I discovered dried blueberries on the top of our cupboard in a paper bag from sugar – dating back to 1989… the ‘blueberries dried 1989’ inscription belongs to my Granny’s hand and that was the time when we were living all together with my grandparents – seven people all in all, with 2 small girls by the way. There are still some berries left, will see what to do with them later.
I rinsed the berries with boiling water several times and then soaked them in our Russian kind of brandy booze overnight, so in the spoon you see the already ‘treated’ version.
Because of this discovery, I turned Cranberry-Walnut Bread & Muffins from www.kingarthurflour.com (follow the link for the original recipe – love the addition of whole wheat flour in it!) into Blueberry-Hazelnut Muffins =)
I also added cardamom instead of the proposed vanilla and almond extracts. And, haha, as I have also recently discovered my Granny’s blueberry jam which I used almost entirely for Rugelach from zoebakes.com, I decided to boost my berry muffins with an even more distinct blueberry flavour, adding about half teaspoon of jam between the layers of batter. But the jam was rather heavy, I guess, so it sank to the bottom of the muffins while baking. Anyway, the result is far more than just satisfying!
By the way, remember that Fragrant Apple and Pear Tart I baked some weeks ago? The leftover pastry dough that was waiting its day in the fridge finally made its way to the oven in the form of …
… Swiss Easter Rice Tart from smittenkitchen.com (head there for the original recipe). Yep, I know it’s far past Easter, haha, but who cares=) And the recipe came to life also because I had some regular+brown rice leftovers (although made for lunch the rice was quite neutral), so I had the idea of combining two in some kind of a sweet rice pudding pastry pie, if such exists… and thus I ended up baking an Easter pie 😉 (see More on Smart Use of Leftovers on how to use rice leftovers in a truly Soviet way=). The pie is also huge although thin.
Apart from using already cooked white+brown rice and the pastry from another recipe, my alterations to the original recipe were: using ground walnuts+hazelnuts instead of almonds; adding some orange zest to lemon zest; omitting almond extract. I also scattered some semolina over the bottom of the cake (I mean, on to the pastry) before pouring the filling, as they say it preserves the crust from getting soggy. My pie took 40 mins to be ready, and although I was using the largest skillet I have, it was still less than the required 10” in diameter.
The result: I cannot say that I’m a fan of sweet rice puddings, I usually try to avoid them – for me rice is best in its usual form, so to say, cooked as it is or as risotto (this is also why I just do not understand sushi!). However, this pie is not your normal rice pudding. It has NUTS inside, by the way! It also reminded me of Pastiera Napoletana (I found the recipe at marmandefoods.com, but now that I checked it, the site does no longer exists… but I have it copied in my recipe archive, so if you want, just ask =) which I baked on the 31st of December for the New 2012 Year’s eve (popopopo, how the time runs…):
Keep baking and using smartly your leftovers!