I know juniper might seem like an odd flavor pairing with blueberries, but think of a refreshing gin fizz cocktail (juniper being the chief botanical in gin), muddled with some fresh blueberries, and then it starts to make sense. The slightly pine-y nature of juniper brings out the jamminess of the blueberries in a way that feels like they were always meant to be together. Plus, juniper berries look like blueberries' littler cousin. So, whether they're in your cocktail glass or in your dessert, I hope you'll try this combination this summer!
For the filling: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Grind the juniper and peppercorns until fine in a mortar and pestle or spice grinder.
Add the butter to a large saute pan set over medium heat. Add the blueberries and cook, stirring occasionally, until they start to release their juices, 2 to 3 minutes. Turn the heat off. Stir in the ground juniper and peppercorns, the preserves, sugar, cornstarch, gin, salt, vanilla, lemon zest, lemon juice and pepper. Pour into a 9-by-13-inch casserole dish.
For the biscuit topping: Whisk together the flour, sugar, cornmeal, baking powder, salt and baking soda in large bowl. In a small bowl, stir together the melted butter, buttermilk, vanilla and lemon zest. Add the wet ingredients to the dry, stirring until just combined.
Divide the mixture into 8 equal portions. Top the filling with the biscuits, leaving about 1/2 inch between each. Sprinkle with a little extra sugar. Bake until golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool 15 minutes. Serve.