One day I was planning a menu for a dinner party that was going to take place the next evening. I knew that after work, I would have very little time to prepare the food before the guests were scheduled to arrive. With the main entrée items planned and ready to be assembled, I was stumped by the dessert. I needed something that was flavorful, likable by the “selective pallets” of my guests and could be easily prepared in advance. So I turned to my local farmers market for inspiration. For the most part, I can tell which vendors take pride in their harvest by how the produce is displayed under their tent. I was particularly attracted to a large display of blueberries perfectly arranged across a clothed table. Like a light bulb above my head, I flickered with excitement because I knew nothing would be easier, yet impressive, than angel food cake with homemade blueberry sauce and whipped cream. The angel food cake would be purchased at my local bakery and I already had heavy whipping cream chilling in my fridge.
To up the “impressive factor” of this dessert, I created a parfait by layering the angel food cake squares between the whipped cream and blueberry sauce in tall clear stemmed glasses. My guests were thrilled and raved about the concentrated flavor of the cooked blueberries with a hint of citrus from the orange zest. The most humorous part for me was when I went to grab my camera to photograph my latest dessert creation; they were gobbled up by the time I returned. Hearing the clanking of empty glasses was the best form of flattery that day.
Homemade Blueberry Sauce
1 pint of fresh blueberries
1 Tbl orange zest
3 Tbl juice of an orange
1 tsp vanilla
½ cup water
2/3 cup sugar
In a sauce pan, combine the fresh blueberries, orange zest, orange juice, water and sugar. Simmer over medium heat until the berries begin to burst and the sauce begins to coat the back of your spoon. Remove from the heat and add the vanilla. If the vanilla is added during the cooking process, the flavor dissipates from the heat. Allow the sauce to cool to room temperature before layering it with the angel food cake and whipped cream. Chill the assembled desserts in the fridge until ready to serve. Makes 6 – 8 desserts, depending on the size of your glasses.
Authors Note: The sugar content of blueberries tend to vary from pint to pint. I would recommend tasting the sauce for sweetness before adding the sugar. If the berries are particularly sweet, then reduce the amount of recommended sugar. Also, I thought it was so cute to watch a kid try to count the blueberries. I had to include the picture in my blog.