Recipes that are delicious and that always work!

You know these recipes are delicious because if I didn't think that they were fabulous . . . I wouldn't be showing them to you. You can also be sure that these recipes work for the same reason! The rest is simply a matter of taste.
I cannot endure to waste anything so precious as autumnal sunshine by staying in the house. So I have spent almost all the daylight hours in the open air.
~Nathaniel Hawthorne

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Blueberry & Pecan Bars

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I don't think I have ever made any secret of my love for Blueberries.   I often pick up a punnet or two or three when they are on special at the shops.  I just bang them into the freezer and I'm good to go anytime I need them.   They freeze really well.

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Of course we grow our own now.  We have four bushes in our garden.  They are the high bush ones.   I got enough off them last year to make a pie and freeze some, and am hopeful that this year I will get even more.  Last year was the first year we had any blueberry bushes, so we were quite impressed at the amount we got just in the first year!

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I was reading this week that wild blueberries actually are native to here, Ireland and Northern Europe.  I was surprised actually as I had no idea that they existed here at all in the wild state.   They call them Bilberries though . . . and they are probably not quite as profuse as they are in Eastern Canada and USA.

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I do remember a woman from church telling me that they pick them very near to where they live in Moulde (Wales) but I thought at the time she was probably mistaking them for some other berry . . . now I know she was probably right and I am going to ask her again where she picks them.   You just can't beat a wild blueberry for exceptional flavour!

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You can't actually "farm" wild blueberries in the natural sense of the word. Growing very close to the ground they have a will of their own and they decide where they are going to grow or not grow.  They spread by underground rhizomes, which despite man trying . . . just will not thrive if manually transplanted to new areas.   That is the nature of "wild" things . . . it has ever been so.

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We here at home, never tire of eating them.  They're healthy, low in fat and high in vitamins and anti-oxidants . . . one of the naturally occurring super-foods, and I try to get as many of them into our diet as possible.  I do think their low fat qualities are somewhat undermined by the things I managed to stog them into . . .

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But, I'm afraid I just can't help myself . . . one has to scratch the itch that one has to scratch and when it comes to blueberries . . . that means pies, cakes, pancakes, muffins and gorgeous teatime treats such as these delicious Blueberry and Pecan Bars.   I think you'll agree with me that these are absolutely wonderful indeed!   A most scrumdiddlyumptious way to get in one of your five a day . . . sugar, fat and other no-no's aside.

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*Blueberry Pecan Bars*
Makes one 8 inch square pan
Printable Recipe

Deliciously simple and a real favourite around here with the shortbread biscuit base and that fabulous topping!

for the base:
100g plain flour (1 cup)
115g of unsalted butter (1/2 cup)
3 TBS sifted icing sugar

for the topping@
100g blueberries (1 cup)
2 large free range eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp lemon extract
190g of granulated sugar (1 cup)
25g of plain flour (1/4 cup)
1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch salt
40g shredded coconut (1/2 cup)
90g of chopped toasted pecan nuts ( 3/4 cup)

Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F/ gas mark 4.  Line an 8 inch square pan with baking paper, leaving an overhang for lifting out.  Butter the paper.

Place the flour and icing sugar in a bowl. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender until the mixture is  like fine breadcrumbs and beginning to stick together.  Press this into the bottom of the prepared pan.  Bake for 25 minutes.

At the end of that time, remove from the oven and sprinkle the blueberries over top to cover.  Combine the eggs, sugar,extracts, flour, salt, baking powder and coconut until well blended.  Pour this mixture over top of the blueberries.  Scatter the pecan nuts over top.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden brown and set.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack for about 15 minutes before lifting out carefully and allowing to cool completely.  If desired dust with icing sugar to serve.   Cut into squares to serve.

10 comments:

La Table De Nana said...

These will surely grace our table one day..Wish critters didn't eat my berries:(

Helen Prabha said...

Looks very nice will try this soon...:-)

Gabby Casey said...

Oh, Marie... Go with me to Poland next summer and I will show you in forest - circa 40 miles from Warsaw - wild blueberry fields(in mountains they are even bigger). They belong to the same 'family', but their taste, smell and even colour are much more intense and reacher, altough they are much smaller than their American or garden sisters; even their bushes aren't higher than 1 foot - 15''
During an hour or so an adult can fill 10-litre bucket; locals even use a special tool - a cross of a scoop and comb. And the berries dye your hands, lips, tonque and teeth... No, you cannot compare garden blueberries with forest ones, called 'bilberries'in the UK (you can buy plants from some garden centres, but they need forest conditions in your garden). I miss them a lot, although you can buy them frozen in Polish shops in UK, but it's not the same.
Polish name for them is "czarna jagoda" (black berry)or "borowka" (a daughter of the forest), and they are used for two traditional Polish dishes: "pierogi z jagodami" (boiled dumplings, filled with berries and some sugar), served warm with sour or clouded cream for lunch or dinner, and "jagodzianki" (sweet buns with bilberry filling). They also have well-proved medical qualities as a drug in diabetes and gastro problems.
By the way, Poland (as well as Germany and all Central and Eastern Europe) has one more atraction for you - sour cherries. They have own name in Slawonic languages: "wisnia", while sweet cheries are called 'czeresnia' (the same 'root' as in cherry). They are cheaper than sweet cherries and are sold in markets - like strawberries - in 5-pound wooden baskets. They are very popular and Poles grow them in their gardens and allotments.

Marie said...

Gabby, I hope to be able to visit Poland one day. It's on my list of places to go!

Wendi said...

I made this yesterday but made the mistake of turning it out after it came out the oven and it oozed everywhere, so I popped it back in the pan and popped it in the oven for another 5 mins, probably just needed to let it sit for 15 mins like you said but I did not remember that part, but it was delicious and was eaten up within 20 mins, infact Maisy said it was her fav thing I had baked but then blueberries are her fav fruit so that helped
I have just searched for Lemon Curd so thats what I am doing this afternoon, I cannot find this in France
Big thank you for sharing your blog is amazing and I dont use cookery books much now just your blog
Wendy

Marie said...

Wendi, thanks so much for coming back,and telling me how much you all enjoyed this. Glad you persevered and all came ok in the end. Thanks also for you wonderful words about my page. It makes me happy to know my work is appreciated!

Mary McAndrew said...

Hi Marie, I just found this recipe on your blog...how'd I miss it? I'm putting it in my 'to do' recipe box!
Love your posts! Hope things are going well for you!

Mary McAndrew said...

hi Marie, I just found this recipe on your blog...how'd I miss it before? It'll go in my 'to do' recipe box! How are you doing? Hope everything is fine!

April said...

I'm with Mary, how'd I miss this recipe?! Bad me!! Doesn't matter, because I have it now!! I'm a little obsessed with all things blueberry at the moment. I found out last year that blueberries just plain don't grow here, they hate the soil. Soooo, yesterday I ordered two container blueberry plants, and I'm going to grow my own in pots!! I'm so excited!! This will be a perfect recipe for my new baby blueberries! :)

Marie Rayner said...

April how exciting. We have our own blueberry plants as well. There is nothing like growing your own! xxoo