If you can say that title 10 times fast, the summer temperatures haven’t gotten to you yet. Whether or not you are feeling a bit wilted from summer heat, you’ll enjoy this blueberry and balsamic vinegar-based dessert. If you’ve read ahead and noticed that the recipe includes freshly ground pepper, trust me. Although pepper isn’t a common ingredient in desserts, it adds just the right zip to this refreshing fruit with sauce dish. I love this recipe because the dessert is great on its own, or partnered with ice cream or cake.
I was originally drawn to the possibilities of matching fruit and balsamic vinegar when my son Liam brought back from a semester in Italy the marvelous combination of ripe strawberries dipped in balsamic vinegar. Later, I found a recipe on Epicurious from the late, great Gourmet magazine for balsamic blueberries and peaches that I’ve adapted to my own taste and renamed.
Balsamic blueberry blast – 4 servings. Total cost – less than $3.50 for entire desssert/$1 per serving
- 1 pint (small container of approximately 2 cups) blueberries
- 1 tablespoon light honey
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon orange juice
- 2 firm but ripe peaches or 1 pint strawberries
- freshly ground pepper
- Small pot
- Spoon (for stirring)
- Measuring spoons
- Measuring cup
- Cutting board
- Wash blueberries and peaches or strawberries. Set aside 1 cup of the blueberries in the pot and put the rest into the bowl.
- Cut peaches or strawberries. If cutting peaches, I find the best way is to make one slit halfway (through to pit, but not onto other side of peach), then a second slit at a diagonal to pull out one slice. From that opening, you can make single slits to make more slices.
Don’t be too concerned if it gets a bit messy – and be sure to scrape into the bowl where you’re putting the peaches any luscious juices that escape as you cut.
- Add the peaches or strawberries to the blueberries in the bowl.
- Add honey, balsamic vinegar, orange juice to the cup of blueberries in the small pot. (Use light honey because the darker types of honey have a more pronounced taste that will distract from the balsamic/fruit mixture.) If you don’t have honey, you can use 1 tablespoon of white sugar instead. Bring the mixture to a boil, lower the heat slightly (or it may boil over) and boil for 1 minute.
- Pour the mixture over blueberries and peaches or strawberries in the bowl. Mix the fruit gently with the sauce and add freshly ground pepper to taste. (I like about 4 twists from my pepper mill.)
- Let the mixture stand for about 30 minutes, then serve alone, or with ice cream or plain cake. This is one of the few times I prefer vanilla ice cream over chocolate and pound cake over something more flavorful.
Balsamic blueberry blast is delicious the next day, but it looks prettiest within a few hours after it is made. If you plan to use for an impressive dessert, boil the blueberry mixture just before dinner, then leave pour it over the fruit, so that it has time to soak into the fresh fruit as you dine. It does not need to be refrigerated for a few hours, so it can sit on the counter while you eat.