A slice of sum­mer

For a new taste, serve blue­berry pie with a cin­na­mon French toast crust

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - FOOD - BY SARA MOUL­TON

Here’s a ridicu­lously sim­ple sum­mer dessert - the happy mar­riage of blue­berry pie and French toast with a lit­tle cin­na­mon sugar sprin­kled on top.

It’s per­fect not only for blue­berry lovers, but also for those home cooks who con­sider them­selves dessert-im­paired.

For all of their won­der­ful­ness, blue­ber­ries can be un­pre­dictable, even in sea­son. Some are sweet as candy. Oth­ers are tart enough to make your whole head pucker.

Nat­u­rally, then, when­ever you plan to make a recipe with blue­ber­ries, you have to start by tast­ing them. If the batch at hand is too sweet, ratchet up the acid in your recipe. If they’re too tart, add more of the sweet­ener.

My favourite blue­berry sweet­ener is maple syrup. The two go beau­ti­fully to­gether. But be sure that your maple syrup is ro­bust. Un­til just a few years ago, the strong­est-tast­ing maple syrup was la­beled Grade B. But then the la­belling sys­tem was changed. Now your eyes should be peeled for the words dark or ro­bust on the la­bel. In gen­eral, the darker the colour, the stronger the flavour.

The fill­ing is thick­ened with corn­starch, which has a ten­dency to clump up. Pre­vent clump­ing by care­fully mix­ing the corn­starch into the berry-and-maple-syrup mix­ture at the start of the recipe, then give it a sec­ond vigourous stir twothirds of the way through the bak­ing pe­riod.

One of this recipe’s bonuses is its ver­sa­til­ity. Evenings you can serve it hot, right out of the oven, topped with whipped cream or ice cream - and call it dessert. Morn­ings you can serve it cold, topped with yo­gurt - and call it break­fast. Ei­ther way, you’ll find it de­light­ful.

Blue­berry Pie with Cin­na­mon French Toast Crust

Start to fin­ish: 1 hour, 15 min­utes (30 ac­tive)

Serv­ings:4 cups blue­ber­ries6 1/3 cup dark maple syrup 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice 2 1/2 tbsp corn­starch 1/4 tsp ta­ble salt 2 large eggs, beaten lightly 1/3 cup whole milk 2 tsp vanilla ex­tract

6 slices home­made-style white or whole-wheat bread, crusts dis­carded

1 tbsp sugar 1 tsp cin­na­mon

Vanilla ice cream or whipped cream for gar­nish

Pre­heat oven to 400 F.

In a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate toss the blue­ber­ries with the maple syrup and the lemon juice. Com­bine the corn­starch and the salt in a small strainer and sift the mix­ture evenly over the blue­ber­ries. Stir the blue­ber­ries gen­tly, us­ing a rub­ber spat­ula un­til the corn­starch is dis­solved and evenly dis­trib­uted. Cover the pie plate with foil and bake the blue­ber­ries on the mid­dle shelf of the oven for 20 min­utes. Take the dish out of the oven, lift up the foil and stir the blue­ber­ries gen­tly with the rub­ber spat­ula, scrap­ing the bot­tom of the dish to mix ev­ery­thing well. Cover and bake an­other 10 min­utes.

In a bowl com­bine the eggs, milk and vanilla. Cut the bread slices in half di­ag­o­nally. In a small bowl com­bine the sugar and cin­na­mon. When the blue­ber­ries are done, re­move the foil and work­ing with one bread half at a time, dip the bread in the egg bat­ter, un­til it is well moist­ened but not soggy, let­ting the ex­cess bat­ter drip off and then place the slice on top of the blue­ber­ries. Con­tinue with the re­main­ing slices and the re­main­ing bat­ter, ar­rang­ing the slices in an over­lap­ping dec­o­ra­tive pat­tern. Sprin­kle the cin­na­mon sugar evenly over the bread slices and bake the pie for 12 to 15 min­utes or un­til the bread slices are golden brown. Serve right away topped ei­ther with the ice cream or the whipped cream.

Nutri­tion in­for­ma­tion per serv­ing: 235 calo­ries; 29 calo­ries from fat; 3 g fat (1 g sat­u­rated; 0 g trans fats); 73 mg choles­terol; 270 mg sodium; 47 g car­bo­hy­drate; 3 g fiber; 26 g sugar; 6 g protein.

AP PHOTO

Blue­berry pie gets a new look with a cin­na­mon french toast crust. This dish is from a recipe by Sara Moul­ton.

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