… With Fond Memories of Picking Maine’s Wild Blueberries!
When we lived on Long Island for four years while my kids were young and Mr. Daily Forage’s employer had relocated us from sunny So. California, we loved taking weekend getaway trips to explore the vast and varied adventures to be experienced along the East Coast. I have such fond memories of so many places we explored. One of my favorites was our summer trip to Maine.
My husband’s side of the family has roots in that beautifully green and lush state (at least it’s green during the short summer months they enjoy – this winter I’m believing our MN winter could rival any ME winter in history). One of his aunts had a large farm of XXX acres (don’t really know how many acres – seemed like 100+ to this city girl, my hubby thinks more like 20) of rolling hills, streams and babbling brooks, dark and mysterious woodlands, and lush tall grasses that our kids just loved rolling around in and feeling a bit more of nature’s wonder than could be experienced in their (at that time) hometown of Centerport. I must admit that hubby and I loved it as much, perhaps even more so, than the kids did, since we’d grown up in the hustle and bustle of larger city life and we coveted the day that we might reside in a more rustic place such as Aunt Blanche’s.
We have such special memories of that summer visit. We laughed and shared stories, and Mr. DF and I heard about family life that we’ll never personally know. Seeing shotguns hanging over the doorframe of the kitchen door into the mudroom, climbing on the well-used farm tractor, hearing that Uncle Joe had once shot a bear for meat, packed the limp, dead bear into the trunk of the old car, and driven back to the farm’s barn, only to find upon releasing the trunk latch that the bear was only stunned and not dead – and decided he was pretty darn torqued at being stung with the farmer’s gun. Can you imagine?? Yeah, almost wet my pants when I heard that story!!! (Makes me laugh pretty hard even writing this recall.)
One afternoon, Aunt Blanche said to us, “Come on, we’re going to pick blueberries!” She had a way – that common matter-of-fact Maine way – of speaking in blunt, this is the way it is and is going to be way of communicating, all the while the heart pouring out the love. So, of course, we went blueberry picking. The wild, overgrown row of plants that seemed to go on forever and possess more fresh, small, bright indigo blue/purple berries than I’d ever seen, and more than I’d probably ever see again even if I put all the blueberries eaten in my lifetime in one place. Colorful, pure abundance! And then I tasted them … and the amazement had just begun. How could such a small bit of fresh fruit be filled with such a “wham” of sweet, delicious, bold flavor. If that is a blueberry, what are those small, round balls of purplish-blue fruit sold in grocery stores labeled blueberries? Couldn’t possibly be the same beast, right? The just-plucked blueberries set me back a bit because I didn’t think I was particularly fond of this fruit. Hmm. So that’s what nature creates in fresh air, warm sunshine, only rainwater to nourish them, and no pesticides. WOW! As I put more in my mouth than in the basket provided to me for collecting these gems, I was quickly reminded by Aunt Blanche that too much of nature’s fruit can truly be too much of a good thing, and I’d better slow down my hand-over-fist consumption. (Looking back, I think she stopped me just in time.) I don’t really remember how many blueberries we ultimately collected, but I do wish the blue stains had lingered just a bit longer on my fingertips, to remind me of our precious time together.
Since that unforgettable summer vacation to Maine, from time to time something will cause us to recall this and other experiences fondly. The small, dried yet sweet blueberries I used in this recipe brought me right back to Aunt Blanche’s blueberry patch … and caused me to take pause for just a moment … and smile!
The dried blueberries offer a sweet, fruity, toothy chew to these tender scones. I like the way they contrast a bit and add a pleasant surprise in the bites where they’re found. I’m sure you could substitute fresh blueberries for dried with delicious results, just different results. The scone is more on the savory side and doesn’t contribute much sweetness, making it a nice change as a breakfast pastry from the sometimes overly sweet muffins. But, don’t get me wrong, I’d never diss a good muffin. For just a bit of extra texture and flavor, I’ve sparingly sprinkled them with some raw sugar for gentle crunch and a hint of maple. You can certainly leave this optional garnish off, if you prefer.
I hope you enjoyed journeying with me on a trip down memory lane to Aunt Blanche’s blueberry patch and farm. Do you have certain foods that transport you to a soft spot in your heart? I’d love to hear your memories!
Gluten-free, Dairy-free Blueberry Vanilla Cream Scones
Prep time: 10 minutes
Baking time: 28-33 minutes
Oven temperature: 400ºF
¾ cup minus 1 Tablespoon canned coconut milk
1 large egg
2 Tablespoons water
1 vanilla bean– I used Madagascar Bourbon from Trader Joe’s (any will work, but this had a rich flavor)
2 cups + 4 Tablespoons (240g) gluten-free, all-purpose flour, divided – I use Authentic Foods Bette’s Gourmet Four Flour Blend
¼ cup loosely packed brown sugar
1 ¼ teaspoon guar gum or xanthan gum – omit if your flour blend already contains it
1 teaspoon baking powder
2/3 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/3 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon kosher salt
6 Tablespoons frozen non-dairy margarine – I use Earth Balance Natural Buttery Spread – soy free
¼ cup dried blueberries
1 teaspoon raw sugar, optional
Preheat oven to 400ºF and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spray the inside of the ring (snapped closed) of a springform pan, then dust with 1 Tablespoon flour. Tap ring to remove excess flour. Set ring on parchment-lined pan. You won’t be using the bottom.
Combine milk, egg, and water. Cut the vanilla bean lengthwise from tip to tip, being careful not to cut through both sides. Scrape “caviar” or vanilla bean paste from the entire bean pod. Add to milk mixture. Stir well and set aside.
Whisk together 2 cups flour, sugar, guar gum, baking powder, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl.
Cut frozen margarine into the flour mixture with a pastry cutter or by pressing margarine and flour between fingertips repeatedly until pea-size pieces of margarine remain and mixture is crumbly. Stir in blueberries.
Pour milk/egg mixture (reserving 1 Tablespoon for later) into flour mixture and stir well to combine, until a damp ball forms. Dust 2 Tablespoons flour into the dough and stir until well incorporated.
Dust parchment paper with remaining flour and place dough ball onto pan. Pat into an 8-inch round and place springform ring around dough. Dough won’t touch edges of ring, that’s fine. The ring will keep the dough from spreading too much.
Brush top of dough with remaining 1 Tablespoon milk mixture and sprinkle with raw sugar, if using.
Bake on center rack of preheated 400ºF oven for 20 minutes. Remove from oven; slide knife around inside edge of pan to release dough from ring, then release ring and remove. You won’t need the ring again.
Cut scones into 8 triangles and gently slide every other wedge back from center slightly to expose all cut edges.
Return scones to oven and bake another 8-10 minutes, watching to make sure scones continue baking and drying slightly on edges without the top becoming too dark.
Remove from oven place pan on cooling rack, scones still on parchment. Let rest 5 minutes before serving. Remove any extra scones from parchment and let continue cooling on un-lined cooling rack.
Store in an airtight container for up to three days. Can be reheated in microwave for 10-20 seconds.
Safe food is a journey … Thrive!™
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This recipe appeared first on DailyForage.com and has been shared on Gluten-Free Fridays at VegetarianMamma.com.