First from the new batch

Somehow, or other, I managed to actually try one of the recipes that made it through elimination off a computer screen. See friends had a cookout for the July 4th weekend and asked us to bring a dessert – I’ve got some of those to try! So Adam and I whipped up a batch of the Blackberry-Rhubarb Crumble. It being rhubarb and berries season at Wegmans. But uh, slightly … modified. See Adam’s mom makes these fruit crumbles in a deep black (oven-safe) bowl that tastes really good and is easy to serve, having been baked in the serving bowl and all. Her’s involves significantly more alcohol than any I’ve ever made though 🙂

I think this recipe needed a) a smaller dice of the rhubarb and b) the 9″x13″ baking pan specified. I’m sure the depth of the bowl affected how things cooked and that I would have gotten a more even bake with a flatter dish. Adam’s mom’s version goes in at a lower temperature for longer, I think.

::sighs:: I had a voice dictation of the recipe from her. Deleted that after transcribing it into my computer. The first one that was stolen. No back up. Very sad Laura. Thing I was actually most upset about, since everything else was replaceable. I may be able to convince Capers to dictate the recipe again. Some year when we’re in the same place for a holiday.

Any rate, the end result for the crumble I did make was a bit too astringent and acidic from the rhubarb (hence the need for a smaller dice, so it would have cooked more), the blackberries didn’t quite go with, and I definitely needed more sugar to counter-balance everything. End vote was, not good enough bones shown to try and fiddle with it.

Hurray, one less recipe to copy out!

Blackberry-Rhubarb Crumble

serves 8-12
original from TheKitchn.com

Fruit

  • 18 oz blackberries, rinsed
  • 1 lb rhubarb, rinsed & cut into 1/4″ slices
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • small pinch of kosher salt

Topping

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 8 tbsp butter, melted
  1. Preheat the oven to 375ºF.
  2. Toss the blackberries and rhubarb together, gently, with the brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, and salt. Pour into a large, oven-safe, deep bowl.
  3. Whisk together the flour and baking powder, then stir in the brown sugar, breaking up any clumps.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs and vanilla extract. Pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture and work the two together with your hands. Squeeze and pinch until clumpy with loose crumbs at the bottom of the bowl. Drop the clumps over the fruit then shake the crumbs evenly over the top. Sprinkle with pecans, then pour the melted butter evenly over everything; make sure to wet everything.
  5. Bake until top is golden brown and crumble baked through, about 50 minutes. Allow to cool before serving (suggest serving with ice cream).

 

We’ve replaced the camera, so pictures will start happening again (yay!)

Winter Berry Pie – attempt #3

I think this is the first one on the right track. Oh it still needs work, but it feels like tweeking work rather than ‘well that‘s not right, find a new direction’. Which is really good since I took it into work for the holiday luncheon party (yes, back in December). Yeah, there’s no after-hours company party, just the team bringing in dishes and having an hour long lunch together. Time we need to make up or use our PTO (personal time off) for. Whee. Food’s usually really good though. My poor colleagues, every time someone asked what type of pie it was, I responded “experimental”. And then explained what was in it and that I was developing the recipe.  I experiment on and use people as guinea pigs with my food. BUT never without fair prior warning!

So, we’re still using William-Sonoma’s flaky pastry dough for the crust – I’m pretty sure this is a permanent feature. Even if it’s not close to Dangerously Delicious Pies’ version, a) we like it and b) the filling was what I actually remember from their pie. This time we didn’t par-bake the bottom crust (crust in the pan, layer of foil, pie weights on top, bake for 20 minutes to partially bake the crust) – par-baking usually keeps juices from fruits from soaking into the crust and making it soggy before the filling cooks. In this instance, since the filling was mostly jam (see next paragraph 🙂 ), the juice was already pretty cooked down and cooking everything together worked.

To continue the quest for non-soup pie, I thought turning most of the blackberries and blueberries into jam using the methodology from my Triple Berry Quick Jam ought to work. Plus, if I reserve some of the whole berries, I can mix them into the jam with the pear for the whole berry taste. This mostly worked – the jam, even with berries and pear chunks in it, wasn’t very deep and overall the pie wasn’t that tall, purely height-wise. Also, for the first time, I was under on the amount of sugar in the pie.

