Posts Tagged ‘blueberry’

DB November – Chocolate Fruit Crostata


So how did it go, everyone?

Lots of family, friends, and love? Some turkey with stuffing?  Mashed goodness? Sweet goodies in crusts?

I was lucky this year and celebrated two Thanksgivings, once with my friends and once with my family. That meant double the fun, double the cheer, double the poultry, and double the dessert. So this month’s Daring Bakers challenge could not have come at a better time! This way, I could make the challenge for one Thanksgiving and make the dessert of my choosing for the next. And ohhh how excited I was to make this challenge! It was actually quite easy and I imagine it won’t be the last time I attempt to make a lovely crostata with some minis for snacking.

The 2010 November Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Simona of briciole. She chose to challenge the Daring Bakers to make pasta frolla for a crostata. She used her own experience as a source, as well as information from Pellegrino Artusi’s Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well.

Chocolate Fruit Crostata
adapted from the Daring Bakers website and Dorie

Makes 1 crostata.


For Pasta Frolla:

  • scant 3/4 c powdered sugar
  • 1 3/4 c unbleached all-purpose flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 c (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • grated zest of half a lemon
  • 1 large egg and 1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten

For Chocolate Pastry Cream:

  • 2 c whole milk
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 6 tbsp white granulated sugar
  • 3 tbsp cornstarch, sifted
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 7 oz bittersweet chocolate, melted
  • 2 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature and cut into small piece

For Assembly:

  • fruits of your choice, sliced if necessary


For Pasta Frolla: [I made mine using a food processor but see the DB website if you are making it by hand.] Pulse sugar, flour, salt, and lemon zest in a food processor to mix. Then add cold butter and pulse until the mixture is the consistency of coarse meal. Empty contents of the food processor onto your work surface.

Make a well in the center of the mixture and add the beaten eggs.  Using a fork, begin to combine the eggs with the dry ingredients then use fingertips to finish. Knead until a ball forms – do NOT overknead as the cold butter will get warmed by your hands and you will lose the flaky crust – and wrap tightly in plastic wrap, patting into a round disk. Chill for at least two hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350F. Roll out dough to about 1/8 inch or 3 mm and place in tart pan (or pie plate which is where I made mine). Cut off excess around the edges. Place a piece of parchment paper or aluminum foil large enough to cover the dough and hang over the edges and place in pan. Fill with dried beans or rice in an even layer and bake for 20 minutes. Take off weights and foil/parchment and bake again for 5 more minutes. If the dough begins to puff up without the weights, gently push it back down with the back of a spoon. Allow shell to cool completely before filling.

You can use leftover dough to make cookies or these little fruit crostatas I made by spooning a bit of strawberry jam atop rounds of dough followed by a lazy lattice (not woven) of dough strips on top.

For Pastry Cream: Heat milk to a boil in a small saucepan.

Meanwhile, in a heavy-bottom saucepan, whisk together egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch, and salt until thick. Whisk in about 1/4 c of the hot milk, stirring constantly so as not to cook the eggs. Then, slowly add the rest of the milk while whisking constantly. Heat this over medium heat and bring to a boil while continue to stir constantly. Once at a boil, continue to cook while whisking constantly for 1-2 minutes, then remove from heat.

Whisk in the melted chocolate and let sit for five minutes. Then, whisk in the butter until fully incorporated. Cool the custard either by refrigerating with a piece of plastic wrap pressed against the surface or using an ice bath and stirring occasionally.

To Assemble: Whisk cream briefly, then spoon into pastry shell. Smooth top with back of spoon. Layer fruit however desired.

PS. Don’t forget about the giveaway!

Blueberry Applesauce Muffins

I’m planning a trip out of the country.


We’re flying off to Beijing in May for the wedding of one of the cutest couples I’ve ever met. They did a cross-continent long distance relationship for several years before finally deciding to tie the knot. And they’re having a huge wedding in Beijing to do it! (They’ll have one in the USA too but this is a wonderful excuse to trek over to Asia so I’m going with it.) Boy and I plan on flying out to Beijing, spending a week or so exploring that area of China, and then roaming on over to Japan for a week or so. I’m quite excited even though it’s months and months away.

I’ve begun planning, reading up on how to do Japan on a budget because Tokyo is supposedly the most expensive city in the world. For two broke-as-a-joke medical students, that doesn’t sound good. But I’m determined to make it work.

