Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Blueberry Dumplings

Since I mentioned that I bought a huge box of blueberries yesterday, I thought I'd let you know what I did with it. First of all, I ate a lot of the berries out of hand, munching on them throughout the weekend. They went surprisingly quickly. Second of all, I made dessert.
Tempted though I was to make muffins, I wanted to do something that would be fairly light, easy and use up a lot of berries. I considered pie, but ultimate decided that I wanted something lighter. Even though they are often considered to be a winter-time comfort food I chose to make dumplings in berry sauce. After all, you just can't get fresh berries of this quality in winter.
Now I will say right now that I am not an expert in dumpling-making, so if your grandmother's recipe is better than this one, by all means go ahead and use that one. My grandmother didn't make dumplings, so I was on my own. I think they're really easy and can be either rich and buttery, almost like a scone, or soft and fluffy. These are the fluffy variety and get a butter taste from the buttermilk without actually using any butter in the recipe.
I adore the sauce, and it's worth making even if you're not going to do the dumplings. Serve it (and the dumplings) hot, over ice cream or frozen yogurt.

Buttermilk Dumplings in Blueberry Sauce
For the Sauce:
3 cups blueberries
1/4 cup water
3-4 tbsp sugar (to taste)
1 1/2 tsp cornstarch mixed with 1 tbsp water

For the dumplings:
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp fresh nutmeg
3/4 cup buttermilk (approx)
1 tsp vanilla

For the sauce: In a medium saucepan, combine the berries, water and sugar. Bring to a boil and cook for about 10-15 minutes, until most of the berries have popped. Stir in the cornstarch/water mixture and cook for an addition minute, unti lthe syrup thickens slightly.
Turn heat to a low simmer and cover.

Meanwhile, make the dumplings. Combine flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and nutmeg in a medium bowl. Add in the vanilla and gradually add in the buttermilk, stirring until the dough comes together. The final dough should be wetter than a scone dough, but thicker than waffle or pancake batter, so if it is too dry, add an extra tablespoon or two of buttermilk.

Drop golf-ball sized dollops of dough (3-4 at a time, depending on your sauce pan) into the blueberry sauce. Cover the saucepan and cook for 7-10 minutes (depending on ths size of your dough balls), until the dumplings spring back slightly when you poke them with a spoon.
Scoop out, along with some sauce, and serve immediately - alone or with ice cream.
I recommend serving them in a bowl, not on a plate.

Serves 4.