. . .
2.0 and I have a routine when we go to visit his mummy, Jackie, by the ocean. We enter the house. 2.0 runs to the washroom yelling, “why did you let me drink all of that coffee before the drive?” Jackie shakes her head. 2.0 pillages his mummy’s refrigerator and cupboards for snacks. I settle in at the kitchen table. 2.0 tells his mother that he is very hungry because I never feed him. Jackie nods. I sit with Jackie and write out recipes while catching up on Ocean Family news. 2.0 does some chores on the property, running back into the house on occasion to tell his mother about how he’s still pretty hungry because I won’t let him eat breakfast. Or lunch. Or anything he likes, really. Jackie says that it must be horrible here at the Cat Farm. He nods, and then runs away before I can punch him in the throat.
As mentioned previously, these recipes that I find at Jackie’s house are really just shopping lists. This is because in the days of yore, people didn’t need instructions. They didn’t have televisions or electricity, and they just knew about creaming butter and stuff. And as I write the shopping lists down, I ask Jackie how she has prepared them in the past. We’ll sometimes come up with a rough procedure, so
dummies like you will be able to follow along. I always try to find out where the recipe concept came from originally. Jackie will say, oh, that was so-and-so from such-and-such a place. But she’ll use the actual names and stuff. So when I asked about this particular recipe, she told me it came from Aggie Donovan. For a long time, 2.0 and his family lived in Ingonish, which is in Cape Breton. That’s where they met Aggie. Aggie was 2.0’s grade 2 teacher. That means she would have had the pleasure of seeing 2.0 when he had bangs.
When I tested the recipe for these squares, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I knew that 2.0 had always loved them, but he described them very vaguely. He failed to mention the meringue topping, but I’ll tell you: there’s a brown sugar meringue topping. He didn’t mention that the base of the square is thin and caky, and that the whole thing tastes light and airy – no one flavour dominates this tasty little ditty. 2.0 also failed to mention that these squares are so light and airy that you could probably eat the whole pan by yourself. In 15 minutes.
I’m going to have to insist that you try these babies, asap. When you’re alone. And don’t have to share them with anyone else.
. . .
Blueberry Squares – adapted from a family recipe handed down to me by Jackie Huskins, which she acquired from Aggie Donovan – print, bake and try not to eat the whole pan in one sitting
Makes one 8 x 8 inch (20 x 20 cm) pan.
For the batter:
- 3/4 cup flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons butter, room temperature
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 large egg, separated (you will use the yolk in the batter, and the egg white for the topping)
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
For the topping:
- 1 egg white
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen – do not defrost if using frozen)
Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease one 8 x 8 inch (20 x 20 cm) baking pan.
Begin by preparing the batter. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking power and salt. Set aside.
In a stand mixer on medium speed (or with a hand held mixer), beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes). Add the egg yolk and beat to combine (about 30 seconds). Add the milk and vanilla and mix on medium-low speed to combine (about 1 minute). Scrape down the sides of the bowl to be sure all ingredients have been combined.
Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, and beat on medium speed until well combined (1-2 minutes).
Spread the batter evenly into the bottom of the baking pan.
To make the topping, beat the egg white until stiff. Gently mix in the brown sugar until combined. Fold in the blueberries. Spread evenly on top of the batter in baking pan.
Bake at 350°F (180°C) for 30 minutes. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack before cutting.