Can you tell I am a film lover? I love foreign and indie films, in general. And in particular, I love the work of Wong Kar-Wai, the Cannes Film Festival-winning auteur who directed In the Mood for Love.
So when WKW’s first English-language film, My Blueberry Nights (starring Jude Law, Natalie Portman, Rachel Weisz, and Norah Jones), came out in limited release in New York City this past April, you can bet I was there opening night. Front row. With popcorn. The New York Times claims that WKW’s work has “caters to a persistent appetite for luxury” and “[ascribes] nutritive value to eye candy,” but then muses “and why not? We all need to eat, and why shouldn’t we eat cake?”
Note the opening shot: a slow-motion “money shot” of vanilla ice cream “deliquescing” into the syrupy filling of a crumbling blueberry pie (I knew WKW was a foodie!). But the director goes one step further. Food becomes a metaphor, and blueberry pie, in particular, a metaphor for solitude and romantic disappointment.
Just consider this dialogue between Norah Jones (a lovelorn girl still raw from a break-up) and Jude Law (the drifter working the counter at a greasy spoon in Soho*):
Norah: "Everything has a reason."
Jude: "Hmm. It’s like these pies and cakes. At the end of every night, the cheesecake and the apple pie are always completely gone. The peach cobbler and the chocolate mousse cake are nearly finished… but there’s always a whole blueberry pie left untouched."
Norah: "So what’s wrong with the blueberry pie?"
Jude: "There’s nothing wrong with the blueberry pie. Just… people make other choices. You can’t blame the blueberry pie, just… no one wants it."
I was a little indignant of course, given my affection for blueberries and the general superiority of blueberry pies to just about any other variety of pie I’ve ever tasted. Inspired by My Blueberry Nights and by an adorable little cookbook which Scuba brought back for me from his last trip to Maine, The Maine Wild Blueberry Cookbook, filled with 400 whimsical blueberry recipes), I decided to invent my very own, not-to-be-trifled-with blueberry rum trifle:
- Package of fresh blueberries
- 3 tbsp. mascarpone cheese (heavy version) or whipped cream (light version)
- 2 one-inch thick slices of pound cake
- 3 tbsp. Blueberry preserves
- 1/2 tsp. rum
1. Slice the pound cake into 1/2-inch cubes and press into bottom of serving glass.
2. Brush with 1/4 tsp. of rum Spread a half of blueberry preserves over pound cake.
3. Spread a 1.5 tbsp. layer of mascarpone cheese (for a heavy dessert) or whipped cream (for a lighter version) over blueberry preserves.
4. Top with a handful of blueberries to cover the cheese or whipped cream layer.
5. Repeat sequence of steps 1-5 by layering another layer of pound cake coated in rum, blueberry preserves, mascarpone cheese or whipped cream, and blueberries.
6. Refrigerate glass for at least 30 minutes before serving. Ideal to refrigerate for 8 hours, for all the layers and flavors to seep and blend together.