It took three attempts before we stuck. The first involved a highly publicized yet embarrassingly tame flirting incident in the library during 9th grade English class. The chemistry was electric but the fact that he was currently coupled combined with the workings of a few overly dramatic gossip mills, brought that to a swift end. The next time, two years later, we arrived both recently single. I was a junior and had just finished committing social suicide by dating a <gasp> freshman and was on the hunt for a guy that could repair my image. He – a popular baseball player – fit the bill nicely. But with no teenage gossip to fuel us and phone conversations that revolved around his love of the Simpsons and my equally interesting obsession with No Doubt, we called it quits as it had just begun.
By the time attempt number three rolled around we had both been through our share of broken hearts and those painful but necessary milestones – death, illness and loss – that bring childhood to its untimely end. And whether it was because we had grown up just a little bit or an instance of right time and place, the third try was indeed the charm.
It’s been almost 9 years of love and companionship – one and a half of those married – and we often hear from well-meaning people, shocked at how long we’ve been together, that marriage in your twenties puts a limit on your independence, freedom and growth. We smile politely knowing all the while that for us nothing could be farther from the truth. Because we have wonderfully independent lives but with an added bonus – someone to push us harder and dream bigger than we would ourselves.
Our yin and yang personalities translate into wonderfully opposite rhythms in daily life. It’s an equation that prohibits either of us from falling too deeply in a rut. His bad day at work is countered by a success in mine or a bit of troubling news with my family or friends yields a celebration with his. We fight over watching anything on Bravo or CSPAN’s Book News and we laugh at my militant kitchen organization and his lifelong love affair with Hanes bagged white t-shirts. While I pout next to my batch of gooey undercooked brownies, he dives straight into the pan’s center for a scoop of raw batter. Because we all lose the faith sometimes – the trick is finding someone with the unique ability to pick up your slack.
The minute I saw this recipe for Blueberry Pudding Cake, I knew it was a dessert that my batter bowl licking mate would love. Even when completely cooked, the batter resembles something closer to a clafouti than proper cake. This easy dessert is simply divine served warm with a spoon and a melting plop of vanilla ice cream.
Blueberry Pudding Cake
Adapted from Gourmet, July 2005
1/3 cup plus 1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1 Tb lemon juice
1 tsp cornstarch
10 oz blueberries (aprx 2 cups)
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 3/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 large egg
1/2 cup whole milk
1 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 tsp vanilla
Vanilla ice cream
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 9-inch square baking pan. In a small saucepan, stir together 1/3 cup sugar with water, lemon juice and cornstarch. Stir in the blueberries and bring the mixture to a simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and remaining 1/2 cup of sugar. In another bowl, whisk together egg, milk, butter and vanilla. Then add the flour mixture to the egg mixture, whisking to combine.
3. Pour batter into the baking pan, spreading evenly, then pour blueberry mixture over the batter. The berries will sink into the batter. Bake for 25-30 minutes , or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Coll on a rack, 5 minutes.
Serve warm scooped into mugs or bowls, topped with vanilla ice cream.