Blackberry Shortcake

Hello all– Is is summer where you are??  School ended here yesterday.  The grand-girls and I had a water squirting adventure in the front yard this evening.  We’ve been eating dinner out back under the maple trees.  And there are mounds of berries at the market here.  We’ve made it to summer!

So Monday night when friends came in for dinner, this is what we had for desert.  Sweet tender little cakes, just a bit crispy around the edges — with cream and ripe black berries.  What’s more summery than that?!

BLACK BERRY SHORTCAKE

Shortcake:
1  1/2 cup flour
1/3 cup sugar
3 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
2/3 cup buttermilk*
1 tsp. vanilla

Toppings:
12 oz. blackberries (2 small cartons)
2 tab. sugar
1 point heavy whipping cream
2 tsp. powdered sugar
2 tsp. instant vanilla pudding mix**

In a mixing bowl, stir together the flour, 1/3 cu sugar, baking powder and salt.  With a pastry blender (or 2 forks), cut in the butter until it resembles pea size lumps.  Then stir in the buttermilk and vanilla.

Drop mounds of dough onto a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray (makes about 8 medium shortcakes).  Bake them in a 400 degree oven for 10 to 12 minutes until they’re nicely browned and crispy around the edges.

While they are baking, wash the berries and mix them with the 2 tab. of sugar.

With an electric mixer, beat the whipping cream, powdered sugar and vanilla pudding mix.  Set it into the fridge to firm up until your ready to serve the shortcake.

Set each shortcake on a pretty place and top with berries & cream.

*If you don’t have buttermilk on hand (like me), pour a tablespoon of cider vinegar in with whole milk  to make 2/3 cup.  Let it sit a couple minutes to thicken.
**The instant pudding stabilizes the cream, so it will stay firm when you serve it.

 

Blackberry Up Side Down Cake

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Hello Cake Lovers–  We have blackberry vines on the side of the house, out the kitchen door.  But they are far from yielding any fruit this year. So when I saw boxes of blackberries on sale, piled high at the market, I had to bring some home, anticipating summer berries yet to come.

I love this old fashioned cake.  Simple to slip into the oven and the juicy fruit and tender cake served up still warm are the best!  There are crispy sugared edges and with a scoop of ice cream, you can pretend it’s summer outside.  I hope you try it!

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BLACKBERRY UP SIDE DOWN CAKE
1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick)
1/2 cup brown sugar
12 oz. blackberries (about 3 cups)
1  1/2 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1  1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup milk
1/3 cup canola oil
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla

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Spray a 9″ or 10″ cake pan with cooking spray.  Melt the butter in the microwave and pour evenly to cover the bottom of the cake pan.  Sprinkle the brown sugar to cover the butter.  And then place the blackberries evenly over the brown sugar.  Set that all aside.

In a mixing bowl stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.  Then mix in the milk, oil, egg and vanilla.  Pour this in the baking dish to cover all the blackberries.

Pop the cake into a 350 degree oven for 40 to 45 minutes.

While the cake it still hot from the oven, invert it on to a plate large enough to hold the cake.  If some of the topping/berries stick in the baking dish, scrape them out onto the hot cake.

Here’s the cake hot from the oven, waiting to be flipped upside down onto a plate.
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Blackberry Almond Galette

IMG_2062Hi all– When I saw this luscious dessert on the cover of the Bon Apetit magazine as I pulled it out of my mailbox, I knew this had to be on my “to-bake” list!  The crust was tender and crisp around the edges– and the berries sweet and juicy.  Add a scoop of vanilla ice cream and it’s the perfect summer dessert to pass around the table to friends.

BLACKBERRY ALMOND GALETTE

Crust:
1/2 cup almond meal*
1 cup plus 2 tab. flour
1 tab. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2  cup cold butter (1 stick), cut into chunks
4 tab. ice water

Berry filling:
12 oz. blackberries, about 2 /12 cup
1 tab. cornstarch
1/4 cup sugar
more sugar for sprinkling
2 tab. milk or cream

IMG_2082In a food processor pulse together the almond meal, flour, 1 tab. sugar, salt and butter until it is in coarse “pebbles” about the size of peas.  Then pour in the water and continue until it forms a ball.

note: You can do this by hand with a pastry blender, but it seems like the food processor makes a better dough for me.

