ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
Blueberries, not eggs, are the star of today's Found Recipes, in which people who cook share a favorite dish and the story behind it. For Chef Valerie Erwin, summer means blueberries. She's the owner of Geechee Girl Rice Cafe in Philadelphia. What's a Geechee?
VALERIE ERWIN: Geechees are the descendants of the enslaved Africans who live along the coast in the islands off South Carolina and Georgia.
SIEGEL: And Valerie Erwin's grandparents were from that area. She has a close-knit family in which siblings are best friends and their demands are sweet.
ERWIN: I have four sisters and whenever blueberries are in season, I always get asked to make one thing, and that's blueberry dumplings. You know, well, can't we have any blueberry dumplings?
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ERWIN: Blueberry dumplings are dumplings that are made similarly to the kind of dumplings that you would have with chicken and dumplings. It's made from a soft biscuit dough, dropped on top of sweetened stewed blueberries.
This is a recipe that I got from my great-aunt. It's my mother's aunt, my grandmother's sister. She came from Charleston with my grandmother and my grandfather in the '20s, and she lived just about maybe a mile and a half away from where we did in North Philadelphia.
It was the summer of probably 1964, I was 11. And my cousin who lived across town was visiting us for a couple of days. And we took the trolley to Aunt Lil's house and visited for a while. And then she gave us bowls of blueberry dumplings.
The minute I put a piece of the dumpling and a little of the blueberry sauce in my mouth, it was just mesmerizing.
It was so delicious and so unusual that it cemented everything else about that memory - that it was warm out; I remember that it was rainy; I remember that it was the middle of the day - things that I'm sure I would have forgotten if that dish hadn't been so delicious.
You have to wait to eat it until it cools off just a little bit. And in my family, we pour cold heavy cream over it, which makes it even more delicious and helps with the cooling.
Blueberry dumplings are the perfect summer recipe because, first of all, you can make it up in about 15 minutes, start to finish. You don't need to turn on an oven and you almost have to eat it right then if you want it to be delicious.
SIEGEL: That's Valerie Erwin, chef and owner of Geechee Girl Rice Cafe in Philadelphia, talking about blueberry dumplings. You can find the recipe on the Found Recipe page at NPR.org.