Showing posts with label blackberries. Show all posts
Showing posts with label blackberries. Show all posts

Monday, July 9, 2012

A Berry Cool Treat to Beat the Heat

Huge thanks to Daryl (Avery Aames) for kindly posting a blog for me last week. We were among the millions who lost electricity to a storm that was like something out of a horror movie. I've never seen anything like it. I kept looking out the window for signs of a tornado, but there were only menacing clouds. Nevertheless, that wind uprooted our neighbor's ancient apple trees, and things were flying through the air like in The Wizard of Oz.

We were among the lucky because our power came back within 49 hours. I can't imagine what it must have been like for people who suffered through the heat for an entire week. My internet service provider was out for the entire week, and it's still a little bit wonky, so if I owe you an email, I'm working on catching up!

I missed a lot of the new release fun this time around. Ellery was kind enough to let me read Pies and Prejudice in advance, though, so I know what a delightful book it is.  Her protagonist bakes charmed pies, and that's the perfect word to describe her new series -- charming.

I was thinking of Ellery while I was baking. Our blackberries are ripe, and last night, when the temperature subsided to a balmy 92, I picked fresh berries. But what to do with them? I opted for something that's referred to as a cake, but baked in a pie shell -- which is why I was thinking of Ellery. This is a European country-style cake that's actually an upside-down pie of sorts.

I baked it in a 9 1/2 inch pie dish, but if I made it again, I think I'd use an 8 inch pie dish. Pick the berries the night before, or early in the morning, bake the pie and let it set in the refrigerator until you're ready to serve it. When it comes out of the oven, it will seem very runny. Don't worry, those juices are absorbed as the cake cools. It's perfect for this hot weather we're having. A berry cool treat.

I have more blackberries. What's your favorite blackberry recipe? Or do you simply admire them and move on when you see them?

European Country-Style Blackberry Cake
8-inch pie pan or cake pan
canola oil
2 cups blackberries, washed and picked over
(save 3 pretty blackberries as garnish)
2/3 cup sugar

2 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup milk (I used nonfat)
1 tablespoon melted butter
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

whipped cream (optional)

Lightly grease the pan with the canola oil. Mix the blackberries with the sugar and a light sprinkle of cinnamon. Let stand.

Preheat oven to 350.

Beat the egg yolks with the sugar, add the milk and then the melted butter. Beat well. Mix the baking powder with the salt and flour and add to the egg mixture. Scrape the bowl, add the vanilla, and beat one last time.

Arrange the blackberries on the bottom of the pan in a single layer. Pour the batter over top of the blackberries.

Bake 30 minutes. Cool on a rack and refrigerate until set. Loosen edges gently until you can flip it over onto a cake plate.

Serve with whipped cream or ice cream. If you don't want to pipe the cream on the cake, dollop a spoonful in the middle, garnish with 3 blackberries, and pass the whipped cream for those who want it.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Hurry Scurry Berry Tart

As much as I love to cook, I also love to have other people cook for me.

One of my dear friends is a fellow fan of America's Test Kitchen (I get many of my best recipes from them). She recently invited me to dinner, luring me with a promise of excellent company and the ATK Chicago-style deep dish pizza.* Even though I had about a million things going on that weekend, it was an offer I could not refuse.

I hate to show up empty-handed, so I offered to bring dessert. I had mulled over a number of options, but somehow I found myself on I35E, fighting DFW traffic to get home, about 2 hours before our dinner date ... without a clear plan. I had limited time to prepare anything, I had no idea what I had in the house, and I didn't have a single recipe on my person.

I was going to have to wing it.

This low-effort, informal, but incredibly tasty berry tart is what I ended up with. It certainly isn't the most elegant dish I've ever created, but it was just sweet enough, while still being light, to punctuate the decadent dinner. When you're dashing about -- or maybe when you're just feeling a little lazy -- whip it up and enjoy it with a good friend.

* I'll share that gem of a recipe with you all sometime in the future ... I promise.

Hurry Scurry Berry Tart


9 sheets of graham crackers (18 squares)
1/3 c. butter (melted)
1/4 c. sugar


8 oz. mascarpone cheese*
1/2 c. heavy cream
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla

18-20 oz. fresh berries (I used blackberries and raspberries)
1/4 c. seedless preserves (blackberry/raspberry/strawberry/apricot)

* I used mascarpone because that's what I bought on my mad dash through the grocery store. In retrospect, I image cream cheese would have worked nearly as well (and been a bit less expensive).

Rinse berries (removing any stems or bad berries) and spread in a single layer on a few paper towels to dry.

For the crust: Preheat oven to 375. Process crackers in food processor until you have fine crumbs. Pulse in sugar and then melted butter. Turn wet crumb mixture into 9 inch pie plate (or tart pan) and press gently into bottom and up sides. Bake at 375 for 5 minutes.

For the filling: While the crust bakes, combine the mascarpone, whipping cream, sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl. Beat with a mixer until stiff peaks form.

Remove crust from oven, and stick bowl of whipped filling in refrigerator. Allow everything to cool/chill/dry for about 30 minutes.

Spread filling in crust. Arrange berries on top. Melt preserves in small saucepan over medium-low heat. Using pastry brush, spread liquid preserves over berries.

Chill another hour before serving.


Wendy is the author of the Mysteries a la Mode. Visit her on the web or on Facebook.