Wednesday, 8 August 2007
The Colour of August
Canadian growing seasons were very short, and as a consequence, certain fruits were only available fresh, for a very short few weeks during the year. They were very precious indeed.
Long about August , our thoughts would quite naturally wander into the woods, and begin to think of blueberries, as August was the season of blueberries in Eastern Canada. Not those big grape sized ones you can get in the grocery stores over here, but those delicious tasty little pea sized morsels…wild blueberries…that you can only get after spending back breaking hours in the hot sun to acquire.
The first week of August the ice cream buckets would appear on the kitchen counter. It was then that we children knew it was blueberry picking time, a time we both dreaded and revered all at once. We would spend hours in the blueberry bush, choosing and picking the dainty delicious berries and filling those plastic four litre buckets, until our backs were aching and our arms felt like they were ready to fall off, the time only made longer according to how many actually made it into the buckets and how many made it into our tummies! The warm summer sun and humming insects helping us to feel all cosy and, well….a part of a family, lovingly coerced into partaking of this glorious labour. Compelled into participation by rose coloured memories and the anticipation of pieces of warm, fresh blueberry pie, it’s luscious blue juices dripping onto the plate, mingling with runny rivulets of melting fresh vanilla ice cream….beautiful puffy lemon coloured muffins, studded with those gorgeous purple berries and sprinkled with crusty sugar crumbles on top….light as a cloud buttermilk pancakes bursting full of the sweet luscious beauties, stacked three high on a plate, a golden pat of butter melting and gilding the edges, doused in beautifully sweet and rich Maple Syrup , the perfect foil….
We knew as children, that the more berries we picked, the more of these delights we’d be able to savour during the long winter ahead. Tired and hot at the end of the day, our fingers stained blue, with blue lips and teeth, we’d sit around the kitchen table with big bowls of tasty berries, sprinkled with sugar and covered in cream….Berries….still warm from the sun, cream …cold from the fridge, smiles on berry stained faces, knowing we had once again secured this little taste of summer for the winter ahead…
*Lemon Glazed Blueberry Bundt Cake*
I fell in love with this cake the very first time I made it. It is deliciously moist and studded with sweet berries. The Lemon Glaze is perfect on top, giving it just a little tang, which only helps to enhance the flavour of the blueberries.
2 ½ cups plain flour
1 tsp plain flour, for blueberries
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 cup butter, at room temperature
1 cup soft light brown sugar, packed
1 cup caster sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp pure vanilla essence
1 cup dairy sour cream
2 cups fresh blueberries
2 TBS finely grated lemon zest
The juice of two lemons
2 - 3 cups icing sugar, sifted
Pre-heat the oven to 180*C/350*F. Butter and flour a 12 cup bundt or tube pan. Set aside.
Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together in a bowl. Set aside.
In another bowl, cream together the butter and two sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, beating until thoroughly combined. Beat in the vanilla.
Beat in the flour mixture alternately with the sour cream, beginning and ending with the flour. Gently toss the blueberries and lemon zest with the 2 tsp of flour. Fold them into the batter.
Spread the batter into the prepared pan and bake on the bottom rack of the oven for 60 to 70 minutes, or until the cake tests done when a toothpick is inserted and it springs back lightly when the top is gently touched.
Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan for about 20 minutes before removing and inverting on a wire rack to finish cooling completely. Place upright on a plate.
Make the glaze by combining the lemon juice and the sifted icing sugar, until the desired consistency has been reached and the mixture is smooth. Drizzle the glaze over the cake. Enjoy!