Summer is not complete without fresh berries. This dessert is the perfect dish to showcase one of my favorite fruits, the blueberry. Every summer I usually go berry picking with my family. This tradition started when I was a child and would go visit my Grandma who had huge blueberry bushes in her backyard. This is beautiful and light summer dessert to showcase at your dinner table. The bluish and purple color of the blueberry gives this dessert a vibrant burst of color and of course amazing flavor.
The blueberry is a great snack on its own and is bursting with nutrients. However, this dish is also a great way to enjoy excess blueberries. A one cup serving of blueberries provides only 84 calories, 3.6 grams of fiber, 21 grams of carbohydrates, and 114 mg of potassium, making this a great fruit for those with diabetes and kidney disease. The fiber in blueberries is pectin, which is a soluble fiber and can help to lower cholesterol levels. Blueberries get their bluish tint from the phytochemical, anthocyanins.
Blueberries are very easy to freeze. I often freeze up a bunch to enjoy later during the year when they are not in season. To preserve the best of summer follow these simple steps. Wash the blueberries and let dry in a single layer on a dish towel. Once dry, line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place blueberries on the baking sheet in a single layer. Place in the freezer overnight. The next day remove from the freezer and place into freezer safe storage containers. I usually use large zip lock bags. Freezing them in a single layer first will help prevent them from clumping together.
This dessert has a fun and artistic design making it a showpiece for any dinner party. The design is very simple to do. Simply dollop the cream cheese mixture on top of the blueberry filling and gently swirl a butter knife through the dollop. It creates a fun and whimsical design that will be sure to impress your guests.
These lightened up squares bring together the amazing flavors of lemons and blueberries. A tasty way to use up one summer’s most popular fruits, blueberries!
Blueberry Lemon Squares
Author: Brittany Sparks
Serving Size: 12 Squares
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Best if made the night before as mixture will take at least 5 hours to set up in the fridge.
2 Cups Vanilla Wafers, Low Fat (~32 cookies)
¼ Cup Slivered Almonds
1 Tbsp Brown Sugar
¼ Tsp Salt
2 Tsp Canola or Olive Oil
2 to 3 Tbsp Ice Water
2 Tbsp Water
2 Tsp Unflavored Gelatin
1/3 Cup Sugar, Granulated
3 Cups Blueberries (16-20 reserved for topping)
½ Cup Lemon Juice (about 2 lemons)
1 oz Cream Cheese, Low Fat
2 Tsp Confectioners’ Sugar
1 Tbsp Fat Free Milk
1 Tsp Lemon Zest
Optional ¼ Tsp Almond or Lemon Extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a food processor add the vanilla wafers, almonds, sugar and salt. Process until finely ground.
Slowly add in the oil and then the ice water until the mixture resembles wet sand.
Coat a 9 inch square baking dish with cooking spray. Press the crust mixture into the baking dish.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 12 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow it to cool.
In a small container add 2 Tbsp of water and sprinkle the gelatin on top. Give a quick stir to mix and set aside.
For the filling place the blueberries and lemon juice in a food processor and process until pureed. Transfer the mixture to a saucepan and add the sugar. Stir to combine.
Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until it starts to bubble, about 5 minutes.
Now add the gelatin, it should look like a rubber disc. Whisk over medium heat for about 3 to 4 minutes or until the gelatin is incorporated. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. Stir the mixture every so often to prevent a hard layer from forming on top.
Meanwhile, in a bowl place the cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar, milk and extract. Use a hand blender or whisk to blend together. Stir in the lemon zest.
Once the blueberry mixture reaches room temperature pour over the crust.
With a spoon dollop the cream cheese mixture over the blueberry filling. Using a butter knife, gently swirl the cream cheese dollops into the blueberry lemon topping.
Arrange remaining blueberries on top, so with each square you cut you will get a blueberry.
Cover with plastic wrap and place in fridge. Refrigerate for at least 5 hours to set up before slicing.