Blueberry Fields Forever


By Krista Dietrich

Growing up spending summers in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania has left me with many fond memories.  One of them is going blueberry picking.  Every July, we would make a trip out to the local blueberry farm in hopes of a good harvest.  Some years we would find plump and juicy berries the size of a quarter.  Other years, we would go from row to row, plucking miniscule berries, barely filling up our buckets.  Regardless of what we brought home, there was always enough for Aunt Linda’s famous blueberry pie and a stack of blueberry pancakes for breakfast. 

This past year, I returned to Coutt’s Family Blueberry Farm feeling nostalgic for my memories from many years ago.  Not much has changed at the farm over the years.  You can still pick ‘em, weigh ‘em, pay for ‘em and take ‘em home.  The gift shop still sells homemade jams, knick-knacks and the same delicious blueberry ice cream that I just can’t help but have a scoop.  Even though we didn’t come home with dozens of Ziploc bags full of berries, we had a great time recalling fond memories in the fields together.  I’m looking forward to sharing the same family tradition with my family someday!

The Junior League of Tampa’s cookbooks offer a great variety of summer dishes and desserts made from locally grown produce.  The Blueberry Crumble Cheesecake Bars in Capture the Coast will melt in your mouth; they’re simply delicious.  Try them for the perfect summer dessert!  To purchase this culinary classic cookbook visit:  http://www.jltampa.org/cookbooks.

Blueberry Crumble Cheesecake Bars (Capture the Coast pg. 111)

A hint of lemon gives these delectable cheesecake bars a fresh flavor.  Perfect for a crowd.

 2 cups all-purpose flour

½ cup packed light brown sugar

1 cup (2 sticks) butter

1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

3 tablespoons water

½ cup granulated sugar

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

16 ounces cream cheese, softened

½ cup granulated sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup packed light brown sugar

½ cup quick-cooking oats

½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Mix 2 cups flour and ½ cup brown sugar in a medium bowl.  Cut in 1 cup butter with a pastry blender until crumbly.  Press evenly in a 9×13-inch baking pan lined with foil.  Bake for 15 minutes or until light brown.

Combine 1 cup blueberries, the water, ¼ cup granulated sugar and the lemon juice in a small saucepan and mix well.  Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes.  Add 1 cup blueberries.  Cook for 8 minutes, stirring frequently.  Keep warm.

Beat the cream cheese and ½ cup granulated sugar at medium speed in a mixing bowl until smooth.  Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Beat in the vanilla.  Pour over the warm crust.  Spoon the blueberry mixture evenly over the cream cheese mixture.  Mix 1 cup flour, 1 cup brown sugar, the oats and ½ cup butter in a bowl until crumbly.  Sprinkle over the blueberry layer.  Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until the filling is set.  Cut into bars.  Serve warm or cold. 

 

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