Food for Thought: Berry Good

Food for Thought

By Jean Hecker

A Columnist for the Newspaper

Some things in life take perseverance, but the results are all the more rewarding.
Our family has always had a dog. When Mom and Dad were first married, they had a black Cocker Spaniel named Butchie, and when we were kids we had a blonde Cocker Spaniel named Taffy. After that we had several Springer Spaniels all named Missy Joy. All had their own personalities and temperaments, and we loved them all.
When I got my own house, I adopted a blonde Cocker Spaniel from the SPCA that I named Richie and later on got another dog, a Springer Spaniel that I still have. She has been to a few vets and her chronic issues have always been allergies manifesting themselves in constant itching and scratching. Every night when I came home, she would sit in front of the TV and just scratch and scratch and it made me a wreck. I tried everything to no avail. Finally, I took her to the Buena Animal Clinic on Oak Road in Vineland and miracle of miracles, Dr. La Torre prescribed a new pill that has totally eliminated her scratching!
I guess it just takes perseverance to solve most problems and most of all the resolve not to give up! Thank you, Dr. La Torre, and the entire staff of the clinic! I even took my outside cat there for an upper respiratory problem and “Dr. Cat” fixed her right up, too! If you are going to have pets, then you’ve got to take care of them.
This month’s recipe reflects the spirit of perseverance because if you want something great, then you have to work for it. And this recipe is certainly worth the effort!
Blueberry Meringue Cake
(Make this cake with any fresh berries you wish!)
For the cake:
Softened butter and flour, for the pan
1 1/3 cups (185 g) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
Pinch of fine sea or table salt
14 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at cool room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
For the topping:
Grated zest of a half lemon
6 large egg whites, at room temperature
1 cup plus 2 tbsp. (225 g) granulated sugar
4 cups fresh blueberries or other fresh berries
3 tbsp. confectioner’s sugar
Heat oven to 350'F. Oven rack should be in the middle of the oven. Butter and flour a 13 x 9 inch baking pan.
To make the cake: Stir the flour, baking powder, and salt to combine; set aside. Beat the butter in a medium bowl with an electric mixer set on high speed until smooth. Add the sugar and beat until light in color and texture, about 3 minutes. One at a time, beat in the eggs, then the vanilla. On low speed, in two additions, beat in the flour mixture. Beat in the lemon juice and zest.
Spread evenly in the pan. Bake until golden and the top springs back when pressed in the center, about 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and toss berries with confectioner’s sugar, then spread the berries over the cake. Set aside while making the meringue. Increase the oven temperature to 450°F/230ºC.
To make the topping: Clean the mixer beaters well. Beat the egg whites with the mixer on high speed in a grease-free, large bowl until they form soft peaks. Gradually beat in the sugar until the whites are stiff and shiny. Spread the meringue evenly over the blueberries. Bake cake until it is lightly tipped with brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Cool completely on a wire cake rack. Enjoy!
Jean Hecker is a full-time travel agent at Magic Carpet Travels and a part-time foodie. She has a BA in Home Economics Education from Rowan University and enjoys exploring all facets of the food and restaurant industry.