I have been completely taken over with blueberry fever!
Long gone are the days of pale shriveled up Driscol blueberries, that I gladly passed by in those sad looking grocery store displays. I’ve just gotten back from a weekend in Pennsylvania where I sat in the sunshine, ate sweet peaches for breakfast, drank strong italian wine for dinner, cooked up a small feast, indulged myself by doing my all time favorite activity – making a birthday cake for someone I love – and bought these juicy blueberries at a market stand where my mother and I chatted with the owner, drove home, and did nothing but play cards and drink Nespressos all afternoon.
Here, in the City, I find myself strolling through the vibrant market scene in Union Square, and although I tell myself I’ll just steal of few shots on my camera, I never manage to leave empty handed. For the past few weeks those impulse purchases have been pounds of juicy blueberries. Most of the time I eat them by the half pint, straight from the little green or plastic containers they came in, sometimes I even finish them before I even make it back to my apartment, but a few times I’ve actually managed to whip up some summery treats and the results have been very pleasing.
Here I must stop be completely honest and admit that one of these desserts – the berry crisp right above this – was made with TWO beaters as opposed to one. Oh dear, my second post and I’m already cheating. But in my defense I could have easily done it with just one, but given the small amount of time I have in my parents spacious, well stocked kitchen, I can’t resist giving all that fine equipment some loving use.
And while I’ve surely eaten enough blueberries this summer to be blue as a Smurf, I see no need to slow down now, as there are only a few weeks of ripe berries ahead of me. Yes, I assure you the blueberry recipes have just begun!
Blueberry Walnut Streusel Bars
(Recipe thrown lazily together by me on a hot summer day)
For the Crust
- 6 oz Butter, unsalted cold and cut into cubes
- 1 cup Brown Sugar
- 2 cups All-purpose Flour
- 1/2 tsp. Kosher Salt
- 1 cup Walnuts, coarsely chopped
- 16 oz Cream Cheese, at room temperature
- 1 cup Granulated Sugar
- 1/4 tsp Kosher Salt
- 2 Large Eggs
- 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
- 1/2 tsp Lemon Zest
- 1.5 TB Lemon Juice
- 1/4 cup Milk
- 1 pint of ripe juicy blueberries
- Preheat oven to 325 F.
- Make the streusel: combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl and mix with an electric mixer with one or two beaters, until the mixture just starts to come together and looks like sand.
- Fill half of the mixture into a 9×13 baking pan and press it down, coming up on the sides a bit to create a small rim all the way around. Bake this crust for 15 minutes at 325 F.
- Meanwhile make the filling: cream together the cream cheese, salt, and sugar with an electric mixer for about 5 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, then the vanilla. Mix in the lemon juice and zest. Finally add the milk. Scrape the sides of the bowl and mix until homogenous.
- Pour the mixture evenly on top of the partially baked crust. Sprinkle on the blueberries, then crumble the rest of the topping over it. Bake for about 35 minutes until the filling has set.
- Cool completely in the refrigerator before slicing into bars. I find it easier to remove the baked goods from the pan as one sheet and cutting it on a cutting board.