Blueberries bring brown betty to summer’s table

Since I blogged last May about my younger son’s de facto chocolate birthday cake, his tastes have emerged more clearly.

Berries, particularly blueberries, are a serious contender for his favorite food. And the kid will reduce a slice of fresh lemon to just a half-masticated chunk of pith. His needlelike, 2-year-old teeth prize both zest and pulp from the fruit more efficiently than any microplane.

So lemon was an obvious answer when my mother-in-law asked what the boy would prefer in his birthday dessert. Because pies tend to showcase berries better than cakes, we had almost settled on lemon-blueberry pie. But a change in plans disqualifies her as this year’s baker, and my homemade pie crust isn’t quite up to snuff.

This brown betty could be the answer. Baked in a 9-inch round pan, it almost mimics a single-layer cake. Layers of sugar, fruit and buttered bread crumbs define this preparation, which has graced American tables since Colonial times.

Although the brown betty tends to show up in fall as a backdrop for apples and pears, the Kansas City Star recently reinvented it for late spring and early summer enjoyment. I likely wouldn’t bother to purchase lemon-flavored yogurt and instead use Nancy’s plain whole-milk yogurt, which has staple status in my fridge. A bit more lemon zest, juice or even lemon extract would keep this dessert slightly tangy.

Tribune News Service photo

Lemon-Blueberry Brown Betty

1 slice whole-wheat bread

2 tablespoons plus 1/3 cup sugar, divided

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 tablespoon cold unsalted butter, cut in fourths

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Dash salt

1 (6-ounce) carton low-fat lemon yogurt

2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil

Grated zest of 1 lemon

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries

Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray a 9-inch round cake pan with nonstick spray.

Tear the bread into quarters and place in thework bowl of a food processor. Pulse until bread forms even crumbs. Add the 2 tablespoons sugar and the cinnamon. Pulse to combine. Add the butter and pulse until evenly cut into crumb mixture. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, the 1/3 cup sugar, the soda and salt.

In a small bowl, whisk together the yogurt, oil, lemon zest and lemon juice. Pour yogurt mixture into flour mixture and stir until combined. Spoon into prepared pan and spread to coat bottom of pan evenly.

Arrange blueberries evenly over batter in pan. Sprinkle with breadcrumb mixture.

Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes or until pick inserted in center comes out clean.

Serve warm. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Recipe developed for The Star by Kansas City-based professional home economists Kathy Moore and Roxanne Wyss.

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    Sarah Lemon

    Sarah Lemon covers the Rogue Valley’s food scene with an enthusiasm that rivals her love of cooking. Her blog mixes culinary musings and milestones with tips and recipes you won’t find in the Mail Tribune’s weekly A la Carte section. When ... Read Full
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