparing the whipped cream a stand mixer, use the whisk attachment). Add the sugar and vanilla and continue beating the cream until soft peaks form when you lift the beaters (or whisk) from the whipped cream.*
Assemble: Gently fold 1/2 cup of the cooled sauce into the whipped cream a few turns. Add another 1/2 cup and continue folding until the whipped cream is streaked to your liking with the blueberry sauce.
Spoon into parfait glasses. Divide the remaining blueberry sauce as a topping on the whipped cream. Serve immediately or refrigerate for use later the same day.
*Note: this is my quirky preference entirely, but I actually continue whipping the cream until it’s juuuust on the edge of moving into butter territory (for whipped cream experts, this is when the cream becomes spoonably thick, almost spongy – just before it starts breaking down into the globs and crags that lead to butter, but still bright white). When refrigerated, the result is almost soft serve ice cream, only lighter and airier. Irresistible.