Blueberries lend themselves to all manner of summertime treats with crazy names: blueberry buckle, blueberry cobbler, blueberry crumble, blueberry crisp, blueberry grunt and, my new-found favourite, blueberry Betty. Like all Brown Betty’s the fruit is sweetened then layered with bread cubes tossed in a rich sugary butter sauce. The juicy blueberries burst during the oven time producing a soft, jammy, luscious old-fashioned dessert. I used the wild blueberries that grow along the edges of my pastures. If you can’t find fresh wild blueberries, look in the freezer department at your local super market for frozen wild blueberries. They’ll work perfectly, but may need a little more time in the oven. As for the bread cubes, I used old hot dog buns. They’d been in the freezer a while so I wanted to get rid of them. After thawing them, I cut off the crusts and cubed them up. They worked like a charm. Use whatever bread you have, keeping in mind the bread’s flavouring. White bread is probably best. Finally, I served my blueberry Betty with a dollop of homemade crème fraiche…
This past weekend we hosted friends for dinner. I planned on serving zucchini fritters with crème fraiche. I’d never made crème fraiche before, but how hard could it be? You stir a couple of tablespoons of buttermilk into a cup of whipping cream and leave it on the counter for a day. After twenty-four hours, it was still liquid. Ugh! I checked my ingredients; both good. What could have happened? I scoured the internet for crème fraiche recipes to see what had happened. Recipe after recipe gave me the same instructions until finally I came across, ‘make sure the buttermilk and cream are at room temperature’. Of course! My fridge is really cold which in turn means my dairy is really cold. Instead of taking twenty-four hours, it took two days! Luckily, I had commercial sour cream on hand for the zucchini fritters and saved the crème fraiche for my blueberry Betty.
I’ve been dying to share my latest culinary adventure with you. The board of director’s of The Union Club have hired me to create a new menu for their dining room. Board member, Bob McVicar, contacted me months ago about ‘tweaking’ the existing menu. After a short discussion, nothing more was said. Fast forward to July, my phone rings, “Hi Michelle, it’s Bob. We want you to give us a new menu.”
So, my last month has been filled with designing a menu worthy of this legendary Saint John landmark – NO PRESSURE! The menu, inspired by traditional honest food with a contemporary twist, is finished. Now, I’m up to my eyeballs in recipe development which is why you haven’t heard from me as often as usual. Once the master recipes are complete, I’ll be in the kitchen with the Union Club’s kitchen team preparing to launch their new menu… so exciting!
Preheat oven 350*F
- 4 cups white bread cubes ½ inch size
- ¾ cup melted butter
- ¼ cup white sugar
- 2 cups fresh or frozen wild blueberries
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- ½ cup brown sugar
- Toss the bread cubes with the melted butter and white sugar.
- Sprinkle the berries with lemon juice and brown sugar.
- Using a 9 inch pie plate or casserole dish, alternate the bread cubes and blueberries.
- Bake for 30 minutes – the fruit should be bubbly.
- Serve warm with whipped cream or crème fraiche.
Thanks for reading.