As I write this, it should be a sunny Sept. day. Instead, it’s cold, the skies have clouded over and it is pouring rain. I’ve put on a sweatshirt and am seriously considering a fire in the wood stove. Normally I would also be singing a song of gloom and doom. However, there’s a blackberry cobbler in the oven adding cheer to the otherwise dismal day.
In case you haven’t noticed, this has been a weird year for gardening! Every gardener I talk with has a different horror story to share. A friend’s green beans were planted three times; tomatoes are undersized and rotting on the vine; and our roses have only bloomed intermittently. There is only one word to describe our 2010 garden and that is — pathetic.
Fortunately, our berry crop is outdoing itself. In fact, our birds were so impressed that they managed to polish off the entire crop of our blueberries and cherries before we could get them picked. Our blackberries and strawberries, however, are still putting out glorious fruit every day.
The strawberries are tiny but oh, so sweet and Chuck’s thorn-less blackberries are to die for. They are plump, juicy and prodigious producers. And yes, I said ‘thorn-less,’ making them easier to pick. This is the first year we’ve had a bumper crop and I’ve been experimenting with pies and cobblers and sauces to put on ice cream. Next up is homemade ice cream. Maybe.
The following recipes are from the Oregon Raspberry & Blackberry Commission. You can always count on them for great recipes and beautiful presentations. The first is a pretty straight-up cobbler recipe but the ginger adds a spicy twist to the topping. The cheesecake calls for frozen raspberries making them easy to find come winter but fresh berries can also be used. And if you only have fresh strawberries or blackberries, use them instead. Enjoy!
1 cup sugar
6 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
6 cups fresh or frozen blackberries
6 cups fresh or frozen raspberries
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon finely chopped crystallized ginger
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon powdered ginger
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
3/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons chilled whipping cream
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Prepare fruit filling:
1.Preheat oven to 375°F.
2. Butter 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish.
3. Mix first 4 ingredients in large bowl.
4. Add berries and lemon juice; toss to blend.
5. Transfer to prepared dish. Dot with butter.
6. Bake until mixture begins to bubble, about 30 minutes.
1. Mix flour, 1/2 cup crystallized ginger, powdered ginger and grated fresh ginger, 1/3 cup sugar, baking powder, lemon peel and salt in medium bowl.
2. Using fingertips, rub in butter until mixture resembles coarse meal or process in the bowl of a food processor for 30 seconds.
3. Add cream; stir until dough forms.
4. Turn dough out onto floured surface and knead gently until smooth, about 6 turns.
5. Roll out to 3/4-inch thickness.
6. Using 2-inch shaped cookie cutter or round biscuit cutter, cut out biscuits. Re-roll dough scraps; cut out additional biscuits.
1. Place biscuits atop hot fruit, spacing closely.
Mix 1 tablespoon crystallized ginger, 1 tablespoon sugar and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon in small bowl; sprinkle over biscuits. Bake cobbler until fruit is tender and biscuits are golden, about 25 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.
©2009 Oregon Raspberry & Blackberry Commission.
For the crust:
2 cups crushed vanilla wafers
3 Tablespoon chopped toasted almonds
4 Tablespoon melted margarine or butter
For the filling:
24 oz. low fat cream cheese
2/3 cup sugar
5 Tablespoon cornstarch
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup amaretto (or any liqueur of your choice)
2 tsp. almond extract (vanilla, if not using amaretto)
For the sauce:
(2) 12 oz. packages IQF raspberries, thawed
5 Tablespoon amaretto (optional)
1/3 cup sugar
Preheat oven to 400° F.
For the crust:
In a small bowl stir together crushed cookies and chopped almonds. Add butter and stir to combine. Press mixture into the bottom of a greased 9" springform pan.
For the filling:
In a large bowl combine cream cheese, sugar and cornstarch. Beat until smooth with an electric mixer. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well each time. Add yolk and beat again. Stir in the whipping cream, amaretto and almond extract. Mix well.
Pour mixture into the crust. Bake for 10 minutes; lower temperature to 200 degrees F. and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until the center no longer looks shiny.
Remove the cheesecake from the oven and run a knife around the inside edge of the pan. Turn the oven off; return the cake to the oven for an additional 30 minutes. Remove from oven and chill for 3 hours or more.
For the sauce:
Puree thawed berries in blender, food mill or food processor and strain through a fine sieve over a wide bowl to remove all seeds.
Heat puree with sugar till mixed. Remove from heat and add liqueur. To serve cheesecake pool 1/4 cup of sauce on each plate. Place serving of cheesecake on sauce. SERVES 10-12
©2010 Oregon Raspberry & Blackberry Commission.