Monday, March 29, 2010

Monday Meals with Mincie: Huckleberry Dessert

While huckleberries can be obtained elsewhere, those that grow wild in the forests of Washington state hold a special appeal.  Perhaps it's the thrill of the hunt, gathering them by hand, and the feeling of connection with those who picked them before us.  Perhaps it's the fond memories of picking expeditions in years past, but for me, it's the delicious dessert Mincie made for Easter each year, simply called Huckleberry Dessert.

After moving to Washington state, each August, when the huckleberries were ripe, Mincie and her family would make a trek to the mountains to gather huckleberries.  They would be carefully transported home and some were made into huckleberry pie while the rest were washed and frozen and saved for future pies, syrup, or hucklebery dessert.

Each year Mincie's family would gather on the Saturday before Easter to celebrate the holiday.  It was often the first cookout of the season, with grilled burgers, potato salad, lime jello salad, and pineapple grape koolaid becoming the traditional meal.  Easter egg hunts, using real boiled and colored eggs, were also part of the tradition.  Mincie's grown sons would hide eggs for the younger children to find and in later years as the younger children grew, they would also hide eggs for Mincie's grown sons to find.  After a rousing, competitive round of egg hunting, the family would enjoy the refreshing and deliciously sinful dessert known simply as Huckleberry Dessert.

Huckleberry Dessert
1 small box of vanilla wafers
2 T brown sugar
2 T butter
8 oz. pkg. cream cheese
1 can Eagle Brand Condensed Milk
lemon juice
1 T vanilla
2 C. berries (blueberries may be used in place of huckleberries)
1 stick of butter
2 C. powdered sugar
2 eggs
1 C. whipping cream
1/2 C. chopped nuts

First Step:  
1) Crush one small box vanilla wafers (Reserve 1/4 box for topping)

2) Mix 2 T each of brown sugar and butter and combine with vanilla wafer crumbs.

3) Mix and press into 9"X13" baking dish.
Second Step:
1) Whip 8 oz. of cream cheese until fluffy.

2) Gradually add 1 can of Eagle Brand Condensed Milk

3) Continue beating until well blended.

4) Add 1/3 C. lemon juice and 1 T vanilla.  Mix well.

5) Pour over crumbs and chill for one hour.
Third Step:
1 c. sugar
2/3 C. water
2 T cornstarch (4 if the berries are frozen)
1/2 C. berries
1 1/2 T butter
1 T lemon juice

1) Combine the above ingredients and cook the mixture until thick.  Cool, then add the remaining 1 1/2 C. of berries.

2) Pour the mixture with the berries added over the cream cheese mixture.

Fourth Step:
1) Cream 1 C. butter

2) Add below ingredients and beat well after adding each ingredient:

2 C. powdered sugar
2 eggs, one at a time
2 T. lemon juice

3) Once the above ingredients are thoroughly mixed, pour over the berry mixture.

Fifth Step:
1) Whip 1 C. whipping cream (unsweetened)

2) Spread it over the dessert

3) Sprinkle with the remaining crumbs & 1/2 C. chopped nuts.

4) Refrigerate for 2 hours (You can make it 2 or 3 days ahead. Stores well in refrigerator)

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