Blueberry whitechocmuffins

Celebrate Lughnasa with Berry Treats

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Puck Fair, which takes place in Killorglin, Co. Kerry, continues the tradition of Lughnasa. OMF PUBLICITY[/caption]

Recipes / By Margaret M. Johnson

Lughnasadh or Lughnasa (pronounced LOO-na-se) is a Gaelic festival marking the beginning of the harvest season that was historically observed throughout Ireland and other Celtic nations. Originally it was held on July 31 – August 1, or approximately halfway between the summer solstice and autumn equinox. Also called “Lammas Sunday” and “Fraughan Sunday,” it’s now observed on the Sunday closest to August 1. Fraughans (also known as bilberries, are members of the same family as the blackberry and wild blueberry) are traditionally picked during the festival of Lughnasa (the Irish word for “August”) and eaten in pies, jams, and puddings. The Puck Fair, held in Killorglin, Country Kerry, August 10-12, is one of several fairs believed to continue the tradition of Lughnasa, but short of being there in person, you might want to celebrate with these blueberry recipes.

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Makes 1 dozen muffins

Look for this recipe in my newest cookbook, Favorite Flavors of Ireland, due for release October 8. For additional lemon flavor, try adding a spoonful of lemon curd to the muffins before baking.

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. salt

3/4 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs

11/2 cups buttermilk

4 tbsp. butter

4 oz. white chocolate

1 tsp. lemon zest

1 1/2 cups blueberries

12 tsp. prepared lemon curd (optional)

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Grease a standard muffin pan and dust with flour; tap out excess.

  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar. Set aside.

  3. In a microwave-safe bowl, combine the butter and white chocolate. Microwave on MEDIUM-HIGH for 1 minute; stir. Microwave at additional 10-15 second intervals, stirring just until melted. Set aside.

  4. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and buttermilk. Stir in the flour mixture and then stir in the melted chocolate, lemon zest, and blueberries.

  5. Divide the batter into the prepared pan and place a tsp. of the lemon curd on top of each one (if using). Bake for 23-25 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack for 10-15 minutes.


Blueberry-white chocolate muffins.



Serves 8–10

Not-too-sweet coffee cake is popular well beyond the breakfast hours, and this recipe is extra delicious when you tuck fresh berries into the nutty streusel center.


1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1/2 cup light brown sugar

2 tsp. ground cinnamon


1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. salt

8 oz. butter, at room temperature

1 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs

1 cup sour cream

1 cup blueberries

Confectioners’ sugar for dusting

  1. To make the streusel, in a small bowl, combine the walnuts, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Set aside.

  2. To make the cake, preheat the oven to 350° F. Butter a 9- or 10-in. Bundt pan and dust with flour; shake out excess.

  3. In a large bowl sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In another large bowl, cream the butter and sugar with an electric mixer on medium. Beat in eggs one at a time. Mix dry ingredients and sour cream alternately into butter mixture in three additions. Beat batter on high for 1 minute.

  4. Transfer half the batter to the prepared pan and sprinkle with the streusel mix and blueberries. Top with remaining batter and remaining streusel mix. Bake for 45–50 minutes, or until skewer inserted into center comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven and let cool on wire rack for 10 minutes. Invert cake onto serving plate and dust with confectioners’ sugar before cutting into slices.


Serves 6

A fruit “fool” – the word supposedly derives from the French fouler, meaning “to crush”—calls for combining puréed fruit with beaten eggs and sugar, whipped cream, sour cream, or yogurt for a virtually “foolproof” dessert. This recipe, which pays homage to the fraughan (also known as bilberry and wild blueberry), combines the berries with layers of whipped cream and crushed biscuits.

1/2 cup heavy (whipping) cream

1/2 cup sour cream

2 tbsp. sugar

3-4 drops almond extract

2 cups blueberries (reserve a few for topping)

6 digestive biscuits, such as McVities or Carr’s brand

1/4 cup ground almonds

  1. Chill 6 stemmed glasses. Whip the cream with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Fold in the sour cream, sugar, and almond extract.

  2. In a saucepan over medium-low heat, cook the berries until they begin to break up and soften. Remove from the heat and let cool. Spoon 1-2 tbsp. of the cooked berries into each of the glasses. Combine the remaining berries with the cream mixture and spoon over the berries.

  3. Crumble 1 cookie over each glass and garnish with the reserved berries and ground almonds. Serve immediately, or refrigerate for 1 hour or more.


Serves 6

Another lovely berry dessert layers the fruit between sabayon, light, liqueur-flavored custard.

3/4 cup Irish Mist liqueur

1/3 cup granulated sugar

6 large egg yolks

1 1/2 cups blueberries

1 1/2 cups blackberries

1 cup raspberries

6 digestive biscuits, such as McVities or Carr’s brand

  1. Chill 6 stemmed glasses. In a double boiler over simmering water, whisk together the Irish Mist and sugar. Add the egg yolks, and whisk constantly for about 5 minutes, or until the mixture is thick and frothy (do not scramble the eggs).

  2. In a large bowl, gently toss the berries. Evenly divide the berries among the glasses and spoon the sabayon over. Crumble 1 cookie over each glass and serve immediately.

Margaret M. Johnson’s latest cookbook, “Favorite Flavors of Ireland,” will be released October 8. She will also be leading her second tour to Ireland in May 2016. For details, see the ad in this week's Irish Echo or visit