Posts Tagged by blackberry
|August 1, 2016||Posted by Tracy Knutsen under Cakes|
When your amazing life calls for something other than the standard strawberry shortcake, why not bump it up a bit and have a delicious Blackberry Shortcake instead? This one is so simple and you can use what you have on hand.
We visited our favorite local farm yesterday to find some gorgeous, fresh blackberries! We’re blackberry fanatics at my house and could easily sit down with a big bowl of these little gems and happily have them as a meal.
After considering the possibilities, and how worn out we were from a day of errands, we decided to make a quick dinner and needed a simple dessert to go with it. Anyone can have strawberry shortcake. Why not take advantage of what’s fresh now and make a beautiful Blackberry Shortcake?
So, you can really make a shortcake dessert using whatever base you have on hand. No need to get fancy or spend a lot of time baking. I happen to have some dessert shells in the freezer. Some of the things I have piled fruit on are :
- a canned or frozen biscuit (sprinkle a little sugar on top before baking)
- a cookie or two, or a little bowl of crumbled cookies
- cinnamon toast
- frozen pound cake
- a cupcake
- a scone
Even though in legit baking world, these options are not technically “shortcake”, who cares? They all make a shortcake-style, easy, yummy dessert that you can make right now.
While I pulled dinner together, I macerated a pint of blackberries in a few tablespoons of sugar. This will created all that fabulous juice you want on your shortcake. It only takes about an hour and can be hastened by crushing them up a bit.
Then it’s as simple as putting down your base and spooning on some berries.
Adding some of that gorgeous syrup.
Top it with your favorite whipped topping, ice cream or syrup.
Seriously, what could be more beautiful, simple and delicious?
|January 29, 2016||Posted by Tracy Knutsen under Cakes|
It’s just gorgeous! This easy pavlova dessert can be on your table tonight!
I recently celebrated my 50th birthday and asked my daughter to make me a pavlova. I’ve never tried one and I’ve always admired how delicate and pretty they are. Little did I know that there was a surprise party coming my way and the cake was already taken care of! Still a little obsessed, I set out the next weekend to make a pavlova myself.
While I started off a bit intimidated, I soon figured out that this is one of the simplest desserts to make. There are endless varieties and the visual impact is huge! This is a yummy confection that will impress anyone.
You know what they say…if I can do it, so can you. Here’s how!
Mixed Berry Pavlova
6 egg whites, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons white vinegar or lemon juice
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Fruit Compote and Topping
3 cups berries of choice (I used blackberries, blueberries, strawberries and raspberries)
1/2 cup sugar
- Make a quick fruit compote by combining 2 cups of berries (save one cup for assembly) and 1/2 cup sugar in a saucepan over medium heat for about 15 minutes. Once berries begin to break down and a syrupy juice forms, remove from heat to another container and refrigerate.
- Preheat over to 250 degrees Fahrenheit (yes, 250.) Prepare a baking sheet with a silpat or parchment paper with a little powdered sugar or cornstarch sprinkled on top.
- Beat egg whites and salt on medium speed until stiff peaks form.
- Slowly add sugar over the next couple of minutes. Once incorporated, turn mixer up to high and beat for another 6 minutes until the mixture is shiny and glossy. For best results, the sugar should be completely dissolved.
- Sprinkle in the cornstarch and vinegar. Fold in just until blended.
- Mound the egg whites on the prepared baking sheet. Using a spatula or the back of a spoon, form the mound into a flat, circular shape, 7-8 inches in diameter and a maybe 3 inches high. Don’t overwork it.
- Place in oven for 1 1/2 hours – do not open the oven door during this time.
- Turn off the oven and let cool for another 1 1/2 hours. You may crack the oven door at this point.
- When the pavlova cools and you’re ready to serve, prepare the whipped topping by beating the heavy cream until thick. Add powdered sugar and vanilla and blend well.
- Assemble. Carefully loosen and lift the pavlova from the baking sheet and onto a serving dish. Spread the whipped cream on top in an even layer and create a shallow well in the center to better hold the compote.
- Add the fruit compote, then top with the remaining fresh berries. Add a few mint sprigs if you have them!
You can make so many different varieties of pavlova.
- The fruit toppings are endless! We’re doing peach next, but how about just strawberry? Passion fruit? Cherry?
- Another combination I’m smitten with is lemon and honey. Maybe a layer of lemon curd and a drizzle of honey?
- Chocolate is very popular. Maybe a Nutella Pavlova…yum! Or Cafe Mocha?
- Perhaps just tinting the pavlova with a drop or two of food coloring? I imagine some very pretty Easter desserts by doing that.
Have you ever made a pavlova? I’d love to know what you put on top of yours and if you have any advice?
|July 5, 2014||Posted by Tracy Knutsen under Pies and Cobblers|
We’ve been back to our favorite local farm and picked a couple of baskets full of huge, fabulous blackberries! It seems like forever since they were last in season.
We went early, it’s so hot right now, and filled two buckets before we knew it. The berries were absolutely enormous and so sweet!
We ate as many as we could, froze a lot and made this yummy Seedless Blackberry Cobbler.
My grandmother always made a seedless cobbler and it’s so good. Yes, the seeds have tons of fiber, but the older I get, the less I appreciate those seeds in my teeth. I’ll get my fiber elsewhere, thank you very much. The other key to grandma’s cobbler is topping it with cream…fresh cream…from the cow to your bowl (almost). Now, I don’t have a cow, but I do have some Bluebell Homemade Vanilla ice cream and it’s a champion substitute!
