I’m always amazed at the results of a pot luck supper. No one is coordinating the menu, no one insisting that all the dishes be low cal or have lemon in them or come from Pakistani cuisine – and yet, somehow we avoid the scenario with four kinds of starch or three fruit salads and no protein, or maybe all white foods.
The one that most boggles me is my book group. Every month, anywhere from 12 to 16 women show up, each with a dish of some sort and no prior planning. Somehow, it always produces a well-balanced selection of foods, from appetizers to desserts. I’m reminded of that ancient joke about the thermos, that it keeps cold things cold and hot things hot – so how does it know?
My latest pot luck experience was with the women from my former neighborhood in New Jersey. Anne brought tomato-mozzarella-basil bruschetta and a fruit-and-spinach salad; I contributed my now-standard homemade ricotta with herbs and a corn salad; the hostess, Claudia, made pork kabobs and a delicious rice (the recipe for which I will post another day); and Henrietta brought grilled vegetables and an amazing blueberry yummy thing for dessert. Turns out it’s from the famous Magnolia Bakery in New York, so the yummy part is “of course.” So light and creamy and fresh that I would have had more had it not been in the other room, but someone had the good sense to leave it in the frig. You had better do the same if you don’t want it scarfed down before dinner is even served.
It’s very straightforward and easy to make, although Hen wrestled with the pecan measurement and claims she will one day have to measure 1 cup of toasted pecans, chopped, versus 1 cup chopped toasted pecans!
For the blueberry topping –
3½ cups fresh blueberries
¼ cup granulated sugar
⅛ cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon + 1½ teaspoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon + 1½ teaspoon water
¾ teaspoon lemon zest
For the crust –
¾ cup (1½ sticks) unsalted butter
2 cups flour
1 cup toasted pecans, chopped
For the filling –
2 cups heavy cream
1 pound cream cheese, room temperature, cut into chunks
2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
Prepare blueberry topping: In a large pot combine 1½ cups of the blueberries and both sugars. Cook at medium-high heat, stirring constantly until sugar is combined and blueberries start to pop and come to a boil.
Dissolve cornstarch in water. Add cornstarch/water mixture to the pot and stir until mixture becomes thick. Remove from the heat and stir in remaining blueberries, combining gently. Add in the lemon zest and continue to combine gently and fully. Cool to room temperature and refrigerate until ready to use.
Prepare the crust: Melt butter and combine with flour and pecans. Butter a 9" x 13" rectangular glass dish and press crust into it. Bake at 325°F for about 15 minutes or until it just starts to lightly brown. Cool to room temperature.
Prepare the filling and assemble: Whip heavy cream and set aside.
Meanwhile, in a mixer bowl, beat together cream cheese and confectioners' sugar. Fold whipped cream into cream cheese mixture until combined and then spread onto cooled crust. Top with a thin layer of blueberry topping, about 4 cups. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until set.