Blueberry Boy Bait
Oh, blueberry season. Each year you arrive with the dog days of summer and stain our hands and mouths purple with your delicious, juicy fruit! Native to North America, blueberries come in two types — highbush and lowbush. The latter is what we think of as “wild” blueberries, and the great state of Maine produces 25% of all lowbush blueberries in North America. As a result, the wild blueberry is becoming as much a Maine symbol as the lobster, and each year all things blueberry are celebrated at the state’s annual Wild Blueberry Festival in Machias.
In my family we like to pick our own at Parlee Farms in Tyngsboro, MA, but if you don’t have time to pick you can usually get pre-picked cartons at the stand for a slightly higher price. The contents of the green cartons can then be turned into a variety of sweet, blue-studded treats like muffins, pies, donuts, and my favorite, Blueberry Boy Bait.
More than just a fun name that promises to ensnare your current heart’s desire, Blueberry Boy Bait is a juicy reward for an hour’s berry picking.
I wish I knew how it got its name, but like many of our regional dishes (hermits, cabinets, johnny cakes, blueberry buckle) the strange name is part of the dish’s charm. And if it helps you land a man (or woman, since I am sure it works both ways), all the more reason to get picking in the barrens and mixing in the kitchen.
To make Blueberry Boy Bait, a thick cake batter is topped (not mixed) with handfuls of fresh blueberries and a generous dusting of cinnamon and sugar. As it bakes it puffs up in the oven; the cake rising snug around the berries until they’re like eggs in a nest.
Sliced and served warm with coffee for breakfast, with vanilla ice cream for dessert, or just plain any old time for a snack, Blueberry Boy Bait is a great way to enjoy mid-summer’s finest fruit.
Pick more than you can eat or just want to make sure you enjoy your blueberries all year long? Freeze a batch! Arrange the unwashed berries in a single layer on a baking sheet, then freeze. Pour the frozen berries into freezer-safe containers and enjoy their bright summery flavor in February.