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Joy of Baking

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July 2, 2008

In these biscuits, dark pools of blueberry lend a concentrated flavor to the pleasingly gritty interior. They rise beautifully and turn golden in the oven, announcing that berry season is in full swing.

The biscuits are made with baking powder, baking soda, cream of tartar, plenty of butter, buttermilk, and only a little sugar. Mix them the old-fashioned way: in a bowl with a pastry blender or two blunt knives. To keep the berries from turning pulpy in the dough, freeze them for half an hour until they are firm and marblelike. Stir them in, and then work quickly to bring the dough together. Roll it into a thick slab and with a straight-edged chef's knife, cut out rectangles.

You can buy two kinds of cornmeal: fine-textured and degerminated or stoneground. Fine cornmeal creates a higher, lighter biscuit; stoneground cornmeal yields a slightly more craggy biscuit with an earthier texture that's a bit crumbly. Stoneground also packs more corn flavor.

A tray of blueberry biscuits adds sparkle to a weekend breakfast, but they're just as welcome on the dinner table. Turn warm, split biscuits into dessert shortcakes by spooning more sugared blueberries on top. In that case, pass the heavy cream. - LISA YOCKELSON

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