Supermarkets and farmer's markets are usually overflowing with fresh berries this time of year. More often than not supermarkets are offering "buy one pint get one free" deals when berries are plentiful so it's a great time to stock up.
I will usually use one pint and freeze the other-as is-not washed. I wash them once I thaw them since when frozen wet ice crystals often form on the berries and once thawed they do not seem to work as well for baking recipes. If you do prefer to wash them first (which I'll admit I sometimes do just so I can eat them frozen right from the freezer) just be sure to let them dry completely before trying to freeze them.
Tonight is my book group meeting and I wanted to bring something sweet along.
We're reading: Summer Blowout by Claire Cook (Of "Must Love Dogs" fame). It's a cute beach novel-great vacation read. We are reading it because one of the members of my book group: "The Women Not in Need of Botox Book group" was fortunate enough to win an essay contest and won signed copies of the book for all the club members and a phone interview with Claire at our book club meeting. I'm not sure what she wrote to win, but I'm told there was some mention of an unfortunate incident last summer when I had a bat land in my often "bat's nest looking head of hair" and then it bit my wrist when I swatted it away. Not to worry, I have since had a complete series of rabies shots - so if I should find myself face to face with a rabid raccoon I'm ready. But I digress. Blueberry-Orange bars are what I came up with as a refreshing "Summer Blowout" treat.
1 1/4 cups plus 3 tablespoons flour
1/3 cup confectioner's sugar plus additional for dusting
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon orange zest
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into tablespoons
2 tablespoon sour cream
1/2 teaspoon orange extract
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 large egg yolks
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1 cup fresh (not frozen) blueberries
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray a 9x9 inch baking dish with non-stick spray. Fill a large bowl halfway up with ice cubes and water.
Combine 1 1/4 cups of the flour, the confectioner's sugar and 1 teaspoon of the orange zest in a food processor. Add the butter, sour cream and orange extract; pulse until the mixture comes together in a ball.
With lightly floured hands, press the dough into the baking dish. Use a small rolling pin if you have one or use an orange to roll the dough into an even layer. Bake in the center of the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned on the edges.
Meanwhile, in a medium sized sauce pan whisk together the sugar, salt, egg yolks, milk, remaining orange zest and the orange juice; cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until slightly thickened about 8 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and place the pot into the bowl with ice water stirring until cooled. Stir in the blueberries.
Pour the the blueberry mixture into the partially cooked crust and bake for an additional 25-30 minutes or until custard is firm and edges are golden brown. Cool in the refrigerator. When completely cooled, cut into squares and dust lightly with confectioner's sugar.
Yield: 16 squares