What's for Breakfast?
Let's ask the experts at the Culinary Institute of America!
Blueberries make the meal! Toast, pancakes, muffins, eggs... every breakfast menu has to have them. But the breakfast offerings that diners remember, the ones they return for, have a signature twist. That’s where blueberries come in. They revitalize those dishes we know well and make them hard to resist. Would you like a blueberry bran muffin with your eggs, sir?
Breakfast and brunch provide myriad opportunities for upselling with blueberries. High-quality berries are available year round so you can menu them in every season. Blueberries add visual appeal, a healthy aura and a craveability that seals the deal.
"In muffins and other baked goods, fresh and frozen blueberries can easily sink to the bottom and also tend to explode when they get hot," Chef Samuel says. "This, however, can be avoided by substituting sugar-infused blueberries because they remain suspended in the batter during baking and maintain a more structured texture than their fresh or frozen counterparts."
Review your breakfast and brunch offerings to see where blueberries might add some spark. A few thoughts:
Breakfast & Brunch
Add fresh blueberries for lively color and juicy crunch.
Fluffy Blueberry-Ricotta Pancakes
Fold in egg whites for extra lightness, portion out batter on the griddle, then dot with fresh or (unthawed) frozen blueberries before turning. Dust with powdered sugar and serve with warm maple syrup.
1-½ cups part-skim ricotta cheese or drained small-curd cottage cheese
¼ cup butter, melted
4 egg yolks
½ cup flour
¼ cup sugar
2 teaspoons grated lemon peel (yellow part only)
8 egg whites
2 cups fresh blueberries
In a medium-sized bowl, combine ricotta, butter and egg yolks until blended
In a small bowl, stir together flour, sugar and lemon peel
Stir dry ingredients into ricotta mixture
In a medium-sized bowl, beat egg whites until they form soft peaks
Fold egg whites and then blueberries into batter
Over medium heat, form cakes by spooning ¼ cup of batter per pancake onto a hot lightly greased griddle or skillet
Cook cakes, turning once, until browned, about 4 minutes. Serve with Blueberry Ginger Sauce
Yield: 24 pancakes
Blueberry Ginger Sauce
In a large saucepan, combine
2 cups fresh blueberries
¼ cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon finely chopped crystalized ginger or ½ teaspoon dried ground ginger
Stir in 1⁄3 cup water
Over medium-high heat, bring to a boil
Cook and stir until sauce thickens, about 1 minute
YIELD: 1-½ cups
Blueberry Maple Syrup
Heat blueberries in maple syrup until they pop; thicken lightly with cornstarch whisked in cold water.
2 cups frozen or fresh blueberries
¾ cup maple or pancake syrup
1 teaspoon grated orange peel
1 tablespoon cornstarch
In a small saucepan combine blueberries, maple syrup and orange peel
In a small cup dissolve cornstarch in 2 tablespoons water
Add to blueberry mixture
Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture boils
Reduce heat and simmer until mixture thickens, about 1 minute
Serve warm over pancakes, French toast and waffles
Blueberry Yogurt Parfait
A great choice for customers on the run. Assemble in clear, recyclable cups so diners can see the layers: granola, vanilla yogurt, blueberries. Repeat. Mix it up by adding chopped peach plus coconut to the blueberries. Instead of granola, try crisp cereal or crushed graham crackers.
Replace the raisins with dried blueberries. Or top hot oatmeal with a colorful blueberry-fruit salad.
Blueberry Granola Bars
For coffee-bar customers, make grab-and-go granola bars with rolled oats, walnuts, whole-wheat flour, honey and frozen blueberries.
Blueberry Streusel Coffee Cake
Add fresh, frozen or sugar-infused dried blueberries to a favorite coffee-cake recipe. Top with almond streusel.
Blueberry French Toast Sandwich
Prepare a sandwich with sourdough bread, cream cheese and blueberries. Dip in egg and pan-fry like French toast.
1 package (3 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1-½ tablesoons confectioners’ sugar
1 package (about 12 ounces) frozen French Toast (6 slices)
¾ cup fresh blueberries
In bowl, stir together cream cheese and confectioners’ sugar
Heat French toast as package directs
Spread cream cheese mixture on French toast slices
Spoon blueberries over cream cheese on 3 slices
Cover with remaining slices
To serve: Place sandwiches on plates
Garnish with additional blueberries and confectioners’ sugar
This recipe may be doubled / Number of servings (yield): 3
Blueberry Bread Pudding
Repurpose day-old bread in a breakfast pudding with frozen blueberries, milk, eggs and bit of sugar. Drop in cream cheese cubes for extra creaminess.
Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins
Make super-wholesome muffins with quick-cooking oats and fresh, frozen or sugar-infused dried blueberries.
Mini Blueberry Scones
A two-bite version of the traditional scone, using packaged biscuit mix. Could these be the signature touch in your breakfast breadbasket?
Satisfy your health-conscious guests with a variation of this Swiss breakfast specialty featuring rolled oats and wheat germ softened in milk or yogurt. Stir in brown sugar, toasted nuts, dried blueberries and grated apple.
Blueberries & Sweet Treats
Classic or Cutting Edge? Like a little black dress, Little Blue Dynamos adapt to every occasion. You can dress them up for a high-style finale or use them in homespun desserts. They can go classic or contemporary, hot or cold. They remind diners of summer fruit stands yet have the appeal of a special treat. Pastry chefs know that blueberries play well with others, especially lemon, orange, almond, cassis, cinnamon, ginger and sour cream. And did someone say chocolate? Yes!
