For about 30 days in March and April, it’s time to pick and sell Florida blueberries. That’s all the time growers have before the season begins in other parts of the country. But during half of that narrow window, Florida is the only place in the world growing fresh blueberries.
Local restaurateurs, growers and foodies have given us their best blueberry dessert recipes, so you can take full advantage of having the freshest ingredients right here in your own backyard.
Download a copy of all the recipes by clicking here.
Xiomara Meeks knows good food. As the manager of Parkesdale Farm Market, she is able to get her hands on the freshest ingredients. One of her family’s favorite summer cookout recipes is a blueberry cobbler. They love to bring it to parties and serve it warm, topped with vanilla bean ice cream.
1 pint fresh blueberries
2 pounds ripe fresh peaches, peeled, pitted and sliced
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
6 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small pieces
3/4 cup uncooked old-fashioned rolled oats
• Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
• Put the blueberries, peaches, sugar, flour, lemon juice and cinnamon in a baking tray. Toss to mix and then spread the fruit mixture evenly in the tray.
• To make the topping, put the brown sugar and flour into a medium bowl and stir to mix well. Cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in the oats with a fork.
• Sprinkle the topping evenly over the fruit, then press gently.
• Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the topping is crisp and lightly browned.
• Top with vanilla bean ice cream.
LEMON BLUEBERRY CUPCAKES WITH LEMON ICING
As a major Florida Strawberry Festival sponsor, Wish Farms is a well known strawberry grower in Plant City. But strawberries aren’t the only berry in the patch. Wish Farms grows blueberries, as well, and the farm offers this delicious lemon blueberry cupcakes — a sure way to sweeten your day.
3/4 cup flour, sifted
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup milk
4 ounces egg (2 eggs)
Zest of 2 lemons
1 teaspoon lemon extract
2 teaspoon lemon juice
4.4-ounce container of blueberries
Lemon Butter Cream Icing
1 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
3 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 teaspoon lemon extract
Zest of 2 lemons, optional
• Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
• Cream the butter with the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Add the sugar and milk, mix for 7 minutes on low speed.
• Stop the mixer and scrape the bowl a couple of times throughout the mixing. Slowly add the milk, eggs, lemon juice and lemon extract, adding in 3 stages, mixing for about 1 minute each time. (The batter will be a little thin and look curdled.) Stir in fresh blueberries and lemon zest.
• Spoon batter into lined cupcake pan, filling 2/3 full. Stir batter as needed.
• Bake at 375 for about 17 minutes, depending on your oven. Check at 16 minutes by inserting a toothpick in the center. When it comes out clean, the cupcakes are done. Let cool on cooling rack.
• Top with lemon icing and garnish with fresh blueberries.
• Cream the butter until pale in color and fluffy.
• On low speed, add the sugar, in 3 or 4 stages, until well combined.
• While mixing, add extract and start adding the lemon juice slowly. You don’t want to dump all of the liquid in at once, because this will vary according to consistency and taste. Adjust the lemon extract and lemon juice to your liking. You want the icing to be fluffy but not too loose. You want to be able to spread the icing onto the cupcake and hold its shape.
The recipe for these delicious little morsels seems to make the rounds within the Plant City blueberry growers circle. We were given the recipe from Wayne Glover, of Alpha Growers Blueberries and Glover’s Blueberry Farms. He got the recipe from another grower, Patti Gunn.
3 packages Athens mini fillo shells (freezer section)
1 8-ounce package cream cheese (room temp)
1 8-ounce package Cool Whip
1 cup white confectioners’ sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoon cornstarch
4 cups blueberries
• Cook shells according to package instructions. Cool.
• Beat cream cheese until smooth, then add sugar. Beat until smooth again, then fold in Cool Whip.
• Fill a Ziploc bag with cream cheese mixture. Cut a small snip in corner. Squeeze a dollop into shells.
• Mix water and sugar. Cook until clear. Add cornstarch. Thicken, then add blueberries and cook until berries start to burst. Cool.
• Put a dollop on top of shells and dust with confectioners’ sugar. Serve.
Valerie DeArmond has been the face behind the counter of Stacy’s Consignment for years. Every Monday, she brings in desserts for her shoppers, drawing crowds from Plant City Towers, Miss Ruby, from her shop around the corner, and even the mailman. Here, she offers a unique spin on her grandmother’s fruity pudding.
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 pint blueberries
1 8-ounce package cream cheese
2 cups powder sugar
1 large box vanilla instant pudding
3 cups milk
1 stick butter cubed
1 cup all-purpose flower
1 8-ounce carton heavy whipping cream
• Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
• Cut butter into flour until size of peas. Place in a 9-by-13 baking pan, covering the entire area. Bake 10 minutes. Let cool.
• Mix whipping cream on high until fluffy. Gradually add 1 cup powder sugar and vanilla. Mix thoroughly for 1 minute. Put into a bowl and set aside.
• Mix cream cheese, 1 cup whipped cream and 1 cup powdered sugar. Spread over crust. Add blueberries.
• Mix pudding and milk. Beat until thick. Spread over blueberries.
• Cover with whipped cream and refrigerate for one hour. Serve.