Blueberry picking has been an annual summer tradition in my family for seven years now. As a Southern California native, berry picking was not an activity I grew up with. But fortunately for my kids, we were lucky enough to have the opportunity to move to Vancouver B.C. for a brief time when they were two. What a gift. While Blackberry bushes thickly lined the paths down to the sparkling sea, U-pick blueberry farms were only a short drive away – and we found ourselves taking that drive many times that summer.
Toting our wagon and sand buckets, we set forth to explore the incredible maze of blueberry bushes that lined the farm. Row upon row of thick bushes unfolded before us as we wandered, utterly mesmerized, by the heavy bunches of plump, warm blueberries - just ripe for the picking.
Over the years, though the location (and the perspective of the blueberry bush size) may have changed, the magic has not. Excitement still stirs as our minivan approaches the exit to the Blueberry Farm. The conversation each year inevitably repeats itself as we pull off onto the country road lined with summer crops: “Let’s make a pie first!” “I’m going to pick the most”.
One child fills his bucket with fresh, sun-warmed blueberries,
the other fills his stomach.
Some things, gratefully, will never change.
Though this simple ritual bitter-sweetly marks the passage of time, it is a tradition and a consistency we can all count on. With love.
And without further ado:
Blueberry & Challah Breakfast Bread Pudding
Special equipment: 4 individual size oven proof bowls (I use large ramekin style bowls that each fit 1 cup torn bread), 1 foil lined baking sheet
- 1 1/4 cup milk
- 3 eggs (room temperature)
- 1/4 tsp vanilla
- 1/8 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tbsp maple syrup (if making this for a dessert, increase maple syrup for desired sweetness)
- 4 lightly packed cups torn Challah Bread
- 1 1/3 cup medium/large blueberries (fresh or frozen)
- In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together milk, eggs, vanilla, cinnamon & maple syrup.
- Place oven proof bowls on foil lined baking sheet. Starting with blueberries, layer 1 cup torn bread and 1/3 cup blueberries in each bowl, repeating layers.
- Divide milk mixture evenly amongst bowls.
- Press bread down gently so that all bread absorbs the liquid.
- Cover each bowl with foil and let sit while oven preheats.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Place baking sheet with bowls in oven and bake covered for 45 minutes.
- Remove foil from bowls and bake an additional 15 minutes.
- Serve immediately.
Until next week…
© 2012, kimgerber. All rights reserved.