BaltimOregon to Maine

Locavore Cooking with Southern Efficiency and Northern Charm

Posts Tagged ‘blackberries

Berries and Curd

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Bon Appetit's Lime Tart with Blackberries and Blueberries.

Ivy Manning's strawberry shortcake with lemon curd cream.

Okay, okay, I finally posted something pretty and tasty for those of you made squeamish by my last blog post. Berries and tart citrus curds (tangy egg yolk puddings) should be less controversial. Well, not curd perhaps. For a shortcut with the above strawberry shortcake dessert, I might recommend buying some store-bought lemon curd. Instead, I stood over a hot stove (in last week’s heat wave, which even swept northernmost Maine) for 30 minutes, constantly whisking the thickening curd slowly heating in a bowl over a pot of boiling water. But stirring that zesty curd into freshly-whipped whipped cream made for a memorable, albeit rich, shortcake. The citrus in the cream and orange zest in the homemade biscuits (I would add chopped crystallized ginger next time, too) complimented the fragrant local Maine strawberries.

The berries are ripe at the Small Farmers' Project site in Eugene.

It was sad to leave my blueberries, just now ripening on the cane.

Then just two days later, curd turned up again in a berry dessert tonight at dear reader Judy’s house. She made a magnificent lime curd tart with blackberries and blueberries that looked just like the picture that ran with the recipe in Bon Appetit! With no whipped cream, this fruit tart was a considerably lighter dessert, the perfect conclusion to a barbecue on a warm summer night. Best of all, the latter curd takes less time to make, requiring a mere six minutes of whisking instead of 30. This one calls for gauging the curd temperature with an instant-read thermometer, but both curiously instruct you to press plastic wrap onto the surface of the curd while it cools? Does that just ensure it has a smoother texture? That’s one recommendation I ignored. Here’s a good step-by-step guide to making curd from Bon Appetit. I’ll have to ask Portland cookbook author Ivy Manning why the process she outlined in The Farm to Table Cookbook took so much longer.

Speaking of berries, check out my recent radio piece on rare black cap raspberries, which a group of Latino farmers is reintroducing in the Northwest. I’m sorry I didn’t have a chance to make black raspberry ice cream before we ran out of town. Let’s hope there’s an even larger crop for us to bake and can with next year!

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Written by baltimoregon

July 10, 2010 at 9:39 pm

Apple Blackberry (and Quince) Pie, from Rustic Fruit Desserts

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Apple Blackberry (and Quince) Pie

Apple Blackberry (and Quince) Pie

Local quinces, including ones that are apparently edible raw.

Local quinces, including ones that are apparently edible raw.

This is a brilliant pie because it bridges the seasons, melding tart, jammy berries with crisp, fragrant apples. I also added quince slices to the mix, because the astringent fruit gains a wonderful rosey pear-like flavor when cooked with sugar. I’d never come across quinces before moving here to the Pacific Northwest, where we even haven them growing on the neighbor’s tree down the road. The USDA genebank here in Corvallis is home to North America’s perhaps most diverse quince collection.

Making and rolling out your own pie crust is always a patshkie, but at least this all-butter recipe made four discs, so we had two leftover to freeze. We also didn’t dock the dough (prick it with a fork) before pouring in the filling. The crust was flakey and delicious but not quite crisp enough. Maybe pre-bake it a bit first? This pie crust tutorial video helps you beef up your technique.

Fresh out of the oven.

Fresh out of the oven.

The pie recipe comes from Rustic Fruit Desserts, published by Portland chef Cory Schreiber and Julie Richardson of the Baker & Spice Bakery there. Cory recommended the recipe when he came on our KBOO Food Show Wednesday. For our School Lunch Special, Schreiber also spoke about the challenges of his work as farm-to-school coordinator for the Oregon Department of Agriculture.

Written by baltimoregon

September 20, 2009 at 10:49 pm

Give a Boy (and a Poppy) Some Blueberry Pie

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My blueberry blackberry homemade butter crust creation.

My blueberry blackberry homemade butter crust creation.

Berry pickin' source in Albany.

Berry pickin' source in Albany.

I don’t often haveĀ  pie for breakfast. But I did today, in honor of Poppy on his birthday, because he made the habit of doing so, but of course only with fruit pies. It’s also not often I make a pie, with homemade butter crust. But it’s a habit that could grow on me.

When your partner turns 30, you bake him a pie. I won his heart six years ago with a key lime graham cracker crust one. This year’s blueberry with fresh foraged blackberries did the trick. I finally had a chance to test out my master food preserver blueberry pie filling recipe, after stopping on a whim to pick some at a mom-and-pop place in Albany. I’d rather not use lab-developed Clear-Jel modified corn starch, but I did for the first time because it imparts a pleasant consistency, so you won’t have a soggy, runny, mushy pie. I spiced up the utilitarian extension office recipe with grated nutmeg, lemon and lime zest and vanilla. This Portland kid’s prize-winning pie recipe inspired the lime. Blueberry needs such tang to heighten its flavors. I processed the jars of filling for 30 minutes so they melded together in a fruity goo.

What else have you made with your blueberries? I stumbled across this fabulous muffin recipe, which, with the ample maple syrup and melted butter, evokes the taste of fresh pancakes. Throw some crystallized ginger into the batter for kick. And with blackberries, consider milk with some sweetener and the muddled fruit.

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Fresh muddled blackberry milk.

Foraged raw blackberries added to the inside just before backing gave the pie that extra umpf we were looking for. Topped with gelato from a downtown shop (why was this our first time there?) the result made for a pretty memorable dessert.

Fresh from the oven. Notice the egg wash is key for a glaze.

Fresh from the oven. Notice the egg wash is key for a glaze.

Written by baltimoregon

August 23, 2009 at 1:59 am

Foraging Again, through Brambles of Blackberries

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Fresh from the woods.

Fresh from the woods.

Lots of treacherous thorns to dodge.

Lots of treacherous thorns to dodge.

Blackberries were about the last thing I should have bought upon my return to the Corvallis Farmer’s Market Saturday. Not because I don’t like them. Oregonians love to forage for and eat those wild blackberries so abundant here. But they loathe those same thorny canes that can become some of the most invasive plants, suffocating all other life out of your garden and yard with those looming, downward-seeking vines. Luckily, wild blackberry plants line the trails where I run, just minutes from our home. I didn’t realize they were already blackening (ripening) until I stumbled upon them in Bald Hill Park yesterday. Why buy blackberries when nature gives them up, generously, for free?

I set out to collect two cups more today for dessert. This time, I came prepared, pulling thick rubber boots over my jeans and bringing yard gloves to protect my hands from thorns. Blackberry gathering is like bee-keeping I suppose: the threat of pricks and stings somehow makes the fruit and honey gathered that much more sweet. I’m sure Novella Carpenter would agree. In 30 minutes (including my bike ride down the road and back), I had gathered what I needed.

Ivy Manning’s cookbook once again inspired me: this time, to make her uber-local Peach and Blackberry Hazelnut Crisp. Unfortunately, peaches are just barely in season here, but I still managed to snag some at the food co-op. Though ripe, the peaches sure didn’t seem freestone, clinging as they did to their pit. The blackberries: foraged. The ground hazelnuts, from nearby Hazelnut Hill farm. The Quaker rolled oats didn’t quite belong. Add chopped crystallized ginger to the fruit mixture if you have some lying around. Top with vanilla ice cream. I used vanilla coconut milk cream, because the pricey concoction was $2 off. Now if I could only forage for peaches.

Written by baltimoregon

August 11, 2009 at 12:48 am

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