Sensational Summer Cocktails, Digging into Corn, Celebrating the Peak of Blueberry Season, and more.
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What's In Season//
Berry Good For You
The Fountain of Youth has been found, and it’s right next door in New Jersey. Throughout the state, a torrent of blueberries now is running at its deepest, juiciest height, spouting anti-aging, memory-saving phytochemicals right along with great flavor.
So found a Tufts University study, which noted that the properties that give the blueberry its color may also give it age-defying benefits. And that’s in addition to its cancer-fighting antioxidents, fiber, and vitamin C. Since New Jersey is the country’s second largest producer of blueberries, after Maine, we get first dibs. So pat on that firming cream, remember where you put the car keys, head out to the market, and let the feeding frenzy begin.
L’Anjou Patisserie (130 N Bedford Rd, Mount Kisco 914-242-4929) is a good place to start. Its shelves are a purple haze of blueberry tarts, mousse, cakes, and muffins, with even a salad thrown in for good measure. Chef/owner Patrice Yvon raves about the blueberry’s talents. “It has beautiful color and a texture that’s both crunchy and soft,” he says, alluding to its crisp skin and tender interior. He pairs the berries with vanilla custard, lemon curd, blueberry preserves, and other berries in a multitude of tarts, often adding a squeeze of lemon “to reinforce the berry’s flavor.” Lemon figures large in his blueberry muffins, the batter redolent with both zest and juice. Yvon’s showstopper is a three-berry mousse cake, cloaked in a satiny berry glaze. More plebian but no less visual is his blueberry, black bean, and mango salad spiked with red onion and cilantro. “The berry gives color, crunch, and sweetness,” he says, “and its skin keeps it from going soft.” You can, as Yvon does, dig out your bowls, pans, and tins, or, as I do, just dig into the berries.
Blueberries should be plump and unwrinkled, kept refrigerated for up to three days, and their grayish skin covering, called “bloom,” should not be washed off until ready to use. But you do have to pick yourself up and go buy them. Greenmarkets should be full to bursting by now, or the more intrepid among you can research farms at visitnjfarms.org, and go pick your own. Just hurry. The season is aging fast.
Courtesy of Patrice Yvon at L’Anjou Patisserie
½ cup heavy cream
1 Tbsp confectioner’s sugar
½ cup large egg whites (3 or 4)
1 cup granulated sugar
¼-oz packet unflavored gelatin
1¼ cups fresh blueberries, puréed until smooth
8 mint sprigs, for garnish (optional)
3 Tbsp fresh blueberries, for garnish (optional)
Combine heavy cream and confectioner’s sugar in medium bowl. With electric mixer, beat on medium speed until firm peaks form. Refrigerate.
In a large, clean bowl, beat egg whites at medium speed until soft peaks form. Gradually add ¼ cup granulated sugar and continue to beat until peaks are stiff but not dry.
In a medium saucepan, combine remaining ¾ cup sugar with 3 tablespoons water. Over low heat, stir until sugar dissolves, scraping down any crystals that cling to sides of pan. Increase heat to medium and bring to a boil without stirring. Cook until temperature on warmed candy thermometer reads 250˚F. Remove pan from heat; cool for 2 minutes. Put ¼ cup cold water in small bowl. Sprinkle gelatin over, wait 2 minutes, then stir to dissolve.
With mixer on, pour cooled sugar in a thin stream into beaten egg whites, beating constantly until mixture cools, 10 to 15 minutes (forming Italian meringue). Add gelatin mixture to egg-white mixture; continue beating for 5 minutes. Add blueberry purée, then beat for 2 minutes.
Fold 1/3 of the whipped cream into mixture, working in a circular motion from bottom to top of bowl. Repeat with remaining whipped cream, adding 1/3 at a time until fully incorporated. Transfer mousse to serving bowl and refrigerate at least 2 hours. Serve chilled, with mint and blueberries, if desired.