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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Desserts from the farm

Sunday, May 13, 2012

(Submitted photo)
Every year my family vacations in August at a cottage in Muskegon, Mich., along the shore of Lake Michigan. Western Michigan's beaches are beautiful with the sand and fresh water rolling in with no jellyfish or crabs or sharks to worry about so it's great for swimming. One of the highlights, though it's going to the farmers' market. The sandy soil is perfect for growing fruit -- strawberries, cherries, apples, apricots -- and in August its blueberries. Plump and delicious, we buy 5 pound boxes to eat and freeze. They're good in fruit salads, muffins, pancakes and in cereal (in fact one of my parents' friends takes frozen blueberries to Florida for his cereal each morning in the winter!).

But blueberries are a star in desserts. My grandmother used to make the most beautiful and delicious blueberry pies when we were up there in the summer. Now we make blueberry crisp.

There is a whole family of desserts -- cobblers, crisps, brown Bettys, buckles, pandowdys -- that are different combinations of fruit and dough. There is some debate over exact names and recipes but here is a general consensus. A cobbler is fruit topped with a crust and baked. The crust can be pastry or biscuit (cut biscuits look like cobblestones, hence the name). Crisps are a fruit mixture with a streusel type topping of butter, flour and sugar and can include nuts or oats. In brown Betty, soft breadcrumbs are used and are layered with the fruit rather than just scattered on top. Buckles fold fruit into a cake batter (or sprinkle the fruit on top) and then it is covered with a streusel topping. The cake batter will "buckle" as it bakes. Pandowdy is a rolled crust over fruit that is broken up to allow the juices to soak into it.

As you go to the market this spring and summer look for a variety of fruits to use throughout the season as well as to freeze for use later in the winter. Strawberries and raspberries are coming in now and soon the cherries, peaches and blueberries will be in. Finally the plums, pears and apples will be ready for some great fall cobblers or crisps.

This blueberry crisp recipe makes a really easy dessert for a family dinner or to take to a potluck (just be ready to hand out the recipe!). You can use fresh blueberries in season or frozen ones when they are out and more expensive.

For more ideas on using seasonal produce, visit the Bedford County Extension website https://utextension.tennessee.edu/bedfor...

The Seasonal Eating Cooking Demonstration on Farmers' Market Desserts will be held on Wednesday, May 16 at 12:00 noon at the Extension Office. Call the Extension Office at 684-5971 to sign up and bring $5 to cover the samples.

Blueberry crisp

3 pints blueberries

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup flour

1/4 + 1/8 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

3 teaspoons lemon juice

2 1/4 cups flour

1/4 + 1/8 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup sugar

1 cup butter, melted

1 cup pecans, chopped

In a large bowl combine blueberries, sugar, flour, salt, cinnamon and lemon juice. Pour into a greased 9x13 inch pan. In another bowl combine flour, salt, sugar, butter and pecans into a crumbly mixture. Sprinkle over the blueberries. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes.

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Whitney Danhof
Seasonal Eating
Whitney Danhof is with the University of Tennessee Extension in Shelbyville.

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