In summer when blueberries are plentiful, I eat them by the handful, especially in breakfast foods. I do adore them at other times of the day – in cakes, folded into crepes, or made into a syrup (with balsamic vinegar and sugar) to lavish on top of peaches or other fruit. But breakfast is when blueberries really make me smile.
There is nothing better than beginning the day with fresh blueberries on top of homemade granola or yogurt, or layered in a breakfast parfait. And for a special treat, they go fabulously on top of French toast, pancakes, and waffles.
For a change from “plain blueberries”, try them as a compote; the warmed berries exude a syrup that is naturally sweet, and yet many of the berries retain their shape so you can identify what you’re eating.
There is nothing easier than blueberry compote and you can prepare it in 3 to 5 minutes. It is healthy too – blueberries are packed with anthocyanins, compounds that are great for heart health. Plus, you don’t need to add sugar and the compote can replace sugared toppings, such as maple syrup.
How to Make Blueberry Compote or Syrup
- Making compote is more of a technique than a recipe. All it requires is a small pan (preferably non-stick if you hate cleaning up), a spoon, and a few handfuls of blueberries.
- Under a low to medium heat on the stovetop, put the blueberries in the pan and heat them, stirring gently as they warm. Watch them carefully. The trick is to catch them after they have rendered their juice and begun to soften, but before the blueberries totally disintegrate. From start to finish, the process takes no longer than a few minutes, so you can’t walk away (which you shouldn’t do anyway with pan on the stove) or get distracted.
Timing blueberry compote to finish at the same time as French toast (or pancakes or waffles) isn’t difficult. Make the egg-soaked toast or pancake/waffle batter before you start the compote and cook them side-by-side.
If you want to turn the compote into syrup, just keep stirring and cooking the berries until they disintegrate completely and the mixture becomes syrupy. You can turn make it smooth by straining the cooked berries through a sieve and discarding the remaining berry pulp – or saving it for a smoothie or other use. The thick, strained sauce is called coulis in French. You can make coulis with frozen fruits as I did for the Poke Cupcakes I filled with raspberry and kiwi coulis for Valentine’s Day.
But honestly, when you have fresh berries, it’s so much nicer to leave them recognizable.