Finding huckleberries to use for World’s Best Huckleberry Dessert isn’t a problem for Karen Lesmeister of Manson who huckleberry hunts with her husband. “I’m married to the world’s best huckleberry picker. … He always beats me picking,” she says.
If you don’t have huckleberries, though, don’t worry. “Any kind of berry would work out with this recipe,” says Lesmeister.
Lesmeister says she adapted this recipe from one that appeared in the pages of The Wenatchee World in the 1980s. The original recipe called for whipped cream and cream cheese. Lesmeister uses low-fat versions of whipped topping and cream cheese instead. “I prefer to put together this dessert right before serving to keep the bottom crust from getting soggy.”
World’s Best Huckleberry Dessert
For bottom crust:
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 cup flour
3/4 to 1 cup chopped walnuts
8 ounces cream cheese
1 container (12 ounces) whipped topping (such as Cool Whip)
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 quart (4 cups) huckleberries, fresh or frozen
2 tablespoons corn starch
1/2 cup sugar
1 to 1 1/2 cups water
Cream brown sugar and butter until crumbly. Add flour and nuts. Press into a greased 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes, until edges start to darken. Cool completely.
Dump berries into saucepan, coat with cornstarch and add sugar and water. Cook on medium heat until cornstarch turns clear and starts to thicken. Cool completely. (If cornstarch doesn’t thicken, mix 1 tablespoon cornstarch with 1 to 2 tablespoons water and add to berries.)
Whisk cream cheese until smooth. Add sugar and vanilla and whisk. Add whipped topping and whisk until smooth. Cool.
When ready to serve, spread cool whip and cream cheese mixture over crust. Smooth out and top with huckleberry mixture.
Note: If huckleberries thicken too much, add 2 or 3 tablespoons of hot water and stir until smooth.
Yield: 15 to 18 servings
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