Monday, April 26, 2010

On Craziness, Laziness, Comfort, and Blueberries

The last week or two have been absolutely crazy. I mean chock full of running around, but it wasn't all work. Quite a bit of it was a lot of fun, but now I'm tired and sore and the todo list has only been growing in my absence. Sometimes it's nice to just relax for a bit before taking a deep sigh and getting started on the chores and today, my moment was sponsored by my mother. There was an old joke I read a long long time ago on the differences between an average mother and a Jewish mother and one of the differences were the concept of tea time. An average mother, the joke said, would invite her daughter over for tea and serve tea and maybe some cookies. A Jewish mother on the other hand would invite her daughter over for tea and serve cookies, then pull out some beet soup, a bit of potato salad, a piece of roasted chicken, some cheese blintzes, a slice of cake, well you get the picture. While I'd like to say that this is a stereotype, I can't. I did learn to bring Tupperware with me when I visit though and this weekend part of the loot was my mom's split pea soup. I had a lot to do today, but it was nice to just heat up a bowl and take a quick 20 minute zen moment with the comfort of home.

Split Pea Soup

After work and my zen moment I made a few sewing alterations, a quick trip to grandma's and in the middle of two loads of laundry I decided to make some blueberry cupcakes with the last of the blueberries I picked at Michigan over the summer. Sort of a spring cleaning effort. A while back I found this recipe and dog eared it for future use, but somehow never got back to it. But I had everything on hand and 40 minutes before I could get my clothes from the dryer, and instead of sitting still I started pulling out the ingredients. Believe me, you're going to want to make these too, they were fantastic and greatly received.


Blueberry Cupcakes
adapted from Seattle Pi
Makes about 18 cupcakes

2 Cups + 2 tablespoons sifted flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup of unsalted butter (2 sticks)
1 1/2 cups of Sugar
2 large eggs
1/4 cup of whole milk
1/2 cup of blueberry puree
1/2 tsp Vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350F and line cupcake pan with paper liners

Blueberry Puree:
- Bring one pound of blueberries (fresh or frozen) to a boil in a sauce pan. I used the berries I picked last summer and froze, and I must say organic berries will give you a much richer flavor, just look at that color! Everything was stained blue.
- Reduce heat to low and simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated (about 1/2 hour) and the mixture is thick, making sure to stir often.
- Cool the blueberries slightly and place in a food processor. Mix until smooth. For an
extra smooth puree pass mixture through a fine sieve before using, but I didn't really bother and it was fine.
- Makes about 1 1/4 cups.

Blueberry Jam

- Cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.
- Add one egg at a time, beating until incorporated after each one.
- Sift dry ingredients into a separate bowl.
- Mix milk with 1/2 cup of blueberry puree and vanilla.
- Add wet and dry ingredients alternately to butter/sugar mixture starting and ending with the dry ingredients in three additions.
- Mix until just incorporated after each addition. Do not overbeat batter.
- The batter will puff up when baking, but then settle again once it cools, so you want to make sure that you fill each liner at least 3/4 full of batter. If you want an extra punch of flavor you can mix in a little of the blueberry puree into each cupcake and swirl slightly with a wooden skewer or small spoon. Or you can be lazy like me and skip this step. It will be fantastic without it.

Blueberry Batter

- Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until cake springs back to the touch.
- Cool for 10-15 minutes in the pan then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely before frosting.
- Whip up a batch of Swiss Meringue Buttercream using your favorite recipe or use mine and whip in the remainder of the blueberry puree. Frost the cupcakes and top fresh blueberry...or not. They're good on the first day, but they're even better on the 2nd, so don't hesitate to make them ahead of time. Don't forget to share.

Blueberry Cupcake


Joy said...

Why pea soup? Yours looks good but the ones I know is totally gross. Your cupcakes are so purple and where are mine?

Anna said...

Soup because it was yummy, the pic turned out well and I didn't have to make it :D

Can you believe that I didn't add even a drop of food coloring? That's all from the super awesome organic berries. And you can have some if you visit me :D

Anonymous said...

That batter is BEAUTIFUL! I'm bookmarking this for the blueberry harvest this year :)

Thanks for the recipe!

Gala said...

What an amazing color, even after baking, wow!

Muneeba said...

So so beautiful ... love fruity cupcakes, and this one's not to be missed! Will be making it this summer :)

Margie said...

Just found your blog, enjoying it very much, and looking forward to trying some of your recipes, starting with this great looking blueberry cupcake! Thanks for sharing.

Avalee said...

I love the colour of the cupcakes! I'm tempted to make them just for the colour :-)

A cupcake or two said...

Purple is one of my favourite colours and your cupcakes are just gorgous. I love the piping you did with the icing and the pretty cupcake pattie pans you used.

Anna said...

You guys are too sweet! I do hope you give this a try and if you do, I'd love to hear how it went :D

Malin said...

The cupcakes are ridicously beautiful. I'm making them tomorrow for finals-is-finally-over-babercue-and-wine-night. I expect them to be a hit.

Allison said...

Hey Anna, I just tried to make these cupcakes and they totally did not work out for me. I am not sure what went wrong because I tried twice thinking I might have left something out. Your picture looks so pretty, but mine were sunken in and had a really strange consistency. I was really bummed :-(

Anna said...

I am so sorry to hear that! The only things I could think of is maybe your baking powder has lost some of it's punch, or maybe the blueberry puree was too runny? You really need to cook out all the liquid. Otherwise I have no idea.