Wrap the dough in saran wrap and store it in the fridge for an hour.  Or if you make it ahead it can sit up to 24 hours in the fridge.

Pour the berries in a large bowl.  Mix the cornstarch and sugar together in another bowl and then pour them over the berries, turning them gently to cover the berries all with sugar.

Roll out the crust to a 12″ circle on a counter that has been well sprinkled with flour–so it doesn’t stick.

Then carefully (really carefully!) fold the dough into quarters and lift it onto a baking sheet lined with parchment.  Mound the berries in the middle of the crust and fold the outside 2″ of the crust up over the berries.

Brush the folded over crust with milk or cream and sprinkle it with a little more sugar.

Pop the whole thing into the over for 40-45 minutes until the crust is perfectly golden.

Warning:  It will smell delicious when you take it out of the oven!!  Best eaten warm with ice cream!!  so dig in!

Blackberry Cheesecake

IMG_0970Hi friends– We have some fledgling blackberry vines tentatively pushing up in our side yard, thanks to our “farmer” neighbor Mr. Wicks.  (thanks Bob!)  But it will be a good while before we harvest any berries off of those things.

So when I saw some beautiful berries on sale at the grocer’s this week, I scooped them up!  And here’s where they landed –on a birthday cake for Betty’s birthday surprise party.  I’m happily sampling a leftover slice as I type this up.  Creamy, berry good.

IMG_0985BLACKBERRY CHEESECAKE

crust:
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
2 tab. sugar
1/3 cup margarine (2/3 stick), melted

filling:
2 cups blackberries (2 6oz. containers)
24 oz. cream cheese (3 packages), at room temperature
1 cup sugar
4 eggs
1 1/2 cup sour cream

topping:
1 cup sour cream
2 tab. sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 cups blackberries (2 6 oz. containers)
1 tab. sugar
mint leaves (optional)

To make the crust, crush the graham crackers in a ziplock bag with a rolling pin (takes about 8 crackers).  Then in a springform pan, mix together the cracker crumbs, 2 tab. sugar and the melted butter.  Press it down into the bottom of the pan and set aside.

For the filling, first cut the blackberries in half (if they are nice large berries) and set aside.  Then with an electric mixer beat together the cream cheese and sugar.  When they are well blended, mix in the eggs and 1 1/2 cup sour cream.

Finally carefully fold in the berries with a wooden spoon.  Then spoon the whole mixture into the pan over the crust.

Put the cheese cake in the oven at 350 degrees for about 50 minutes (it will still be pretty “jiggly”).

For the topping, mix the 1 cup sour cream, 2 tab. sugar and 1/2 tsp. vanilla together and carefully spoon it over the hot cheesecake.  Pop it back into the 350 oven for 10 to 15 minutes until the cheese cake is a little more set — It will still be a little jiggly, but will firm up as it cools. I like to let it cool a couple hours at room temperature and then pop it into the fridge for a couple hours to get cold.

Just before you are ready to serve it up, mix the blackberries with 1 tab. sugar.  Then mound them over the cooled cheese cake and decorate with mint or any garnish-y leaves you might have around.

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Blackberry Iced Tea

IMG_0061Hello there–  Looking for a summery drink for our bridal shower last week and wandered across this fruity iced tea.  After a little smashing, steeping and blending, we ended up with pitchers full of slightly sweet, summer fresh tea.  We set out sugar and sweetener for those who wanted it, but I liked it just as it was–with lots of ice and a few berries and a sprig of mint to top it off.

BLACKBERRY ICED TEA
3  black tea bags
4 cups water
2 cups blackberries*
1/4 cup sugar
1 tab. mint leaves, chopped
2 cups cold water
more berries & mint leaves for garnish

In a large heat proof bowl, put in the blackberries, sugar and mint leaves.  Blend them with a stick blender (or in a regular blender–or smash them to bits with a lot of pounding with a wooden spoon!  — and then pour them in the bowl).

