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EATING well

Find your thrill with this blueberry shortcake recipe

By SARA MOULTON

For the Associated Press

Toward the end of every summer, my family and I abandon New York City for my parents' Massachusetts farmhouse, where the fields out back are lined with blueberry bushes. Some seasons, I've had to dream up recipes to use up the bounty such as this one, which is more about the berries than the crust.

And that has an added benefit. Not only does a berry-centric dessert use up a berry abundance, it also produces a healthier dessert. In most pies and baked treats, the bulk of the fat and calories come from the crust or cake involved.

Here, there are just three layers of baked phyllo dough cut into squares. Phyllo is a paper-thin flour dough that is extremely low in fat. It's typically found in the freezer section near the pie crusts.

As for the berries, I love them raw and cooked, which is why this recipe includes the title fruit in both of those states. I wanted to highlight a raw blueberry's greatest charms, its deep juiciness and the way it explodes in your mouth. To finish it off, I added lemon and cinnamon.

A few recipe notes for you:

• You will use only three sheets of phyllo, so roll up the rest, wrap tightly in plastic, then in foil, and put it back in the freezer.

• Use a pizza wheel to cut the dough, as it won't pull at and tear the delicate phyllo the way a knife can.

• Keep a close eye on the phyllo squares as they bake; they brown up very quickly.

• This dessert is scrumptious, but it's a little messy to eat. Serve it with a knife, fork and spoon.

CRISP BLUEBERRY SHORTCAKES

Start to finish: 30 minutes

Servings: 6

1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

3 sheets phyllo dough, trimmed to 12 by 16 inches

Cooking spray

1 tablespoon cornstarch

Pinch table salt

1/3 cup water

2 cups fresh blueberries, divided

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest

Low-fat vanilla yogurt, to garnish, if desired

Heat the oven to 400 degrees.

In a small bowl, combine 1 tablespoon of the sugar with the cinnamon.

Lay 1 phyllo sheet flat on a baking sheet, keeping the remaining phyllo sheets covered with plastic wrap and a damp kitchen towel. Spray the phyllo sheet lightly with the cooking spray, then sprinkle it with 1 teaspoon of the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Layer a second sheet of phyllo over the first, coat it with cooking spray and sprinkle with another teaspoon of the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Repeat with the final sheet of phyllo.

Cut the stacked phyllo into 12 4-inch squares, leaving them on the baking sheet. Bake until crisp and golden brown, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a rack and let cool.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan stir together the remaining 1/3 cup sugar, the cornstarch and salt. Whisk in the water. Add 1/2 cup of the blueberries and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture comes to a full boil, the berries have popped and the sauce has thickened. Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon juice and zest. In a medium bowl, combine the thickened sauce with the remaining blueberries.

To serve, arrange 6 of the phyllo crisps on individual serving plates. Divide the blueberry mixture among them, spooning it over each. Top each with a second crisp. Serve topped with a spoonful of vanilla yogurt, if desired. They also can be sprinkled with powdered sugar or additional cinnamon.

Nutritional information per serving: 110 calories (15 calories from fat, 14 percent of total calories), 1.5g fat (0g saturated, 0g trans fats), 0mg cholesterol, 25g carbohydrates, 1g protein, 1g fiber, 80mg sodium.

Find your thrill with this blueberry shortcake recipe 08/24/12 [Last modified: Friday, August 24, 2012 5:30am]

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