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. Celebrate with one of these blueberry recipes or with similar ones in my new cookbook Teatime in Ireland. You can buy two signed copies for the price of one (BOGO) during my Christmas in July special. To order, visit www.irishcook.com.
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When it comes to versatility, this dessert is one of the best. You can use any combination of fruits and berries for the filling and simply top them with scoops of biscuit dough! The finished product just screams for a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream!
For the filling
3 peaches peeled, pitted and sliced
2 cups blueberries
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons cinnamon
For the cobbler
1 1/2 cups flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups heavy (whipping) cream
1 tablespoon sparkling sugar
Vanilla ice cream or whipped cream, for serving
1. Make filling. Preheat oven to 375°F. Butter the bottom of a 9-inch square baking dish.
In a large bowl, toss peaches and berries with sugar, lemon juice, cornstarch, and cinnamon; spoon into prepared pan.
2. Make cobbler. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Stir in cream until blended (dough will be wet). With an ice cream scoop or large spoon, scoop six portions of dough onto top of fruit; sprinkle with sugar.
3. Put dish on a baking sheet (to catch drips) and bake for 45 to 55 minutes, or until topping is brown and filling is bubbling. Remove from oven and let cool for about 10 minutes. To serve, spoon fruit and biscuit topping into bowls or plates; serve with ice cream or whipped cream.
BLUEBERRY COFFEE CAKE
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 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 ounces. butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 cup blueberries
Confectioners’ sugar for dusting
1. Make streusel. In a small bowl, combine walnuts, brown sugar, and cinnamon; set aside.
2. Make cake. Preheat oven to 350° F. Coat a Bundt pan with nonstick cooking spray; evenly sprinkle half of streusel mix into pan.
3. In a large bowl sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In another large bowl, cream butter and sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time. Mix flour mixture and sour cream alternately into butter mixture in three additions; beat batter on high for 1 minute.
4. Transfer half the batter to prepared pan and sprinkle with remaining streusel mix and blueberries; top with remaining batter.
5. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes, or until skewer inserted into center comes out clean. Let cake cool on wire rack for 10 to 15 minutes. Invert cake onto serving plate and dust with confectioners’ sugar before cutting into slices.
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 tablespoons sugar
3 to 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 berries until they begin to break up and soften; remove from heat and let cool. Spoon 1 to 2 tablespoons of cooked berries into each glass. Combine remaining berries with cream mixture and spoon over berries.
3. Crumble 1 cookie over each glass and garnish with reserved berries and ground almonds. Serve immediately or refrigerate for 1 hour or more.
Margaret Johnson’s “Recipes” page expands this year to “Ireland Hopping: Adventures in Food, Drink, and Travel.” For further details on her work, or to order a signed copy of her new cookbook “Teatime in Ireland,” visit www.irishcook.com.