Every summer we visit a local farm which offers "pick-your-own" blueberries. The berries at this farm are fairly small, but not as small as Maine wild blueberries, and packed with sweet, juicy flavor. These fritters exploit the delightful midnight-colored fruit. In fact, we've made this recipe with the large, tasteless (when raw) genetically-engineered berries available in the supermarket year-round, and boy, what a little cooking can do. Apparently blueberries taste a little sweeter after they've been exposed to the heat.

This recipe assumes that you have fresh berries (it just won't work right with frozen berries - at best, the fritters come out a gross green color, at worst, they come out mushy). Berries which were frozen fresh, without syrup (think loose, frozen blues in a plastic freezer bag) will do in a pinch. This recipe also assumes that you have a good-quality food processor. Good, light fritters are all about getting the wet and dry ingredients together rapidly, to form a lumpy dough that's very thick. Finally, the recipe assumes that you'll be in the mood to deep-fry food in the heat of the blueberry season.

Some bakers will be tempted to dust the blueberries with flour, as one does when making muffins or a cake. No need for the extra work in this case. Also, I've recommended using sugar in this recipe, but it can be omitted (although you're gonna deep-fry these things, so now ain't the time to become diet-conscious).

2 Cups All-Purpose White Flour

1 Tsp Salt

3 Tsp Double Acting Baking Powder (make sure it's not stale or these won't rise properly)

4 Tsp Sugar

5 Tablespoons butter, melted

1 cup of half-and-half or light cream

2 Eggs

1 cup of vanilla ice cream, melted

2 cups blueberries, washed and patted dry

Oil for deep-frying (I always use soy oil, however, peanut oil will result in a decadently amazing product)

Begin by placing the first four ingredients in the bowl of your food processor. Pulse the motor a few times so the dry ingredients are completely combined.

In a medium bowl, combine the butter, half-and-half, eggs, and melted ice cream. Stir rapidly with a fork to incorporate the eggs. Add this mixture to the dry ingredients in the bowl of the food processor and pulse for just a second or two. What you're going for here is the least amount of mixing action necessary to combine the ingredients into a lumpy batter. The batter will be very thick. Now, add the blueberries to the basket and pulse only until they're combined with the dough. Note: this batter is so thick it's one of the only things that makes my Cuisinart sweat a little. Yep, the motor will slow down a bit, but remember, you're going after incorporating the berries without cutting them up too much. The baking powder will start acting rapidly; the dough should rise to about 1.5 times it's original volume ("poof!"). I don't recommend taking the dough out of the food processor and folding in the berries, because that's too much handling for the dough. Remember: the less you handle the dough, the lighter your fritters will be!

Heat plenty of oil up in a skillet or large saucepan. The fritters need plenty of room to swim. The oil level should be about four inches up the side of the vessel you're using. Try to keep the heat at about 350 degrees fahrenheit. Warning: deep frying fat is very, very dangerous. Small children should be out of the room when you start frying fritters. And use care when dropping the fritters into the oil; it will spatter and it will hurt you, possibly seriously.

By now you've noticed that the volume of batter in the food processor bowl has started to increase dramatically. That's good! I can't stress strongly enough that this batter should be handled as little as possible. That's why you're going to scoop out the fritters right from the food processor bowl. This way, you handle the batter less, and there're fewer items to wash up later.

I use a small to medium ice cream scoop to scoop up the fritters and drop them in the hot oil. You can also just use a large spoon, and try to make the dough-ball falling off the spoon as round as possible (with moistened fingers). Some people use two large (larger than a tablespoon) spoons and work out a ball of dough between them, before dropping in the oil. Each fritter should be about 1/4 cup in volume.

Get a slotted spoon ready to work your fritters, and remove them from the oil. Fritters are really easy to deep-fry, because they float. When the side in the oil becomes approximately as dark brown as a brown paper grocery sack (approximately 2-3 minutes) tap the fritters on their sides with your spoon and they'll flip right over for you with a minimum of encouragement. Cook the other side 2 minutes. Drain the fritters on paper towels.

This recipe yields an even dozen fritters. Serve them with a dusting of powdered sugar, cinnamon sugar, or Vermont Maple syrup. And please, please, don't accuse me of foiling your diet!

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