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Giving pot stickers a sweet treatment

This Aug. 5 2013 phoshows blueberry pot stickers Concord N.H. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)

This Aug. 5, 2013 photo shows blueberry pot stickers in Concord, N.H. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)

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I have always been a huge fan of the Chinese dumplings known as pot stickers. They’re wonton wrappers filled with pork or shrimp, crisped up in a pan, steamed, re-crisped, then served with a dipping sauce. Yum!

Thinking about pot stickers recently, it occurred to me that if you swapped out the savory for something sweet, you’d have a dandy little dessert on your hands. And this time of year, when I think sweet, I think blueberries. They’re still thick on the bushes at summer’s end when we take our annual vacation at my parents’ farm. I had a feeling that blueberries would show up very well in a dessert pot sticker.

Their deliciousness aside, blueberries are a wonderfully healthy fruit — high in fiber, vitamin C and antioxidants — and this is their season, whether you buy them cultivated or wild. Even frozen berries would work well here. Just defrost them in a colander — taking care to capture the juice that leaks out of them as they come to room temp (you’ll add the juice to the sauce) — then pat the berries dry before you encase them in the wrappers.

Given how wildly blueberries can vary in their acidity and sweetness, be sure to taste a berry or two before you make this recipe. You’ll want to increase the lemon juice if the berry is relatively flat, and increase the sugar if the berry is exceptionally tart. And by the way, even though I’m partial to blueberries, this recipe would work with almost any fruit.

Wonton wrappers are one of my favorite cheating ingredients. They are made out of the same ingredients as Italian pasta and are available in the dairy, Asian or frozen food sections of many supermarkets. I even use them to make giant ravioli or individual lasagna stacks. They must be wrapped tightly, however, and not left out uncovered for very long when you’re working with them. Otherwise, they’ll dry out. They happen to freeze very well, wrapped in plastic, then foil. I try to keep a supply in the freezer at all times.

It’s very easy to make this recipe. But you have to cook the pot stickers soon after you make them, and then eat them right away. If you prepare them too far ahead, the bottoms of the wrappers get soggy. Ideally, you should prep the pot stickers just before dinner, then park them on a sheet pan sprinkled with light dusting of cornstarch until you’ve finished the main course. This keeps them from sticking to the pan.

When you’re ready for them, they cook up in 5 to 8 minutes. And if it turns out that you don’t eat every last one at a single sitting, just put the leftovers in the fridge. My daughter Ruthie swears they’re delicious cold the next day. I find them fairly addictive at any temperature.

AP



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