Adjustments for next time – more sugar overall and make less jam, mixing in more whole berries.

Winter Berry Pie the Third

  • 6oz blackberries, 1 cup for the jam, reserving the rest
  • 6oz blueberries, 1 cup for the jam, reserving the rest
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • pinch of kosher salt
  • 1 medium comice pear
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  1. Make your pastry dough and set-up the bottom crust in a pie pan.
  2. Wash all the berries and gently drain. In a pot, gently mix together 1 cup of blackberries and 1 cup of blueberries. Coat with ¼ cup brown sugar and stir; let sit for 10 minutes. Stir in a pinch of salt and 1 tsp lemon juice. Cook on the stove top on medium heat until the berries begin to break down. Blend until smooth and simmer, without a lid, on low for 12.5 minutes. Cooking without a lid allows the berries to cook down but will splatter.
  3. Wash, peel, and cut the pear into chunks, until have 1 cup – approximately one medium pear. In a large bowl, gently mix together the jam, reserved berries, and cup of pear. Add the ginger, nutmeg, and flour (to thicken pie even further). Gently stir until flour is incorporated.
  4. Pour filling into the pie crust. Top with the second pie crust and seal the edges. Cut a steaming slit in the middle of the pie.
  5. Bake in 375°F oven for 40-45 minutes. Transfer to cooling rack and allow to cool for about 15 minutes.

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In case you’re wondering what happened to Winter Berry Pie #2, that was one of Adam’s experiments and involved using up some raspberry confit he just happened to have extra from making a two-layer chocolate cake. Also, hours of steaming the berries in a sifter to try and get them to break down (didn’t work so well). The end result of which, while I enjoyed eating it, is not really reproducible. At least by people with a reasonable sense of time and cooking and effort! Good thing I don’t know anyone like that 😉

Winter Berry Pie – Who knew?

So. Dangerously Delicious Pies. Truth in advertising there. They are most dangerous – to your waist-line because you will totally want to live there with the delicious, delicious pies and to your wallet. Because, living there. And eating pie.
A few Sunday’s ago, Adam and I had lunch there with a friend, splitting a quiche slice, because that’s what we do – split meals at restaurants. And sometimes still take home a meal-sized amount of leftovers. American restaurant portions. They are the huge-ness. Anywho, this also meant we had room for dessert – whee! – and split a slice of their ‘Winter Berry Pie’ – blackberries, blueberries, and pears.

Joy in a forkful. Closest I’ve come to rapture (from food).

Totally decided that I needed to be able to make this pie. Because that’s what I do, I bake. And did I mention the joy on a fork part?

A perusal of the internet later and I have not only learned that a) no one has posted a knock-off recipe but also b) I’m not finding any recipes that combine those three fruits. Blueberry-blackberry pies, tarts and cobblers, sure. Pear-blueberry pies, sure. Maybe one pear-blackberry pie in there.

Fine says I, I’ll just have to make one up.

This is where raucous laughter from the audience would be cued for during the sitcom.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I decided that for the first time ever, I was going to develop a recipe. So there’s going to be a few posts on this process over the next several… months? well, however long it takes for me to get happy with the recipe. Because I don’t want to ask the lovely people at Dangerously Delicious Pies for their recipe until I can compare how close I got.

Attempt the First;
otherwise known as Soup the Pie. Also, WAY too Frickin Sweet the Pie

So mentally the first step, for me, is the balance of fruits – every combo recipe I saw used a 1:1 ratio, why not try a 1:1:1 ratio for mine? Thus, step one:

  • 1 cup cubed pears
  • 1 cup blackberries
  • 1 cup blueberries

What next? well, spices are easy(ish…) – ginger, nutmeg, and vanilla extract… Let’s try 2tsp, 1/4 tsp and 1 tsp respectively, so:

  • 2 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Sweetness next: well, let’s try…

  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter cubed

And binder, need to bind that all together:

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour

Oh pie crust! Need that too. Well, Adam’s had a standard pie crust recipe he’s been working off of – came etched into our big pastry board – but he’s been pretty unhappy with it for a couple months, so we pulled out our copy of The Williams-Sonoma Baking Book for their Flaky Pastry Dough. Fair warning, this is not a pastry recipe for anyone watching their heart health – it calls for 1/2 cup butter per crust. It does, however, live up to its name – very flaky and good.

