Homemade Desserts Dazzle with Fresh Blueberries

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Thanks to an abundant supply of fresh blueberries from Chile, Americans can now enjoy these tasty blueberries all winter long.

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"You can tell that fresh blueberries are chockfull of antioxidants because of their dark color. ‘Summer’ fresh from Chile in winter, they are a great way to combine the seasons," -- Lisa Hemenway, Chef.

Homemade desserts get a flavor and nutrition boost with the addition of fresh blueberries. Requiring no extra cutting, peeling or pitting blueberries offer a wonderfully easy taste and nutrition upgrade to any dessert, and thanks to an abundant supply of fresh blueberries from Chile, Americans can now enjoy these tasty blueberries all winter long.

A dearly beloved winter comfort food -- sweet warm bread pudding -- just got hitched to a fresh luscious summer-loving fruit: Blueberries. Fresh whole blueberries sparkle like jewels in a crown amid pillowy mounds of vanilla-scented custard-drenched bread dough in this brand new delectable dessert recipe. Best of all, it looks and tastes like a lot more work than it really is. Simply cut the French bread into squares, add to the custard ingredients and top with fresh blueberries.

Gorgeous Mini Blueberry Tarts look impressive, but are super easy to prepare. Pile luscious fresh blueberries onto a dollop of sweet custard nestled in mini puff pastry cups and you've got a sweet little treat that can swing from mid-morning brunch to afternoon coffee to after dinner dessert. A glaze of orange marmalade and a confetti of orange zest add a citrusy splash to the delicate flavor of the fresh blueberries. Blueberries give you a shortcut because they need no pitting, peeling or chopping. They're good to go as is. Blueberries from Chile, where it's summer when it's winter here make this delicious dish a year round favorite.

Why stop here? Impress your guests with your mindful additional of blueberries. "In addition to providing a healthy bounty of antioxidants -- which are proven to prevent cellular aging and offer protection against memory loss, stroke and several types of cancer -- blueberries also lower the risk of heart disease," says Dr. Steven Pratt, a noted nutrition expert and author of the book SuperFoodsRx. For more fresh blueberry recipes, photos and videos visit http://www.ChileanFruitOnline.com .

Fresh Blueberry Bread Pudding with Lemon Custard

Ingredients:
2 cups whole milk
6 eggs
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 cups French bread cut into 2-inch squares, crusts on
1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
3 tablespoons butter

Lemon Custard:
2 cups half and half
1 lemon, zest only
2 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions:

Bread Pudding
In large mixing bowl whisk together milk, eggs, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and salt. Add bread cubes. Let sit for 30 minutes to 2 hours. Add fresh blueberries. Pour mixture into a buttered 9 x 9-inch ovenproof dish. Top with bits of remaining butter.

Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 45-55 minutes or until the custard is set. Let pudding cool 15 minutes. Serve warm or room temperature with custard sauce. (click on video above to view).

Lemon Custard
In a small saucepan bring the half and half and zest to a boil. Remove from heat. Cover. Let steep for 15 minutes. In a medium bowl whisk together eggs and sugar until well blended. Slowly pour in half and half mixture. Return mixture to saucepan stirring constantly. Cook custard slowly until it reaches 170 degrees or until it coats the back of a metal spoon. Immediately pour custard through a fine sieve into a bowl. Add vanilla. Cover and chill.

Serve with pudding

Nutrients per portion:

Nutrients per serving: Calories 548, calories from fat 162, fat 18 gms, saturated fat 9 gms, cholesterol 223 mg, sodium 613 mg, dietary fiber 3 gms, protein 17 gms

Mini Blueberry Tarts with Orange Custard

Ingredients:
2 frozen puff pastry sheets, thawed
1cup fresh blueberries

Custard:
2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup sugar
1 orange, zest finely grated and juice strained
4 large egg yolks
1/4 cup cornstarch
pinch salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Garnish:
orange zest in strips
1/2 cup orange marmalade

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Lightly roll out each puff pastry sheet to a 9"x12" rectangle on a floured surface. Cut each sheet into 12 3x3-inch squares. Grease two 12-hole mini muffin pan cups. Place one pastry square into each cup. Prick the bottoms several times with a fork. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown and pastry is cooked completely. Remove from pans while warm. Transfer to a cooling rack. Cool before filling.

Orange Custard: In a medium, heavy saucepan, combine the milk, sugar, orange zest and juice. Bring to a gentle boil over medium heat, whisking to dissolve the sugar. Remove from the heat. In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and cornstarch until pale yellow, about 2 minutes. Slowly add 1/2 cup of the hot milk mixture to the egg yolks, whisking constantly until smooth. Add the egg yolk mixture to the pan of hot milk and whisk to combine. Return to medium heat and cook, stirring constantly with a metal spoon until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of the spoon, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat. Add salt and vanilla. Chill well before using.

To assemble; arrange tart shells on a tray, spoon in custard. Top with fresh blueberries. Heat marmalade in a small saucepan. Push marmalade through a strainer into a bowl. Lightly paint blueberries tops with marmalade. Top with orange zest. Serve chilled. Best when served within 12 hours.

Makes 24 mini tarts.

Nutrients per tart: Calories 87, calories from fat 27, fat 3 gms, saturated fat 1 gm, cholesterol 37 mg, sodium 23 mg, fiber 1 gm, protein 2 gms

Recipes and photos courtesy of the Chilean Fresh Fruit Association.

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Patricia Schneider
Patricia Schneider Associates
415-717-7595
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