Like many Maine folks, our home becomes a literal “bed and breakfast” during the summer months. Family and friends from all spots of the globe relish a trip to our vacationland and beautiful island. Visiting with baby rabbits, picnicking at the shore, swimming in the cove, digging clams, foraging for mushrooms, picking wild blueberries, lobster bakes and cook-outs, they all come for the love of the nature, and for the FOOD.
Although my husband and I enjoy entertaining, planning the repasts, stocking the refrigerator and freezer, prepping the meals, and turning the house over for the next set of guests can become a bit tedious. Fortunately we have developed a few strategies that allow us to also enjoy our guests and Maine’s all-too-brief summer.
Lobster is always the most popular requested food item, so the first meal we usually treat folks to is steamed lobster, with plenty of extra lobsters. My mantra is: Cook once, Eat twice. Once picked, lobster meat easily becomes lobster rolls, lobster and mushroom pasta, lobster stew and lobster cheesecake.
Wild blueberries are a quick, easy, nutritious and delicious fruit enjoyed by all generations. Baked into muffins, pies or cobblers, sprinkled on granola or in salads with goat cheese and maple balsamic dressing, or used as a marinade for grilling meats, Maine’s iconic fruit is a kitchen staple. Now that the wild blueberry harvest is starting, my refrigerator is stocked with quarts of these tiny, intensely flavored berries.
Wild Blueberry Danish are an elegant addition to the breakfast table, a tasty mid-morning snack, or even a dessert when topped with vanilla ice cream. The key to their preparation is a trick that I learned while in the restaurant business; start with high-quality ingredients and keep it simple. This recipe uses just three things: your favorite wild blueberry jam, a local, Maine produced soft cheese like goat cheese, ricotta, or cream cheese, and an all-butter puff pastry.
For the flavors to really shine, all-butter puff pastry is the key. My favorite brand is DuFour, available at many food coops and specialty food stores. Once defrosted, this sheet of puff pastry can become a rustic apple tart, savory mushroom and lobster bites, or a dozen fruit Danish.
Once the Wild Blueberry Danish have been shaped, they can be refrigerated or frozen until ready to bake. Nothing is more welcoming that the aroma of freshly baked pastry, the creaminess of a delicate local cheese, and the delicious, sweet flavors of Maine wild blueberries. This summer, it’s time to Go Wild!
WILD BLUEBERRY DANISH
- 1 14 ounce piece puff pastry available in frozen section of markets (DuFour brand all butter pastry is best, Pepperidge Farm brand works)
- 4 ounces local Maine goat cheese or soft cheese
- ¼ cup Wild Blueberry Jam
- Assemble ingredients and tools. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Allow the puff pastry to defrost and come to room temperature.
- On a well-floured surface, roll the puff pastry out into a 16 inch by 16 inch piece.
- Cut into 12 squares, each 4 inches by 4 inches.
- On each square, place a tablespoon of goat cheese.
- Then add a teaspoon of wild blueberry jam.
- Bring the 2 opposite corners of the puff pastry together, and fold together along the edges. Repeat.
- The finished Danish will look like square with a cross.
- Bake until the Danish are golden, about 20 minutes.