Any tips on where to go/eat or what to do in Beijing or Japan are more than welcome!!

All this thinking about leaving the country, however, made me already start to miss home. Planning vacations stresses me out a bit and trying to figure out how to cram an entire country in one week is overwhelming. My train was about to pull into freak-out central and that’s never good.

So I made these blueberry muffins to remedy the situation (my growling tummy was thankful too). Oh goodness did they hit the spot! They were spicy (in that cinnamon sort of way) and homey and all sorts of comforting. I guarantee you they’ll give you warm and fuzzies. The crispy little topping was perfect too, a lovely contrast to the soft, moist interior created in part by the addition of applesauce to the typical blueberry muffin mix.

How can you argue with the simplicity of a great blueberry muffin?

In a bite and a half, all was right with the world.

Blueberry Applesauce Muffins
adapted from epicurious

Makes 12 muffins.


For muffins:

  • 1 1/2 c + 1 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 c light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 c (1 stick) + 3 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 c applesauce, unsweetened or cinnamon flavored
  • 1 c fresh blueberries, or frozen and thawed

For topping:

  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 tbsp quick-cooking oats


Preheat oven to 400F.

For muffins: Toss blueberries in 1 tbsp flour and set aside.

Whisk together remaining flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices, and salt in a bowl and set aside.

In another bowl, whisk together eggs and brown sugar until well combined. Slowly add melted butter, whisking the whole time until creamy. Stir in applesauce followed by flour mixture. Finish by stirring in the blueberries and divide among muffin cups.

For topping: Stir all ingredients together and sprinkle atop muffins.

Bake until puffed and golden, about 20 minutes.

Seriously. Any ideas on what we can/should do in Beijing and/or Japan?

And what makes you feel at home?

Blueberry Crumb Muffins

So.. I thought I’d have time to blog this month. I knew it’d be a little difficult given the notoriety of long hours on this particular rotation but I was not exactly prepared for THIS. Suffice it to say, I get four to five hours of sleep a night and it’s most definitely not by choice. I stand pretty much all day (which amounts to somewhere between 12-14 hours). And yesterday was the first day I’ve eaten lunch all week. I didn’t have to go in yesterday.


When I realize my schedule is so gosh darn sleepless, there’s only one thing I can think to make in the kitchen.


(Yes yes, I was going to give you a cupcake recipe today but I haven’t had the chance to make a proper batch and really I need need muffins right now.)

Ali most definitely knows what she’s doing with these muffins. The crunchy topping and the soft, moist blueberry packed muffin seriously make the greatest combination. Perfection in a blueberry muffin. I gave a couple to my brother whose roommate is apparently a blueberry muffin fiend. Rave reviews from this self-proclaimed blueberry muffin afficionado. So take it from us, these are fabulous.

Blueberry Crumb Muffins
adapted from vanilla & lace

Makes 12 muffins.

1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
3/4 c sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1/3 c vegetable oil
1 egg
1/3 c milk
1 c fresh blueberries
for topping:
1/2 c sugar
1/3 c all-purpose flour
1/4 c butter, cubed
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400F. Prepare muffin tin with either cups or spray.

Combine flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder. Place vegetable oil into a 1 cup measuring cup, add egg, followed by enough milk to fill the cup. Mix wet and dry ingredients. Fold in blueberries. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full.

For the topping, mix all the ingredients together with a fork until crumbly. Sprinkle over muffins.

Bake for 20-25 minutes.

Oh yes.. this is good stuff.

– Sharlene

Blueberry Pancakes

REMINDER: CUPCAKE HERO JULY [COCONUT] ENTRIES DUE JULY 17TH!! Email me at smalltownoven[at]gmail[dot]com!

onto the entry..

I have to tell you a secret.

I didn’t always like breakfast.

Oh come on! Sit down! Don’t leave! I LOVE breakfast now!


Okay so let me explain. In my house growing up breakfast was never a big deal. Sure we had fried eggs on the weekends sometimes with some fried rice (oh how I adore my dad’s fried rice!) and maybe if we were lucky my mom found some sausages in the freezer. On rare occasion we ate pancakes or french toast but it would always be a mix or something frozen.

They don’t do breakfast in the Philippines like they do breakfast here. How was I supposed to know?

In high school, when I started hanging out with people at IHOP, I finally understood.


These days all I seem to order at the diner (I’m from Jersey. We go to diners. Don’t judge me.) is breakfast. The french toast calls my name. The waffles with ice cream make my tummy growl. And the pancakes? Don’t even get me started on the pancakes.