Heirloom desserts like shortcake and cobbler seem up-to-date when made with blueberries. It's like they came from Grandma's kitchen but from a Grandma with an eye for trends. Consider these fresh spins on old-time favorites:
- Blueberry Cassis Shortcake: a split biscuit layered with fresh blueberries, blueberry-cassis sauce and Chantilly cream
- Blueberry Cobbler: top sweetened blueberries with a cornbread or biscuit mix for a super-quick dessert
- Blueberry Parfait: layer blueberries and blueberry sauce with pudding or frozen yogurt; and crumbled oatmeal cookies, granola, vanilla wafers or sliced pound cake.
- Blueberry-Lemon Charlotte: Line molds with fat-free poundcake. Fill with a mousse of lemon gelatin, lowfat yogurt and blueberries. An elegant, skinny dessert to delight even diners not counting calories.
- Blueberry-Nectarine Crostata: A rustic Italian farmhouse tart made with the All-American berry.
- Blueberry-Apricot Pot Pies: The old-fashioned pot pie is today's hottest trend. Serve warm with an ice-cream option.
- Saucy Blueberries: Keep this easy refrigerated topping on hand for spooning over cheesecake, ice cream, frozen yogurt, rice pudding or as a super-quick foundation for smoothies and shakes.
Blueberries can also be fashion forward. Contemporary pastry chefs are flavoring blueberry compotes with savory herbs like bay leaf; spicing blueberry sauce [Dessert Waffles with Spiced Blueberry Sauce] with black pepper; and serving Blueberry Lemon Shooters in shot glasses to respond to the trend toward mini desserts.
In the hands of a creative pastry chef, blueberries can inspire some head-turning desserts, like a Blueberry Basmati Rice Pudding topped with whipped cream and a scoop of blueberry sorbet; or Chocolate Blueberry Clusters served in paper candy cups, a clever riff on the familiar chocolate-dipped strawberry.
Blueberries on the Rocks!
From juice bars to coffee bars to cocktail bars, the venues where Americans drink have become more diverse…and a lot more inventive. The "bar chef" movement has put the spotlight on the cocktail provider and challenged modern mixologists to get creative.
Customers are more open to novelty, too. Today's young people are fashionistas who seek new experiences and love sharing finds, such as a bar serving custom-made drinks. With or without alcohol, today's most memorable beverages offer excitement, color and adventure.
Blueberries — whether fresh, frozen or pureed — add contemporary energy to the beverage menu. In smoothies, spritzers, mojitos and other mixed drinks, they entice patrons looking for a taste encounter they can tell others about.
"Uncooked fresh and frozen blueberries in blended mixtures will gel within a few minutes of standing," says Chef Scott Samuel. "The natural pectin in the blueberries causes that to occur, but is avoidable by allowing the mixture to stand until it gels, and then re-blend or stir it until the mixture has regained a smooth consistency." He also notes, "Add an acid, such as lemon juice, to blueberries and you get a beautiful pink-to-magenta color that happens naturally. In fact, if you have a blueberry mixture that's gray or lavender, it means the pH of the environment is too basic. Add a bit of acid to brighten it up."
Consider these possibilities...
Blend blueberries (fresh or frozen) with yogurt, apple or orange juice and vanilla extract.
Blend fresh blueberries with frozen lemonade concentrate, diced melon and ice cubes. If it's five o'clock somewhere, add gin.
Blend fresh blueberries with lime juice, rum and ice.
Lime juice: 1-½ tablespoons
Frozen or fresh blueberries: ½ cup
Light rum: 1-½ ounces
Crushed ice: 1 cup
In an electric blender place lime juice, blueberries and rum
Blend until smooth
Add ice and blend until slushy
Garnish with blueberries skewered on picks circled with a strip of lime peel, if desired
YIELD: 1 cup
Muddle mint leaves, lime juice, sugar and blueberries. Add lemonade, rum, whole blueberries and a splash of soda.
Fresh mint leaves: 1 cup
Fresh lime juice: 1 tablespoon
Sugar: 1 teaspoon
Blueberries, fresh or frozen: 4 tablespoons, divided
Lemonade: ½ to ¾ cup
Light rum: 1 ounce
Dark rum: ½ ounce
Mint sprig for garnish
Lime slice for garnish
In a tall 16-ounce glass, add mint leaves, lime juice and sugar
Mash the ingredients with the back of a spoon or a “muddler” until fragrant
Add 2 tablespoons of the blueberries and mash until juicy
Fill the glass three-quarters with ice
Add lemonade until the glass is two-thirds full
Add splash of soda, light rum and remaining blueberries, stir
Slowly pour dark rum into the drink so it floats on top
Garnish with a sprig of mint and slice of lime
Number of servings (yield): 1
Blueberry ice cubes
Place 3 berries in each compartment of an ice-cube tray. Add water and freeze. Float in lemonade, iced tea or a gin-and-tonic.
Combine equal parts white wine and blueberry juice. Add sliced lemons and oranges, fresh blueberries and orange liqueur, if desired. Chill. Just before serving, stir in lemon-lime soda.
1-½ cups ready-to-serve blueberry juice
1-½ cups chilled white wine or apple juice
¼ cup orange-flavored liqueur, optional
1 orange, sliced
1 lemon, sliced
1 cup fresh blueberries
1-½ cups chilled lemon-lime soda, such as Sprite
Into a 2-quart pitcher, combine blueberry juice, wine and liqueur, if used
Add orange and lemon slices and fresh blueberries
Chill until ready to serve
Just before serving, stir in soda
Serve in tall glasses over ice cubes, if desired
YIELD: About 1 quart liquid / 6 servings