Sunday, September 22, 2013

Blueberry Upside-Down Squares

Today we travel to the far northern fastnesses of Alaska to bring you Blueberry Upside Down Squares. We had a dinner party for some old friends on Saturday night. I paged through the book for a recipe that could be made ahead of time and wasn't too complicated or require chilling. In the New England section, all I have left is two kinds of plum pudding and mince pies, also Passover cheese blintzes. I'll get to the blintzes at some point, and the plum pudding and mince pies closer to Christmas. But mid September is not the time.
I finally found this, which I highly recommend. Go out to the store right now and buy the last of the highly expensive blueberries. It's a snap, and extremely tasty.
Hmm. While reading the recipe over in order to write this, I just discovered why it was so tasty. The recipe calls for 1/2 a cup of brown sugar and 1 tablespoon of butter. My eyes ran the two lines together, and I thought it said half a cup of butter. A tablespoon is just fine. However, I would advise upping the amount of grated orange peel. I needed two oranges to obtain the required 1/3 of a cup of orange juice, so I grated both the oranges and obtained two to three teaspoons of grated peel. It gave a nice tang to the pastry.
The finished product has a blueberry glaze on top, (if you are successful in inverting it over a plate and getting it to plop down neatly on said plate) and a sort of crispy shortbread on the bottom. I made the squares ahead of time. When I came to get them out of the pan, there was some resistance, so I just left them in there and served them with a mound of whipped cream on top. With all the whipped cream, it really didn't matter what was on top because the diners couldn't see it. Everyone seemed to like the squares, so I hope you will too. Let me know if you make them.
By the way, in my neck of the woods (Washington, DC) blueberries are now being sold in small containers, the size of a container of raspberries. One of these containers seems to hold about one cup of blueberries. I don't think you need to buy two containers (at $4 a clip) to get the proper effect. One will do, in my humble opinion. 

Blueberry Upside-Down Squares

1 1/2 cups blueberries
1/2 cup light brown sugar 
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup shortening
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 egg beaten
1 teaspoon (or more) grated orange rind
1 1/4 cups cake flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 cup orange juice
whipped cream

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Combine the blueberries, brown sugar and butter in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer five minutes. Turn into a greased eight-inch square baking pan.
3. Cream the shortening and granulated sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and orange rind.
4. Sift together the flour, salt and baking powder and add to batter alternately with the orange juice. Spoon batter over berries. Bake forty-five minutes or until done. Invert onto a plate. Cut into squares and serve warm, with whipped cream. Makes six servings. 

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