When is a bargain, not really a bargain? When you buy a bunch of blueberries on sale without a clear plan on what to do with them. Don’t get me wrong, two (6 oz) containers for a dollar is a great deal. However, if they spoil before you use them, you wasted a bunch of money. So I spent the better part of the week trying to come up with a bunch of cool things to do with blueberries. My first experiment was making a blueberry-lemon infused vodka with my ISI cream whipper. It turned out well, but I did not use enough of the blueberries.
So for my second project, I decided to experiment with cold-oil spherification. This is the instant gelling of a liquid mixed with agar agar and dropped in cold oil to produce spheres or “caviar.”
Blueberry – Lime Caviar
3/4 cup Blueberry Juice
1/4 cup Lime Juice
2 grams Agar Agar
In a medium-sized saucepan, add the blueberry juice, lime juice, and agar agar. Blend with immersion blender until agar agar is dissolved and heat until boiling. Using a squeeze bottle, slowly drip the juice mixture into a tall glass of very cold, neutral tasting oil. You are going to have to experiment with the amount of juice mixture and the distance you pour the juice mixture from in order to get the size caviar you want. Strain the caviar using a slotted spoon and rinse with cold water.
Infusing vodka and making “caviar” with the blueberries was cool, but I needed to make something traditional for my third project. How about a blueberry crumbcake? Since I am not a really a baker, I decided to use a really cool recipe from Ina Garten
For the streusel:
* 1/4 cup granulated sugar
* 1/3 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
* 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
* 1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
* 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
For the cake:
* 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature (3/4 stick)
* 3/4 cup granulated sugar
* 2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
* 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
* 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
* 2/3 cup sour cream
* 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
* 1 teaspoon baking powder
* 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
* 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
* 1 cup fresh blueberries
* Confectioners’ sugar for sprinkling
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour a 9-inch round baking pan.
For the streusel:
Combine the granulated sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a bowl. Stir in the melted butter and then the flour. Mix well and set aside.
For the cake:
Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on high speed for 4 to 5 minutes, until light. Reduce the speed to low and add the eggs 1 at a time, then add the vanilla, lemon zest, and sour cream. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture to the batter until just combined. Fold in the blueberries and stir with a spatula to be sure the batter is completely mixed.
Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and spread it out with a knife. With your fingers, crumble the topping evenly over the batter. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool completely and serve sprinkled with confectioners’ sugar.
Can I tell you, this was one great crumb cake.. My friend Stan, would be proud. You might ask what I did with the rest of the blueberries? I decided to flash freeze them using dry ice. Can I tell you how much fun that was. Enjoy!
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