The results:
FillingSealedWashed

Baked Baked-crust-edited
Sliced-Souped

Slice-Edited

So, yeah, the filling was pretty much soup – very juicy, spilling everywhere once the pie was cut. Tasty, but definitely in need of a fork plus spoon to eat. Also, teeth achingly sweet.

Next round: turning the fruit into a jam-like filling before cooking and using much less sugar.

Triple Berry Quick Jam

Buh, buh, buh, Ba! First Laura post with an actual recipe!

Recipe count: 66 left to try
Section count: Condiments – 2 left

So this weekend, I was in Wegmans on our weekly grocery run, in the fresh fruit section when I see them – blackberries and raspberries on sale(ish).

Programing note: I love blackberries. If Adam and I ever have a yard, there will be blackberry bushes even if this means there is nothing else in the yard. Not even grass.

Not only were there blackberries and raspberries, but also I knew I had waiting for me at home a recipe for blackberry, raspberry and strawberry jam. Jam that requires no pectin and no canning, canning being a cooking adventure/skill I have not yet begun to learn. Jam that I had wanted to make last week but the other grocery store was out of blackberries. Jam that would use up most of the remaining strawberries I had sitting in the fridge, as I wondered how to use them up before they began to rot. (Remind me to share with y’all the berry washing method I picked up from theKitchn.com – keeps those suckers fresh/non-rotting for a week/week-and-a-half.)

Those blackberries and raspberries came home with us, oh yes they did. Really, the hardest part of this recipe was not eating the produce before hand.

Changes from the original recipe: The recipe may have called for a pint of raspberries and ½ a pint of blackberries, but really, I just tossed both plastic clamshells (~6oz?) in the pot. I did measure the strawberries, but mostly because the 2-cup measuring cup was a convenient place to hold the strawberry slices. Currently our pantry only houses white sugar as I try and use it up, but it worked – in the future, I will preferentially use cane or turbinado sugar, but that’s ‘cause I’m something of an anti-big agriculture/processed foods hippie. Whatever, the Domino’s white sugar worked. Finally, I’m currently lacking in lemon zest and substituted in a tsp. of orange peel. Yes, I have orange peel in a spice tub, but not lemon zest. Thank you Dekalb County Farmer’s Market (Dekalb, GA) – my once yearly pilgrimages to thee keep the spice pantry stocked for years. Will be checking for lemon zest this Christmas. Also, what is with using a bowl to combine the berries and sugar – I tossed them together in the pot I cooked everything in – one less bowl to clean.

I got two 1.25-cup jars of jam out of this – one for the fridge, to be eaten over the next month, and one for the freezer, for when the first runs out.

My recipe (after modifications to [originating recipe: http://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-triple-strawberry-quick-jam-recipes-from-the-kitchen-192446])

  • 1 clamshell/~6oz fresh raspberries
  • 1 clamshell/~60z fresh blackberries
  • 1 3/4 cups fresh strawberries, hulled & thickly sliced (measured after slicing)
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • pinch kosher salt
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 tsp lemon juice

1. In a heavy pot, combine the berries and sugar; allow to sit for about 10 minutes or until the sugar has begun to dissolve into the fruit. Place on the burner over medium heat; bring to a boil. Add the salt, lemon zest and juice; reduce heat to medium-low.

2. Allow the berries to gently simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the fruit breaks down the mixture starts to cook down, thickening slightly. If the fruit isn’t breaking down on its own, use the back of a wooden spoon or a potato masher (or say [expletive] this and use a stick blender) to break it down.

3. When almost done, the jame will still be loose (it’ll firm up more as it cools), but should coat the back of a wooden spoon. Remove the jam from the heat and pour into clean glass jar(s) to cool. Cap it and allow to cool completely before putting in the refrigerator or freezer

Keeps in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks or in the freezer for up to 6 months.

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