Monday, August 16, 2010

Fun with Blueberries - pancakes, muffins, and cheesecake, oh my!

This is the perfect combination - trust me. While I'm sure most of you knew about the amazing synergy that is blueberries and lemon, did you know about blueberries and ginger? I didn't, but I tried it, and it's amazing. Really, it doesn't take much for me to try something with ginger in it.

My what seems like addiction to blueberries really does have a reason. My SIL Kristie gave me a 1/2 flat of blueberries, so I had to think of things to do with them. Since I had already made blueberry butter, and a blueberry crumble tart (which didn't make the blog cut due to some seriously ugly pictures), I had to think of a few other things to do with them.

Of course, I turned to those favorite things for blueberries - pancakes and muffins. The idea of ricotta pancakes have intrigued me since I watched something on Food Network, so I thought I could find a good recipe and add some lemon, blueberries, and ginger...Well, I didn't like any of the recipes I found on the foodtv site, so I decided to work with the concept and modify the pancake recipe I use to incorporate these ingredients. Blueb

WOW! Those pancakes are amazingly delicious. These are the kind of pancakes that tasted so good, they didn't need anything else - no butter, no syrup, nothing at all.

Since I still had a lot of blueberries left over from the pancakes, my thoughts turned quickly to muffins. There's nothing better than blueberry muffins...unless of course you put lemon zest and grated ginger in them. These were great for breakfast the next day, they smelled like fresh lemons and the blueberry taste in them was just great! I was very happy with the recipe I found on Using buttermilk in blueberry muffins is a really nice way to accentuate the blueberries.

Finally, my thoughts turned to cheesecake. It had been a long time since I've made a cheesecake around here, maybe it's time to do that! I remember seeing on tastespotting a blueberry cheesecake bar, so I thought I could do something like that. I had a recipe for lemon cheesecake squares, so I adapted that recipe to add blueberries on top. While this recipe takes a little work, it's well worth the effort!

For these recipes, you can easily substitute frozen blueberries in the place of fresh. However, if you do, I recommend you don't thaw the berries before you add them to each recipe. For the muffins, coat them in 1 T. flour before folding into the batter to prevent your muffins turning purple.

Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake Bars

1 cup graham cracker crumbs
2 T. butter, melted
2 T. sugar
1/2 t. cinnamon
8 oz cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1 egg
1/2 c. sugar
2 t. lemon zest
1 T. lemon juice
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. grated ginger (you can use powdered ginger as well)
2 cups blueberries
2 T. sugar
2 t. cornstarch mixed with 2 T. lemon juice
1/2 t. grated ginger

Preheat oven to 350. In a small bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, butter, cinnamon, and 2 T. sugar. Press mixture into the bottom only of an 8" square pan, and bake for 5 minutes.

While crust is cooling, beat cream cheese 1 minute with a mixer. Add egg, 1/2 cup sugar, 2 t. lemon zest, 1 T. lemon juice, salt, and 1/2 t. grated ginger. Pour mixture over cooled graham cracker crust and bake for 20-25 minutes, until mixture no longer jiggles when pan is gently moved. Cool while you make blueberry sauce.

In a saucepan, combine blueberries and 2 T. sugar. Mash blueberries, and heat until mixture just starts to boil. Stir in cornstarch mixture and 1/2 t. ginger. Taste and adjust sweetness, depending on your berries sweetness. Add sugar and lemon juice as needed.

Remove from heat and allow to cool for 15 minutes. Once slightly cooled, spread in an even layer over your cream cheese mixture. Cut into 2" squares and enjoy! Can be stored up to 2 days in your refrigerator.

Lemon Blueberry Muffins
Adapted from

2 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cups sugar
2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
Zest of one lemon
1 egg, lightly beaten
3/4 c. buttermilk
2/3 c. vegetable oil
1/2 t. grated ginger
2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries

Preheat oven to 375. Butter, spray, or put cupcake liners in 12 regular size muffin cups. If you are using cupcake liners, spray the top of the muffin pan before placing the liners in the muffin cups - this guarantees the muffins will not stick to the pan.

In a large bowl, mix together lemon zest, egg, buttermilk, and oil. In another large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and ginger. Mix the dry ingredients together. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry, and stir gently until just combined. Fold in berries. It's important to not overmix your muffins, or they will be tough. When you stop seeing flour, stop mixing.

Fill each muffin cup near full, and bake for approximately 20 minutes, until a toothpick comes out of the center of the muffins clean. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack for an additional 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, carefully remove from the muffin tins and enjoy!

Lemon Blueberry Ricotta Pancakes

1 cup flour
1/4 t. grated ginger
1 T. sugar
1 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
2 t. lemon zest
1/4 t. salt
1/4 t. cinnamon
1/8 t. nutmeg
3/4 c. milk
1 egg
1/2 c. ricotta cheese
1/2 to 3/4 c. blueberries

In a large bowl combine all ingredients except blueberries and mix until very well incorporated. There may be small lumps of ricotta remaining, that's fine.

Heat skillet or griddle until hot and a few drops of water "dance" across the surface when put on the griddle. Brush with a light coating of butter. Place batter in 2 T. portions on the surface, leaving at least an inch between each of the pancakes. Sprinkle a few blueberries over your pancake. Turn when bubbles form and pop on the surface, and the surface of your pancake starts to look dry around the edges. Repeat until all batter is gone.


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