Blueberry & Coconut Vareniki

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This is a contest entry for Blueberries Meet Their Match.

A few years ago I went to visit my Dad and Step-Mother in North Carolina. (Gosh “Step-Mother” sounds so awful doesn’t it?) “My Dad’s Wife” sounds so impersonal, …how about I just call her Babusya (This is Ukrainian for Grandmother). My Dad met and became married with her while I was in adulthood (his third marriage) so I’ve gotten to know her over the years and I really love and enjoy her. Every time we talk or spend time together I like to learn about cultural differences, especially about food. She’s interesting to talk to. She’s smart, a hard worker-(she was a doctor in Ukraine before coming to America). Her Mother, who doesn’t speak English, was also visiting while I was there and I watched them prepare a wonderful dessert. She used the traditional technique of making pastry with a volcano of flour and a big knife.

Recently my Dad came to visit, but Babusya was not with him because she was in Ukraine visiting her mother who has been sick . I’m happy to report she is doing much better. I was missing them and thinking a lot about Ukrainian recipes!

So in thought of Babusya, and having the challenge on my mind of  coming up with a recipe that features both blueberries and coconut, I came up with a Blueberry and Coconut Vareniki. Traditionally, these dumplings as dessert are filled with cherries. I decided to keep it close to its origin, and not make it very sweet. Our desserts here in America are so sweet compared to other parts of the world. I wanted to create a recipe where we could have the sweet essence of coconut and the natural bursting flavor of fresh blueberries. OHhhh, I love blueberries. I have loved blueberries since I grew my first tooth. We are so lucky to have available to us big, fresh, juicy blueberries- even in the winter. I know there are a million health benefits to eating blueberries, but the greatest benefit, is the joy I get when I taste them. 🙂

These nutmeg dusted dumplings are filled with plump fresh blueberries coated in cinnamon and sugar, then poached in coconut milk, coconut rum, and finished off with a sprinkling of toasted coconut.

A little rum doesn’t hurt for this cold winter comfort food dish! Enjoy~ You can simply eliminate the coconut rum for a non-alcoholic version.

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Blueberry & Coconut Vareniki

1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus extra
1 egg
2 Tablespoons salted butter, cut in cubes
3 Tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3 Tablespoons plain yogurt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup fresh blueberries
1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut
1 can (13.5 ounce) coconut milk
1/2 cup coconut rum

1. In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the flour, egg, butter, 1 tsp sugar, and baking soda. Gradually add in the yogurt until a ball forms, more flour if necessary. Transfer the dough to a floured surface and with a floured rolling pin, roll dough until it is as THIN as possible without tearing, just less than 1/16 inch. Grate nutmeg over and roll a few more times. Cut into circles with a 3-inch cookie cutter.

2. In a medium bowl, stir together sugar and cinnamon. Wash blueberries and toss in the sugar mixture to coat. Set aside.

3. Place a large non-stick skillet on the stove at high heat. Toss the Shredded coconut in the hot skillet until lightly browned. Place on plate to cool, wipe out skillet.

4. Lifting each circle with your hands, dip your finger in the coconut milk, and moisten half of the inside rim around the inner edge. Place three big sugar-cinnamon coated blueberries on the center, and fold over into half moons. Pinch edges together.

5. Pour all of the coconut milk into the skillet, stir in the coconut rum. Turn to high heat until milk begins to boil. Place dumplings into the boiling milk and poach for 45 seconds on each side. Remove with a slotted spoon onto serving platter. Continue whisking and reducing the milk until it begins to thicken. Stir in a little extra rum if desired and pour hot coconut milk over the dumplings. Sprinkle on the toasted coconut flakes. Makes about 16, serves four to six.

 

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