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GOOD COOKING

Berries : Blue in the Morning

July 01, 1993|ABBY MANDEL

Blueberries bring summer to the breakfast table.

You can scatter them on yogurt or cereal, whirl them in a blender with bananas and orange juice into a breakfast smoothie, fold them into bran muffins in place of raisins or simply drop them into pancake batter.

At the beginning of the season, blueberries are less sweet and very firm--and that's the time to freeze them. Transfer the berries from their cartons and spread them on a jellyroll pan, sorting through and discarding stems and any soft or spoiled berries. Freeze the berries just like that, exposed on the pan. As soon as they are frozen solid (this takes no more than two hours), bag them, first in one plastic food bag, tied airtight, and then put that bag inside another plastic food bag, also tied airtight.

Frozen this way, the berries remain separate, so you can use just a few at a time. You can even mix the still-frozen berries into pancake or cake batters (although it will take a bit longer for them to cook).

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Berry compotes are versatile toppings on pancakes, waffles, cakes and ice cream. They're also excellent over sliced fresh fruit or fresh berries. Here the compote tops waffles made with wild rice, as they are at the Northern Delights Cafe in the Traverse Bay area of Michigan. The wild rice gives the waffles a nutty flavor and slightly crunchy texture.

BLUEBERRY-MAPLE COMPOTE OVER WHOLE-WHEAT-WILD RICE WAFFLES 1 cup all-purpose flour 1 cup whole-wheat flour 1 cup cooked wild rice (well drained) 1 tablespoon baking powder 1 teaspoon cinnamon Scant 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/4 cup packed dark-brown sugar 2 cups milk 3 large eggs, separated 5 tablespoons unsalted butter or margarine, melted Blueberry-Maple Compote

Put all-purpose and whole-wheat flours, wild rice, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and brown sugar in 2-quart bowl. Mix well.

Put milk, egg yolks and butter into 1-quart bowl. Mix well and add to dry ingredients. Stir well. Use mixer to whip egg whites until they hold their shape but are still shiny and moist. Fold egg whites into batter.

Cook waffles in heated, greased waffle iron. Cooked waffles can be kept warm in 200-degree oven while rest are cooked. Serve with warm Blueberry-Maple Compote. Makes 6 servings.

Each serving contains about: 525 calories; 439 mg sodium; 141 mg cholesterol; 16 grams fat; 88 grams carbohydrates; 12 grams protein; 1.82 grams fiber.

Blueberry-Maple Compote 4 cups blueberries 3/4 cup maple syrup Dash salt 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice 1 1/2 teaspoons unsalted butter

Put 3 cups berries, maple syrup and salt in 1 1/2-quart non-aluminum saucepan. Bring to boil. Simmer, uncovered, 5 minutes.

Remove from heat. Stir in lemon juice and butter. When butter is melted, stir in remaining 1 cup berries. Can be made several days ahead and refrigerated. Gently reheat before serving. Serve warm. Makes 2 cups.

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Even with the addition of cornmeal, these muffins are extremely light-textured. The glaze makes the muffins very lemony, also pleasantly moist. Let the batter stand about 15 minutes before baking the muffins; this waiting period produces puffier muffins.

LEMONY CORNMEAL-BLUEBERRY MUFFINS Grated zest 2 lemons 1 cup sugar 1/2 cup oil 1 large egg 1 cup buttermilk 1 1/2 cups flour 1/3 cup cornmeal 1 teaspoon baking soda Scant 1/4 teaspoon salt 1 cup blueberries Lemon-Sugar Glaze

Put lemon zest, sugar, oil and egg in mixing bowl. Use wooden spoon to mix well. Stir in buttermilk, flour, cornmeal, baking soda and salt. Fold in blueberries. Let batter stand 15 minutes.

Line muffin cups with paper liners or grease them. Ladle batter into muffin cups, filling 7/8 full. Bake at 375 degrees on middle rack of oven until lightly browned and wood pick inserted into center comes out clean, about 22 minutes. Let cool in pan 5 minutes.

Quickly dip tops of baked muffins into Lemon-Sugar Glaze while still warm. Let cool before serving. Makes 12 muffins.

Each serving contains about: 239 calories; 77 mg sodium; 18 mg cholesterol; 10 grams fat; 35 grams carbohydrates; 3 grams protein; 0.22 gram fiber.

Lemon-Sugar Glaze 3 tablespoons lemon juice 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar

Stir lemon juice and sugar together in small bowl. Be sure sugar dissolves.

BLUEBERRY BREAKFAST CAKE 2 cups flour 3/4 teaspoon baking powder 3/4 teaspoon baking soda 3/4 teaspoon salt 1 1/4 teaspoons cinnamon 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature 1 cup sugar 2 large eggs 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest 2 teaspoons vanilla 1/4 cup buttermilk 2 1/2 cups blueberries Streusel Topping

Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Set aside.

Combine butter, sugar and eggs until thick and flowing, about 2 minutes. Add lemon zest, vanilla and buttermilk. Mix well. Add reserved dry ingredients. Mix well. Stir in blueberries.

Pour batter into greased 9-inch square pan. Spread surface smooth with spatula. Scatter Streusel Topping evenly over surface. Bake at 375 degrees about 1 hour, or until browned and wood pick inserted into center comes out clean. Serve warm. Makes 1 (9-inch) square cake, or 8 servings.

Each serving contains about: 524 calories; 321 mg sodium; 115 mg cholesterol; 25 grams fat; 70 grams carbohydrates; 7 grams protein; 0.77 grams fiber.

Streusel Topping 1/2 cup unsalted butter, slightly cold, cut into small pieces 1/4 cup sugar 1/4 cup flour 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon Dash salt

Work butter into sugar, flour, cinnamon and salt until mixture is crumbly. Set aside in refrigerator.

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