July 31, 2016 § 10 Comments
We’ve had a great spring and summer so far here in Vermont. Not too much rain but that doesn’t seem to bother the blueberries. I’ve been picking my weighted down bushes non stop for a few weeks now. Besides freezing them I’ve made lots of muffins and scones, but wanted to do something a little different with my latest score.
Food and Wine recently had this hand pie recipe and they looked so delicious I had to try them. The recipe is quite easy though I added a few tips as you’re assembling them. I also substituted half white spelt flour and half Einkorn flour for the all purpose. And I had to add some lemon zest because blueberries and lemon zest are a match made in heaven. Try a bowl of berries with sweetened whipped cream sprinkled with lemon zest for dessert one night. Sublime!
So if you find yourself with some blueberries on a rainy Sunday and get the urge to bake, try these.
Blueberry Hand Pies
2 cups all purpose flour or 1/2 white spelt, 1/2 Einkorn flour
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1 1/2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cubed
1 large egg yolk
1/4 cup ice water
2 cups blueberries
1/2 cup sugar ( I used a little less)
2 TBL flour
2 TBL fresh lemon juice
grated lemon zest
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 large egg beaten with 1 tsp water
Turbinado suger for sprinkling or vanilla sugar
Make the dough:
Whisk flour, confectioners’ sugar and salt in large bowl. Cut in butter with a pastry cutter or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse meal with some pea sizes pieces of butter remaining.
Using a wooden spoon, stir in the egg yolk and water until a shaggy dough forms. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently until smooth. Cut the dough in half and shape into 2 disks and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate about an hour until chilled.
In medium bowl, toss the blueberries with sugar, flour, lemon juice, zest, salt and cinnamon.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out 1 disk of dough to a 16 x 9 in rectangle. Approximately. I didn’t get it quite that size. Dough should be about 1/8” thick. Use a 4 in. floured cookie cutter, plate or even a glass to cut out 8 rounds from the dough. I didn’t get 8, only 7 so don’t worry about that either.
Spoon 2 TBL of the filling into the center of each round and fold the dough over.
Tip: After you fold the dough over, push the berries down a bit so they’re evenly spread out. Using the tines of a fork, seal the edges.
Tip: Each one takes a few minutes so while you fill them, put the other cut outs back in the fridge to keep cold. You want to keep the butter cold.
Transfer as you make them to a parchment lined baking sheet, about 1 in apart and put in fridge. Chill about 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Brush the hand pies with the beaten egg wash and sprinkle with the sugar.
Bake about 15 to 18 minutes until nice and golden. Some of the juice will spill out.
Let cool a little, then dig in!
You can freeze these unbaked and pop in oven 25 minutes before serving.
Makes 14 to 16.
August 9, 2015 § Leave a comment
I was sitting outside on my patio and watching the bees furiously going from flower to flower. I noticed a pattern, they would alight on a flower and then leave immediately. Off to another flower, and then the same thing. The flowers didn’t seem to interest them. There was nothing there for them.
The flowers they spent a lot of time on were the old fashioned ones. Foxgloves, hollyhocks, old fashioned roses.
As beautiful as the others were, the ones I bought at the nursery because they had the most beautiful cascade of blooms, the bees wanted nothing to do with them. Same with the hummingbirds. The blooms were beautiful but sterile. It disturbed me and I thought about that for awhile.
It’s the same with our food….beautiful specimens of peaches but with no taste. Red ripe tomatoes that taste like cardboard. And that means there’s nothing there for our nourishment…..like the canary in the coal mine, the bees are telling us to beware.
Luckily more and more people are realizing that eating healthy is really pretty simple. I just read that McDonald’s is closing a lot of it’s “restaurants”, a good sign for the organic and healthy food movement.
Anyway, these are just my thoughts for the day. Now on to dessert.
My currants, blueberries and raspberries are all ripening at the same time, at least enough to get a big bowlful for dessert tonight. You can make this with pretty much any fruit that’s really summer ripe, try the farm stands and farmers markets.
Take a handful of berries, I like raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, and add them to a sauté pan with a little butter and honey. Mash some of them, either with a fork or potato masher. Warm them just a little, you’re not cooking them, just melding the flavors together. Scoop onto individual plates and pour some really good cream over them. I grated a little lemon zest over them too. It’s delicious, gluten and sugar free and couldn’t be easier. And healthier!
July 8, 2012 § 7 Comments
I love berries! And my garden is full of them. Once they get going it’s a picking frenzy I’m on. Currants, gooseberries, raspberries, blackberries and blueberries. I used to have strawberries too, until the chipmunks took over. But I will have them again, I am fighting back. But that will be another post.
The currants are ripe now, so are the gooseberries. Raspberries and blueberries are starting too, I can pick a pint a day now and then it’ll be quarts a day!
Berries are so luscious on their own, mixed together with nothing but some thick, raw cream on top. I like to preserve them too so I make jam, jelly, sauces and put them in smoothies. Of course I have to bake with them and this is my go-to recipe for a delicious afternoon treat.
The original recipe came from the Hay Day Country Market, a gourmet food store that opened in Westport, Connecticut in the 1980’s. It was the first of it’s kind back then, a farm stand originally. They were the first to provide local fruits and vegetables, homemade breads, jams and even flowers. In Westport at the time this was quite a hit. Martha Stewart lived there also and the rest is history as they say!
I’ve changed the recipe a little, used maple syrup instead of the sugar and white spelt flour instead of regular wheat. I like spelt flour because it has less gluten and is one of the original grains, non-hybridized like regular wheat. It’s easier to digest and some people with gluten sensitivities can eat it without a problem. I do all my baking with it.
You can use so many different toppings for this cake. I mixed red currants, raspberries, strawberries and blueberries in this. In the fall, you could make it with apples, pears or plums. Or use them all together. Change the spices too. Cinnamon, ginger or nutmeg are great flavors to try. Mint and pears are a good combination…..you get the idea.
And don’t forget the whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
1 cup white spelt flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 stick unsalted butter (8 Tbl)
1/4 cup maple syrup or 1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp grated lemon zest
2 cups fruit
Butter an 8 or 9 inch cake pan and preheat oven to 350 degrees.
You’ll need an electric mixer for this to really cream the butter and sugar/maple syrup together. Cream about 2 minutes. Add eggs and mix well, then add the vanilla and zest. If you use maple syrup the batter may separate a bit, don’t worry. It won’t if you use sugar.
I never sift my flour, baking powder and salt when I bake. I just measure it and put it right into the creamed mixture. It all gets mixed together well so why the extra step? Works for me, but if you want, you can sift them and then add it. Mix well and pour into the prepared pan.
Put the berries on top evenly, you might want to press them down a little into the batter too. The batter will rise up and cover them a little bit.
And bake for about 25 to 35 minutes. The edges will be browned and you know the toothpick test, make sure it comes out dry when you test the middle of the cake.
I think once you make this and see how easy and delicious it is, it’ll be your go-to cake too. Enjoy!
illustration by me