for the first 25 or so years of my life, i was convinced i hated blueberries, at least fresh ones. my dad would buy them year round and when i would pluck one out of the basket and pop it into my mouth in, say, january, it was never any good. therefore, blueberries must be gross.
so you can imagine my excitement to go blueberry picking with my coworkers on a summer retreat day a few years ago. yes, getting out the office is nice but while they were all excitedly discussing the recipes they were going to make with the huge pile of blueberries we would each amass, i was… somewhat less enthused. my thoughts centered around how i might possibly use them all up in a remotely passable fashion, as the only thing worse than fruit i don’t like is wasting food. (and somehow just not picking very many didn’t seem to be an option that i seriously considered…)
fast forward to blueberry picking day and we’re all traipsing around the blueberry patch with our gigantic coffee cans, plucking berries and dropping (most of) them into the can. luckily, at some point, i decided to sample one of the berries and realized that BLUEBERRIES ARE AMAZING WHEN THEY ARE IN SEASON! especially the big, plump ones that have been basking in the sun the longest.
all of a sudden, i was a woman on a mission and quickly made up for my heretofore lackluster picking. by the time we left the blueberry patch, my coffee can was just as jam-packed as my coworkers’ cans were. AND i was just as excited as they were to start making things with the blueberries we had just picked.
i didn’t have to wait long to sample more of the berries as we continued our retreat at my manager’s house and she made a delicious pie that contained a heaping pile of the berries that had, hours before, been hanging off the blueberry bush. and it was divine.
her pie had graham cracker crust, banana pudding, blueberries, and a whipped topping made with a powder called “dairy whip”. the pie was so good, i had to ask her for the recipe. it turned out to not only be delicious but also simple. as soon as i got home, i put a bunch of my new favorite berries to good use recreating the pie.
over the years, i’ve tweaked her original recipe a bit, turning it into this blueberry banana gingersnap tart. given my love for all things ginger, i pretty quickly swapped the graham cracker crust for a gingersnap crust. and then i decided that the whipped topping wasn’t really adding a lot to the pie, in my opinion, and that i’d rather have the blueberry, banana, and ginger flavors more concentrated so out went the dream whip. at that point, i wanted to see if i could get away from packets all together (the original banana pudding came from a packet). one of my favorite snacks in the summer is banana yogurt with blueberries so that was an obvious substitution for me. i didn’t want the yogurt to make the crust soggy, though, so i strained the yogurt overnight and that produced the perfect consistency for spreading into the crust without letting anything get waterlogged.
now i’m thrilled to have a go-to summer dessert recipe that includes delicious blueberries, requires very minimal oven time (it’s hot enough in the kitchen as it is, thank you!), and is, at least by dessert standards, reasonably healthy. what about you? what is your summer dessert standby?