As the Fourth of July fast approaches, I keep flashing back to childhood memories of fruit-based desserts. When I was a kid, my aunts would bake up tarts and cakes using blueberries, strawberries and raspberries to celebrate Independence day. We'd eat these delicacies on paper plates with plastic forks, sitting flat on the driveway in summer dresses, waiting until the moment we could light off fireworks and play with sparklers. Because of that history, something about this light dish screams Independence day and hot July days to me. To my lovely and inspiring cousin Nilmini, happy happy birthday. And to everybody else in the U.S.A., Happy Independence Day! Enjoy the fireworks.
Blueberries with Cinnamon and Maple Whipped Cream
By Institute of Culinary Education, adapted by Alexandra Rogers
1 c. heavy whipping cream
5 Tbs maple syrup
2 cups fresh blueberries, washed and picked over
Wash 2 cups fresh blueberries and be sure to pick out any sour-looking, wrinkled or bright purple/pink blueberries. Lay the blueberries on a single later on paper towel so they dry.
Divide the blueberries between 4 wine glasses, placing about 1/2 cup blueberries in each glass. (Other glass containers work for this as well--but only use a container that can hold at least 1 cup).
In a medium bowl, beat heavy whipping cream until soft peaks form (see an example of soft peaks, here). Once soft peaks firm, add the maple syrup and beat until heavy whipping cream forms stiff peaks--or, basically, until it looks like real whipped cream.
Top each serving of blueberries with a light dust of cinnamon, then 2 spoonfuls of Maple whipped cream. Add one more light dusting of cinnamon atop the maple whipped cream and serve, immediately.
There will be extra maple whipped cream--I like to set it out in a bowl, alongside a jar of cinnamon, and let guests adjust for themselves. Serves about 4.