Saturday, 16 February 2013
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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 . . .
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.
*Blueberry Pecan Bars*
Makes one 8 inch square pan
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
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.