Monday, February 21, 2011

Recipe to Riches - Blueberry-Lemon Crisp with Maple Syrup Whipped Cream

Last Saturday, I went through the open call auditions for the new show Recipe to Riches on Food Network Canada. This show gives Canadian home cooks the opportunity to have their favorite recipes turn into a product which will be branded by President's Choice. An amount of $25,000 is offered to every winner in each 7 categories and the grand prize winner of the $250,000 is decided by the public vote.

When I heard that Laura Calder of French Food at Home is on the judging panel, I did not hesitate to sign up for the competition as she is my favorite chef for French cuisine. I have to admit that I only have less than 3 years of cooking/baking experience, so I knew that I will be competing with stay-at-home moms, grandmothers and people who have been cooking since they were a kid. Thus, my chances of winning were slim to none. Anyhow, it didn't prevent me from entering the competition. I have nothing to lose, I can only win.  To be honest, I wasn't aiming for the money; I wanted to prove myself if I'm actually a good enough cook/baker. Friends can say: "Victor, your food is SO good!" These words are even more meaningful if it is said by food experts who have been judging over hundreds of dishes in their lifetime. 

For the competition, I originally signed up for the "cake" category. Due to popularity this category, the producer called me and suggested that I should sign up for "sweet pies" so I made the switch. I chose to bake my blueberry crisp which was one of the first dessert when I started baking. I seriously can't believe that I spent many days on perfecting the recipe and on plating the dish. I even gather at least 20 taste testers to give their opinions and comments for improvement. I took all of them seriously and made the necessary adjustments accordingly.

On the day of the competition, I had to wait patiently for FOUR hours before I can meet the judges. I gather some friends to be part of my cheering crew. We were in total 10 people who came to cheer me up. Also, my friend Mon and her roommate Chris made an absolutely gorgeous banner of my blog for showing on camera. Some couldn't stay for long and some stayed until the end. I seriously didn't know that I have to wait that long. After the wait, I finally presented my dessert in front of Laura Calder, Tony Chapman, and Dana McCauley. The judges love the taste of my blueberry-lemon crisp. Unfortunately, I didn't give a convincing case why my recipe should be marketable. Well, in a positive note, Tony told me to come back next year with a more sophisticated dish. When I left the room, I was not disappointed at all, I was more than happy to hear that they enjoy my dessert. Oh well, no golden ticket this year! I'm very glad that my cheering crew came to support me.

In comparison to my old version, the sourness of lemon accentuates the sweetness of wild blueberries. I added a little crunch to the cinnamon crust by setting the oven to broil once the blueberry mix starts to bubble. A topping of maple flavored whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon will help contrast the flavor of the crisp. 

Serves 12
Preparation Time: 20 mins
Baking Time: 30 mins
Broiling Time: 10 mins



600g frozen wild blueberries
1/3 cup white sugar
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp lemon zest
2 tbsp cornstarch

Cinnamon Crust

1 1/2 cups quick oats
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup flour
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1 pinch nutmeg
2/3 cup margarine, melted

Maple Syrup Whipped Cream

1 cup whipping cream
4-5 tbsp maple syrup


1. Preheat oven to 350F.

2. In a bowl, mix blueberries, sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest. Transfer mixture to a 8''x8'' baking pan.

3. In medium bowl, combine all the dry ingredients. Add melted margarine and stir with fork until the mixture is crumbly.

4. Spread topping over the blueberry mixture. Bake for 30 mins or until bubbly.

5. For a crunchy topping, set oven to broil. Broil for 10 mins until golden brown. Otherwise, continue baking for 10 mins.

6. Meanwhile, with an electric mixer, beat whipping cream until it starts to thick. Add maple syrup and beat until stiff peaks.

7. Remove pan from oven. Cool for 10 mins. Serve blueberry crisp with a dollop of whipped cream and sprinkle with cinnamon.


  1. Great fun to read about a fellow blogger's experience in the competition. It was quite the experience wasn't it? Better luck next year.

  2. That is an experience of a lifetime! Imagine meeting Laura Calder! She was in Malaysia about 3 months ago promoting her book inclusive of cooking workshop and dinner, but the ticket was too expensive, could not afford to go! Your blueberry lemon crisp sounds fabulous! And your friends are truly a gem for supporting you. What a wonderful experience!

  3. What a thrilling time you had!!! Congratulations for trying out. Didn't know there was contests like this for us (Canadians). Your recipe is similar to mine except for the lemon that I will try next time I make my blueberry crip.

  4. I can see you have a good time and also the chance to Laura Calder.

  5. Good for you for trying it. You will kick butt next year!

  6. 3 cheers for you, victor! for passionate, enthusiastic and positive!!you must have been so touched by the support given by your friends, that's a very nice banner, guess it must be hanging somewhere in your hse now. You are already one awesome baker in our hearts!

  7. Looks delicious blueberry lemon crisp. sure you are going to win next year.

  8. wow how cool all the best Victor proud of you


  9. hey it's a valuable experience. wish they had shows like this over here. i love laura calder too, not only she's talented, she's also *coughsexy*. your crisp looks really yummy to me too :)

  10. Crisps are a favorite of mine...yours looks delicious! I especially love the maple whipped cream.

  11. Une recette bien délicieuse. J'aime beaucoup.
    See soon.

  12. Wow, this crisp looks delicious, love the idea of lemon and blueberry filling and oat yummie! I'd top it with vanilla ice cream :-)

  13. What an experience Victor. Everything's the journey. And there'll always be another time. I also love the sweet with the tart and that maple is a perfect addition!

  14. Your blueberry lemon crisps look fabulous Victor. They sound so good...I'm going to bookmark this recipe!

  15. Victor, that's really impressive! You went into this contest with a perfect attitude, and it sounds like it was a great experience. Lovely recipe, too!

  16. What a great exciting experience! You did well and I can see that you've gained lots of experience from this competition. I like this recipe and got to bookmark this for my future bakes :D

  17. Your crisp is a winner as far as I'm concerned. As to the contest, you had a wonderful experience
    and each time you enter you'll get better at knowing what the judges are looking for. Have a great evening, Victor. Blessings...Mary

  18. Your crisp look amazing Victor,. really nice! gloria

  19. That must have been an incredible experience and not many bloggers can say they took the chance and gave it a go like you did. Kudos to you on your bravery. Your crisp looks heavenly.

  20. Thank you for all your nice and encouraging comments.

  21. Hi Victor! Thanks for commenting on my blog! This blueberry-lemon crisp looks so good!

  22. I love Laura Calder too..I would love new shows of her..

    Your recipe sounds great..How nice your friends w/ the banner:)
    I had no clue of this competition!



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