When I make breakfast at home it’s usually simple. Oatmeal or yogurt with granola are my usuals. They don’t involve a pan that needs washing and can be made quickly. I’m a mover! I gotta move! No time to sit around mixing batter!

But the second I found time on my hands and blueberries on my counter, I knew I had to do something about it.

Hence the first pancakes I’ve made in a long long time.

And ohhhhhh were they winners!! They actually only took a few minutes to whip up, literally the time it took to preheat my pan. They were light and airy and everything a pancake should be. And for me, pancakes are all about the butter on top. Butter IN the pancake? Even better. I highly recommend these. Thanks, smitten kitchen!

Blueberry Pancakes
adapted from smitten kitchen; originally from Martha Stewart’s Original Classics Cookbook

This is a half recipe and I ate it for breakfast for 3 days. Not sure how many that made.

2 c all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp kosher salt, or slightly less table salt
1 1/2 tbsp sugar
1 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted, plus more for the griddle/pan
1/2 c blueberries, fresh or frozen/thawed


Prepare griddle or, if you don’t have one like me, heat a frying pan with 1/2 tbsp of butter so that it browns a bit (I find butter makes pancakes brown better than anything else).

In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar. Add the eggs, buttermilk, and melted butter, and whisk to combine. The batter should have small to medium lumps.

If using a griddle, Deb says to test it by sprinkling a few drops of water on it. If the water bounces and spatters, the griddle is hot enough and 1/2 tsp of butter can be brushed on with a pastry brush. Wipe off the excess with a folded paper towel. Personally, I just assume I’m going to throw out my first batch anyway and I go for it.

Ladle about 1/2 cup for a 6-inch pancake into the pan, pouring the batter in pools 2 inches apart. Arrange a handful of blueberries over the cooking pancake, pressing them in slightly. When the pancakes have bubbles on top and are slightly dry around the edges, about 2 1/2 minutes, flip them over. If any batter oozes or blueberries roll out, push them back under with your spatula. Cook until golden on bottom, about 1 minute.

Repeat with the remaining batter. You can keep the finished pancakes on a heat-proof plate in the oven at 175°F. Serve warm.

I topped mine with leftover mint and white chocolate whipped cream from my winning cupcakes. Oh yum.

Loves it!

– Sharlene

Mint Blueberry Cupcakes with White Chocolate Whipped Cream

Sometime in the midst of all my stress and end-of-the-year nervous breakdowns I gave thought to doing away with this blog altogether. It’s still a baby, a little blip on the internet map, and could have very easily fallen away without much of a fuss.

When I suggested this to Boy, he was not in agreement.

I started this with the sole intention of pushing myself to be a better baker, to create recipes instead of always following someone else’s lead, and to try new things.

So, with that in mind, I joined Daring Bakers last month and completed my first challenge earlier this month (the reveal is on the 27th). This past weekend, I decided to try something else too.

I’m going for Cupcake Hero.


I decided this on Saturday. On Sunday I woke up with a few ideas of how to use blueberries in a cupcake and took my sweet time getting to the grocery store etc. Then, last night around 8 pm I realized that the deadline for Cupcake Hero is midnight tonight.


I scrambled. But I’m actually quite happy with the result! Maybe I work well under pressure? I even had the chance to have Boy and two other friends try a few! The overwhelming opinion was that they taste “fresh” and that’s exactly what I was going for. Not too sweet, not too heavy, and perfectly summery.

Let’s hope I win but if not this is definitely a recipe I’ll keep in my arsenal when I’m looking for something different to bring to a party. They’re delicious.

Mint Blueberry Cupcakes with White Chocolate Whipped Cream
a smalltownoven original

Makes 12.

For cake:
2 c all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 c sugar
1/2 c (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 eggs, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp mint extract
3/4 c milk
1 1/4- 1 1/2 c blueberries (I used fresh)

For topping:
1 c heavy cream
10-15 mint leaves
3 oz white chocolate, chopped

For garnish:
fresh blueberries

Do ahead: Heat heavy cream and mint leaves in a saucepan until boiling. Take off heat, cover, and steep for 1 hour. Strain mint leaves out of cream and refrigerate until chilled for several hours or overnight (freezer if you’re in a rush).

Preheat oven to 350F. Line 12-cake muffin/cupcake pan with appropriate liners.

