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Take a dip in springtime goodness

Anyone who knows me, knows I love dessert. In fact, earlier in my tenure as the writer of this column, one of my children (who was about 7 at the time) told his friends that, “I wrote a story every month for the paper about how much she loves dessert.”

Of course, I didn’t write about sweets every month, but he wasn’t wrong about how much I love sugar. Given a choice, I’d eat nothing but dessert all the time. In this fantasy universe of dessert, chocolate mousse would be heart healthy and a hot fudge sundae wouldn’t affect my cholesterol level. For days I felt virtuous, I’d eat nothing but banana cream pie. It has fruit, after all. Even in my fantasies, I’m not a monster.

I do enjoy other foods too, of course, and I’ve shared lots of my favorites on these pages. Years ago, I found that one of my favorite ways to enjoy a savory treat was in the form of a dip. Chips and even veggies (see, not a monster) make great dippers for all kinds of creamy, tangy, spicy deliciousness. So, I was intrigued when I ran across an idea that was something of a marriage between savory and sweet. I was sold when I learned that this particular combination of foods came in the form of a dip.

I can’t say the recipe here is exactly a health food, but it does feature blueberries – a well-known superfood. Honey does provide a kiss of sweetness, but the flavor of the fruit really shines through. The berries, cooked until they are soft and jam-like, are then served in a pillow of creamy cheese. The resulting dip is an almost perfect balance of savory and sweet. Just a few bites of this are lovely and satisfying without the sugar coma that results from some of my other favorite sweet treats. The flavor is reminiscent of cheesecake, but much lighter. It’s the perfect way to start a meal or round out a brunch buffet table.

The dippers you choose determine which of the flavors come forward in the dip. I, unsurprisingly, chose sweet dippers. Lightly sweet vanilla wafers hold just the right amount of dip and compliment the berries. For a crunchier take, pita chips are a perfect blank palette, with a saltiness that complements the flavors of the cheeses. Either way, it’s a new favorite snack or starter.

If the presentation of cheese topped with berries seems too fussy or simply won’t work for what you have planned, don’t hesitate to simply gently stir the mixtures together. Don’t whip the mix – you’ll lose the separate flavors that make this so fun to eat. Instead, leave pockets of cheese and blueberries undisturbed.

If you happen to have leftovers, this keeps well in the fridge for several days. It’s the perfect pick-me-up on a busy afternoon. I also find that scooping it up with graham crackers makes for a lovely way to start the day. Remember, this is a perfectly acceptable choice for breakfast – it has fruit, after all. This dish is a real-life fantasy – and I’m not a monster.

Blueberry Mascarpone Dip

1 ½ cup fresh blueberries

1 ½ Tbsp balsamic vinegar

2 Tbsp honey, divided

¾ cup mascarpone cheese

½ cup cream cheese

1 box of vanilla wafers (for dipping)

Bring the mascarpone and cream cheese to room temperature. In a saucepan, combine blueberries, vinegar and one tablespoon of honey and bring to a gentle boil. Turn the heat down and simmer for 8 minutes, then remove from heat and allow to cool. With a hand mixer, whip together the cream cheese and mascarpone until well combined. Arrange the cheese and honey mixture on a serving plate and top with cooled blueberries. Serve with vanilla wafers.


Article and photos by Lisa Crockett




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