Don’t get me wrong, I love my savory empañadas, but there comes a moment where sweet wins by a landside. If it’s summer time, then it’s a no brainer. Summer fruits at their peak make the best desserts. Peaches, plums, apricots, nectarines, raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, oh the choices! My favorite summertime pie or empanada filling has to be blueberry.
Several years ago, I came across a Spiced Blueberry Pie recipe in Sunset Magazine. I live by that recipe. Every summer I make a point to make the sweet and spicy berry pie and it always proves to be a crowd pleaser. If the masses like it, then you know it’s good! The combination of rich spices like cinnamon, cardamom, clove, ginger, nutmeg, and black pepper mixed with brown sugar and lemon juice create the sweetest spicy filling.
Baking, like cooking, is the best way to showcase the movement of cultural groups and their foodstuffs. No modern cuisine is exempt from outside influences. When I make my spiced blueberry empañadas I like to think that I’m tasting a little bit of every continent.
Spiced Blueberry Filling (Makes 12 large or 24 small empañadas)
- 2 pints fresh blueberries, rinsed and any remaining stems removed
- 1 1/2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/4 -1/2 cup packed brown sugar (depending on tartness of berries)
- 1 tbsp instant tapioca pearls
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 tsp ginger
- 1/2 tsp cardamom
- 1/4 tsp cloves
- In a small saucepan, combine all ingredients and cook over a medium-high heat. Stir often to incorporate all spices.
- Let fruit come to a boil, scraping sides of saucepan often. Once the fruit has thickened to the consistency of a thick pudding, turn off heat and let cool.
- Fruit mixture should cling to the side of a spoon. Mixture is done when it holds it shape as it falls back into the saucepan.
- Once cooled, refrigerate until ready to use.