Pick me a blueberry.
In my canoeberry.
“Under the bridge
And over the dam
Looking for berries
Berries for jam.”
– from Jamberry by Bruce Degen
When the girls were small, Jamberry was one of our favourite books to read together. The rhymes are fun to read, and the pictures are irresistible – a little boy and his bear friend riding a canoe through rapids of blueberries, with marshmallows growing on reeds and bread on tree branches. (Now that I think of it, it sounds like a junior version of “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”.) Who wouldn’t want to live in a world full of berries?
I remembered that book again when I was given a gift of berries. Last week I wrote about the flooding in our basement, and how the silver lining was all the kindness and concern that people showed us. It happened again a few days ago, when my dear neighbour Jayne-Ann brought over some berries that she’d picked for us at her cottage.
I didn’t make these berries into jam, but I did turn them into a wonderful batch of blueberry bars. Fruit desserts are my favourites, and the more fruit that I can pack in the better. These bars hit the mark – not too sweet, and oozing with juicy berries.
“Mountains and fountains
Rain down on me
Buried in berries
What a jam jamboree!”
– from Jamberry, Bruce Degen
Blueberry Lemon Bars
(adapted from Smitten Kitchen)
1/2 cup white sugar (first amount)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
Zest and juice of half a lemon
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter (1 stick)
1/4 cup white sugar (second amount)
2 tsp cornstarch
2 cups fresh blueberries
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line an 8″ x 8″ pan with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, stir together 1/2 cup sugar, flour, and baking powder. Mix in salt and lemon zest. Use a fork or pastry cutter to blend in the butter and egg. Dough will be crumbly. Pat two-thirds of the dough into the prepared pan.
In another bowl, stir together the sugar and cornstarch. Gently mix in the blueberries, then toss with the lemon juice. Sprinkle the blueberry mixture evenly over the crust. Crumble remaining dough over the berry layer and pat gently into place.
Bake in preheated oven for 35 minutes. Cool completely before cutting into squares.