Then bring the 4 cups of water to a boil.  Add the tea bags to the heated water and let them steep for 5 minutes.  Then remove the tea bags and pour the tea over the berries.

Let the tea-berry mixture sit for 1 hour.  Then pour it through a strainer to strain out the uncrushed berry bits/seeds.

Add 2 more cups of cold water, cover the bowl and set the whole thing in the fridge to chill.  Serve the berry tea over lots of ice and garnish with each cup with a couple berries and a sprig of mint.

Makes about 8 glasses of very tea.  Hope you like it!

*2 cups of berries is about 12 oz. (2 6 oz. packs)

Peach & Blackberry Clafoutis

IMG_0049Hello all–  Peaches.  They are so so sweet and juicy right now and I picked up 3 juicy ample ones at the market.  So Jobay (my 2 1/2 year old assistant in the kitchen) and I mixed up this fruity dessert for after dinner tonight.

I loved all the sweet fruit and warm custard– but the 3 grand-girls were most interested in how to whip cream.  “How do you know how to do that Grandma Rhonda?”  “How does it turn “hard” into whipped cream?”  “Can I hold the mix we too so I can make whipped cream?”…

PEACH & BLACKBERRY CLAFOUTIS
1 1/2 pound yellow peaches
6 oz. blackberries (a little more than a cup)
1 tab. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
4 eggs
1 cup whole milk
3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup cream*
powdered sugar to dust the top

Slice the peaches (no need to peel them) into a bowl.  Add the blackberries and stir in the 1 tablespoon of sugar.

Then in another bowl, with an electric mixer beat together the vanilla, eggs, milk, flour, salt, sugar and cream.

Transfer the fruit into a 2 1/2 quart baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Then carefully pour the cream mixture over the top.

Pop it into the oven at 350 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes until the custard is set.  Let it sit at least 5 minutes and then dust with powdered sugar through a sieve.   Spoon it out into bowls and enjoy!

If you have whipping cream left in your carton– whip it up to serve along with the clafoutis–and top with a couple berries.

–and the secret ingredient in whipped cream is to add 1 tsp. of vanilla instant pudding dry mix.  It stabilizes the cream to stay stiff and beautiful until it’s time to serve it up.

IMG_0030P.S.– did you spot the photographer in the bowl of the spoon?

Blackberry Cornbread Muffins

IMG_9301Hello Baking Buddies–  I’ll tell you, I’m having more fun cooking with the grand-girls staying here!  When I launch into dinner making, usually one of them will wander through the kitchen and pull up a chair to help.

So last week, I enlisted Charlotte to collect a few blackberries from the side yard and to help stir up these blackberry corn muffins to go along with a Taco-ish salad.  We had a grand time mixing and talking…

IMG_9271BLACKBERRY CORNBREAD MUFFINS
1  1/4 cup flour
3/4 cup cornmeal
2  1/2 tsp. baking powder
3/4  tsp. salt
1/4 to 1/2 cup sugar*
1 egg
3 tab. oil
1 cup milk
1  1/2 cup blackberries**

 

Stir together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt and sugar.  Then mix in the egg, oil and milk.

I cut the blackberries in half because they were a little large– you can do that or leave them whole.  Carefully fold them into the cornbread batter, so they don’t stain the batter.

Spoon the mixture into 12 muffins papers set in muffin tine.

Bake them up at 250 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes until they just start to brown and are firm to the touch.

Serve them up warm with lots of butter*** and honey or blackberry jam…

*Larry likes less sugar in his cornbread. I like more.  Either measurement 1/4 or 1/2 works just fine.
**You can use any berries in place of blackberries–and 1 1/2 cups can be more or less…
***And did you read the cover story in the Time magazine this week– “Eat Butter!”  It looks like butter isn’t quite at bad for us as I’ve been thinking all these years. That makes my butter loving self happy!