Seedless Blackberry Cobbler
4 generous cups of fresh (or frozen) blackberries
1-3/4 cups sugar (add more or less sugar to taste – we start with 1 cup, but always seem to take it somewhere between 1-1/2 and 2 cups)
4 T. flour
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
pinch of salt
3 T. cornstarch
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup shortening
4 tablespoons milk
- Put the blackberries in a medium sized pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and let them simmer to make juice. Press on the berries with the back of a spoon periodically to release the juice.
- Pass the berry mixture through a fine mesh sieve to remove the seeds and pulp -mashing the berries to squeeze out all the juice. Return the juice to the pot and add the sugar, flour, butter and salt. Whisk until well combined and free of lumps. Bring to a slow boil.
- Mix the 3 tablespoons cornstarch in one third cup water and add to the boiling mixture. Whisk until thickened and glossy. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
- While the filling is cooling, prepare the cobbler pastry.
- Blend flour salt and shortening using a pastry cutter or a fork until it reaches a course meal texture. Add milk and knead just until blended and the dough holds together. Chill for 30 minutes.
- Roll out the dough on a floured surface to approximately 1/8 – 1/4 inch thick. Cut into long 1/2 inch wide strips.
- Pour half of the filling mixture into a greased 9×13 baking dish. Lay just under half of the pastry strips across the top of the filling.
- Top with remaining half of filling. Use the rest of the strips to form a lattice-type layer or simply arrange them as desired.
- Before baking, if desired, brush the pastry with an egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1 t. water) and/or sprinkle of granulated sugar.
- Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes until crust is golden and filling is bubbling.
- Serve warm with heavy cream, ice cream, whipped topping or whipped cream.
This whole process begins with extracting the juice from the berries. After rinsing the blackberries, place them in a pot and add water just until they’re covered. Bring to a boil and mash the berries periodically with the back of a big spoon. After 5-10 minutes (when you can really smell them, you know it’s done) pour the mixture through a sieve and press the berries to get all the juice out.
Put the juice back into the pot and add the sugar, flour, butter and salt. At this point, the cornstarch step is optional. It will depend on the amount of juice in your berries and how thick you like your cobbler. We like it more firm – not super runny – and always add the cornstarch. However, the cobbler will set up just fine with only flour, but a little juicier. Once everything is whisked together and pretty lump-free, set it aside to cool a bit. This is what it looks like (with cornstarch) before baking.
(Up until this point, I was so excited about the blackberries, I forgot to take pictures! Blogger fail. So I recruited my daughter to take a few shots during the process and help me to better document everything. Note to self – think twice before allowing your daughter free rein with the camera!)
In the meantime, get started on the pastry. Many cobblers use a drop crust or a batter that you pour into a dish and add the berries to. Those are both super good, but this one is an actual rolled dough. Wait, I see some of you clicking away now. It’s a very simple rolled dough. It takes about 5 minutes to mix together and another couple of minutes to roll out. No worries! The key here is not to over mix or knead the dough too much after you add the milk. Cut in the shortening, add the milk, stop. If you’re like me, I love crust. This pastry can easily be doubled to make your cobbler heartier or even just to make two cobblers.
Now roll. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to about an 1/8 inch thickness. I roll between two pieces of waxed paper. (This is that part about the daughter and the camera…you get 145 pictures of yourself with a rolling pin – and you get teased for not using the handles.)
Once it’s rolled out, cut it into long strips – about a 1/2 or so in width. I like to use a pizza cutter, but a knife or regular pastry cutter work, too. (You’ll also notice that your crust will taste better if you wear some of the flour while you work!) The
awkward organic shape of the dough is fine for a casual, keep-it-in-the-family cobbler, but if it’s for company or the church potluck, something that more closely resembles a rectangle will yield more uniform strips.
We’ve even used cookie cutters to make to top layer of crust on our cobbler. These hearts and butterflies were for a peach cobbler last year.
Next step – build the cobbler!
Add about half of the filling to a WELL greased, 9×13 baking dish and lay almost half of the strips across the filling. Not too close together, and it doesn’t have to be fancy. This is going to be covered with more filling.
Cover this with the rest of the filling. Don’t you just love the color of this stuff?
Top this with the rest of the pastry strips. Here is where you can get creative, or not. A traditional lattice style works nicely here, but my strips weren’t quite long enough and I just pieced them together. Pastry dough rolled into a rectangular shape and with trimmed edges will create longer and prettier strips of dough to work with. On the other hand, this part of the process is super fun for kids to help with and it won’t matter what your strips look like!
Before baking, if you like, you can brush the pastry with an egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1 t. water will make it shiny and golden brown -or- just an egg white will make it crispier and a more pale color) and/or sprinkle a little granulated sugar on top.
Pop the pan in the oven for about 45 minutes and you’re in the cobbler business! This is best served warm with heavy cream, ice cream, whipped cream, whipped topping, extra berries, whatever you like. I like heavy cream the best, but in a pinch, ice cream is the way to go. It’s basically heavy cream when it melts anyway!
Cobbler has always been one of our favorites. This Peach Cobbler with Blackberries is near the top of the list, too! And, as long as you’re feeling cobbler-y, try this beautiful, traditional Peach Cobbler.