Toss blueberries with 1 tbsp flour. In a large bowl, sift together rest of flour, baking powder, and salt. In a separate bowl, cream sugar and butter together until well blended using a hand or stand mixer. Add eggs one at a time and mix well. Add extracts and mix completely. Add the flour mixture in 3 additions alternating with the milk in 2 additions, mixing well in between each addition. Fold in blueberries.

Bake for 20-24 minutes. Cool in pan for 10 minutes before moving to cooling racks.

For topping, melt white chocolate with 2 tbsp of mint-infused heavy cream in a large bowl over a pot of simmering water. Be careful not to allow the white chocolate to burn! Once melted, take off heat and allow to cool for 10 minutes. In a separate large bowl, whip the rest of the heavy cream (~3/4 c) until the appropriate consistency. Fold in the cooled white chocolate.

To assemble, place a dollop of topping on each cupcake and garnish with fresh blueberries.

How cute!

– Sharlene

Lemon-Scented Blueberry Cupcakes

Comfort. It’s the familiar smell of your boyfriend. It’s the first glimpse of home around the bend in the road. It’s the feel of a hot shower after a cold day.

It’s the look of butter sitting on the counter waiting to be part of something delicious.

It’s the sound of three friends, roommates, back together after months apart.

I spent the last weekend in Bethesda, Maryland visiting a roommate from college with another roommate but missing our fourth wheel. We’ve seen each other in the years since graduation but always for a dinner here, drinks there, never for any longer than a few hours. And while a few hours is plenty when you don’t see each other often, it’s never enough and it never feels the same as college. Until you spend a weekend together staying up late, shopping, people-watching, and, of course, judging everything from wedding dresses (One of us is engaged. It’s not me. Have no fear.) to how people are sometimes rude to servers at creperies. It’s that quality time when no one has anything better to do or anything next up on the long list for the day. That’s the feeling of comfort. Being with the people you love even if it’s in a place you’ve never been. I couldn’t have asked for a better weekend away to recharge.

When I’m home, comfort is everything I listed before. I know and love how Boy smells both when he’s freshly showered and when he’s just come from a run. (This smell I don’t love AS much and it’s a very VERY transient love but it’s a love either way.) I adore the sight of my parents’ home, especially in the spring when all the trees lining the street are the perfect shade of green. I’ve learned to savor the feel of a shower at the end of the day instead of rushing through one in the beginning.

I’m so used to the look of butter on the counter that when it’s not there I feel a pang in my heart and a new idea churning in my head.

I had been thinking about a berry and lemon cake for a few days but had no time to experiment. I’m glad for it though because I loved the recipe I found. These cupcakes were lovely and comforting and best of all can easily be adapted to whatever berry you have in your fridge or freezer. The lemon flavor is present in every way but perfectly complementary and by no means empowering. I’ll definitely be making/adapting these again!

Lemon-scented Blueberry Cupcakes
Adapted from myrecipes

Makes 12. Perfect for spelling “Happy Bday Pat” (or any other 3-lettered name/nickname).

3/4 c fresh or frozen blueberries, thawed
1 1/2 c plus 2 tbsp flour, divided [set aside the 1 tbsp of flour for the blueberries]
10 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp baking soda
1/4 c butter, melted
1 large egg
1/2 c buttermilk [or mix milk and vinegar]
1/2 c 2% reduced-fat milk
1 tsp grated lemon rind
1/4 c (2 oz) cream cheese, room temperature
2 tbsp butter, room temperature
1 tsp grated lemon rind
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp  salt
1 1/2 c powdered sugar, sifted
2 tsp fresh lemon juice


Preheat oven to 350. Line 12 muffin/cupcake cups.

Toss blueberries with 1 tbsp flour. Sift together remaining flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, and baking soda in a large bowl.

In a separate bowl, whisk together melted butter and egg. Add both milks and lemon rind. Add milk mixture to flour mixture and stir just until moist. Fold blueberries into batter. Divide batter into prepared muffin cups.

Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes. Let cool in pan for 5 minutes on a wire rack then remove from pan and allow to cool completely on wire rack.

For the frosting, beat everything but the powdered sugar and lemon juice with a mixer at medium speed until blended. Gradually add powdered sugar until just combined. Don’t overbeat. Stir in juice. Add coloring if desired.

Frost, garnish with blueberries if desired, and call it a day!

So fresh-tasting you’ll definitely want more than one!

– Sharlene