There’s a reason blueberries are a superfood. That deep blue color is from antioxidants that boost the immune system, prevent infections, and protect the brain and the heart from inflammation. They also can help reduce belly fat and fight urinary tract infections. Most importantly, they taste amazing. The best way to reap the healthy benefits of blueberries is to add them to everyday healthy recipes like oatmeal, smoothies, and salads, but they definitely have their place on my dessert menu.
Today I’m cooking from CookingLight’s Cooking through the Seasons, a personal favorite on my cookbook shelf. A couple of years ago when I made drastic changes in the kitchen to improve my health, CookingLight was a lifesaver. All of their recipes – online, in their magazine and cookbooks – include nutrition information, important since I was counting calories and limiting sodium. I also found that most of their recipes are also quick and simple to prepare, critical for realistic menu planning.
As I got healthier and my fitness goals evolved, I concentrated less on calorie content and more on what I was eating. A more active lifestyle required a diet higher in protein, and I found cutting out processed and chemically treated (non-organic) food really helped me stay lean. My diet is now about 80 percent lean protein, vegetables, and fruit, with the rest made up by fruit, grains, and the occasional dessert like this one. Eating locally and seasonally has naturally guided my eating habits in the right direction.
Cooking through the Seasons is a great resource. It highlights seasonally available ingredients – like asparagus and fava beans in spring – along with recipes and tips for preparing them. This Gingered Blueberry Shortcake recipe really is a gem. At a little over 300 calories per slice (about 350 in my version below, since I added extra whipped cream), it’s worth the sugar splurge and you’re still getting the health benefits of those beautiful fresh blueberries.
My husband and son recently returned from a visit to J’s hometown to find some of this shortbread waiting for them. It was a huge hit – enough that they ate it again for breakfast the next day. To reheat the shortbread, pop it in the toaster. Store any leftover blueberries and whipped cream in the refrigerator in separate airtight containers.
- 4 cups blueberries
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 6 tablespoons chilled butter, diced
- 4 tablespoons minced crystallized ginger
- ¾ cup milk
- 1 large egg white
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- ⅔ cup heavy whipping cream
- 4 tablespoons powdered sugar
- Preheat oven to 400°.
- Combine blueberries, 3 Tablespoons sugar and 1 Tablespoon lime juice in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat; cook 5 minutes, stirring, until berries begin to pop. Remove from heat and empty blueberries into a bowl. Set aside.
- Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a food processor; pulse to combine. Add butter and ginger to processor; pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal.
- Place mixture in a large bowl; add milk, stirring just until moist. Turn mixture out onto a floured surface. Press mixture into a 7-inch circle; cut into 8 wedges.
- Place wedges 1 inch apart on a greased baking sheet. Combine egg white and 1 tablespoon water in a small bowl. Lightly brush tops of wedges with egg white mixture; sprinkle with sugar.
- Bake at 400° for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.
- While, the shortcake is in the oven, make the whipped cream. Place a metal mixing bowl and metal whisk into the freezer for 15 minutes.
- Remove the metal bowl and whisk from the freezer. Pour the 4 Tablespoons sugar into the metal bowl and add the ⅔ cup whipping cream. Whisk just until the cream reaches stiff peaks - 2-3 minutes.
- Cut shortcakes in half horizontally; spoon ⅓ cup berry mixture over each bottom half. Top each with whipped cream; cover with shortcake tops.