Posts tagged berries

Easy raspberry tart

Raspberry picking. Yes it’s that time of year. Once you’ve had your fill of popping fresh raspberries by the handful, try this easy tart (and yes, I snuck in some blackberries and blueberries too).

You’ll need a tart pan for this recipe—a pie plate just won’t do. You could try using a 9-inch springform pan in a pinch, but once you’ve tried making tarts, my guess is you’ll want to have one on hand anyway. Tart pans aren’t expensive and you can find them at any large home goods store.

You pre-bake the piecrust to keep it from getting soggy once you add the berries. To pre-bake, the oven will need to be at a higher temperature and you’ll also want to add some weight on top of the crust so it doesn’t get air bubbles in the dough. Simply place some heavy-duty aluminum foil on top, along with either uncooked rice or beans and you’re set. (Once you’re done cooking, carefully remove the aluminum foil and pour the beans or rice back into its container once they’ve cooled. You can still use them.)

The berries are the easiest part of the tart: Wash and dry the berries, then mix in cornstarch, sugar, and lemon. I like my tarts, well, tart, so I don’t add in as much sugar as most recipes call for. If you want to increase the sweetness go ahead and double the sugar.

No fresh berries? Don’t worry, this recipe works well with frozen berries too (or do half and half). Thaw the frozen berries and follow the recipe according to the directions.

Raspberry Tart

Tweaked from How to Cook Everything (Wiley, 1998)

Prep time: 15 minutes + baking

Servings: about 8

Ingredients

1 pre-made pie crust (Trader’s Joes is my fave)

¼ cup sugar

¼ cup cornstarch

1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice

zest from one lemon

3 cups raspberries (fresh or frozen, thawed)

Directions

  1. Lightly coat a tart pan with cooking spray. Lay the dough onto the pan and then press into the edges and up the sides. Trim any excess.
  2. Prick the dough with a fork and then place a piece of aluminum foil on top and weight it with either rice or beans.
  3. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Once heated, cook the crust for about 15 minutes of until barely golden.
  4. Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl stir together sugar and cornstarch. Toss in the raspberries (reserve ¼ cup) and lemon juice and zest.
  5. Mix the berries into the cornstarch/sugar combination. Press the berries with a fork so that some break apart.
  6. Pour the berries into the cooked tart crust. Add the reserved berries on top.
  7. Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees and cook the tart for another 20-30 minutes, or until the berries’ juices are bubbling.
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Mini oatmeal peach crisps

Warm peach slices with a crumbly, buttery filling, topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream was a summertime tradition growing up. Of course, I’ve got to continue that one! When I see peaches at the grocery store or farmers’ markets, I figure it’s peach crisp baking time. And I like to take it one step farther and make ‘em mini. You can still use a regular dutch oven or casserole dish, but for change I’ve included the instructions for using ramekins (sorry, using a muffin pan for this one is a no-go).

I looked through several recipes—and even tried one that literally fell flat—before deciding on the one below. In my mind, fruit crisp has to have oatmeal in it (that’s so you can eat it for breakfast on day #2 and feel like it’s nearly as healthy as oatmeal on its own). But most recipes relied just on oatmeal without including flour, which made for a less crisp crust.

Another point on the crust—I like to cut the butter in with a food processor versus doing it by hand. But the first time I added in all of the dry ingredients from the beginning, then my oatmeal was reduced to crumbs. Ditto for the nuts. To keep my oatmeal and nuts from disappearing, I processed the dry ingredients with the butter first then added in the oatmeal and nuts at the very end. Two pulses so the pieces are still chunky.

Recipe

Tweaked from The American’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook

Prep time: 20 minutes + baking

Servings: 8-10

Ingredients

6 Tablespoons flour

¼ cup brown sugar

¼ cup granulated sugar

¼ teaspoon salt

5 Tablespoons butter

1/3 cup rolled oats (not instant)

¼ cup almonds

2 teaspoons cornstarch

1 teaspoon cinnamon

About 10 peaches

Blueberries or blackberries (optional; I had some handy so I threw ‘em in)

Directions

  1. Bring water to a boil in a large cooking pot. Place the peaches in a large mixing bowl and pour the boiling water over them.

    Found this little pot with a lid on sale--perfect for mini foods

  2. Allow the peaches to sit in the hot water for about 3-5 minutes. Pour out the hot water and rinse the peaches with cold water.
  3. Peel the skins off the peaches, remove the pits, and then slice into ¼” pieces. Place the pieces into a mixing bowl and toss with the cornstarch and cinnamon.
  4. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  5. In a food processor place the flour, sugars, salt. Pulse twice. Add the butter in pieces and pulse until the mixture resembles crumbs.
  6. Place the oatmeal and almonds into the butter mixture and pulse twice to four times (you don’t want to pulverize the nuts and oatmeal just break them up slightly).
  7. Lightly grease a 9” casserole pan or dutch oven (preferred). Place the peach slices into the pan and then add the butter mixture on top.

To make ‘em mini

  1. Grease one 7-ounce ramekin per peach.
  2. Distribute peach slices into ramekins (keep in mind the peaches will shrink by almost half when cooking so this will seem full but they’ll go down–promise). Toss the berries on top.
  3. Carefully top each ramekin with crumb mixture, pressing it down as you go.
  4. Bake on a cookie sheet (I overfilled one and it bubbled over but it still tasted good).
  5. Serve to smiling kids.
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5 minute yogurt popsicles

It started with leftover yogurt no one seemed to be eating and blueberries that were getting squishy. How to get my kids to eat the yogurt–and clean out my fridge? Popsicles!

I combined equal parts yogurt and fresh berries in a blender, drizzled in a tablespoon of agave (honey is fine too) then poured the mixture into little party cups (that hold about 2 1/2 tablespoons). My youngest was in charge of getting the popsicle sticks to stay upright. On their own the sticks fell so I had her poke the stick through a blueberry to give it enough stability to stay upright.

My kids thought this was the coolest thing ever. They’re already planning new flavor combos and asking to try out new fruits. My middle daughter wants to use the sticks to make frozen fruit kabobs.

To make your yogurt popsicles combine 2:1 parts of your favorite yogurt flavor, or plain, with fruit (thawed frozen fruit or bananas work well). You can add a teaspoon of vanilla extract or honey too. I don’t like to use popsicle molds. First, because I don’t have any and second, I like keeping frozen treats small. I find my kids are more willing to try something new if it’s kid-sized. For my batch of 8 small popsicles I used two 8-ounce blueberry yogurt cartons and 1 cup blueberries.

These are perfect summer-time treats, but if you’re looking to bring more colors of the season into your home (not just on your child’s popsicles) check-out these decorating ideas from Motherboard. As part of the MB crew, I’ve been checking out their recent articles.

Your turn–what kind of yogurt popsicle flavors would you like to try?

(I just discovered that my local grocers carries dried edible flowers you can buy in handfuls…lilac strawberry anyone?)

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Inspired by Bluesberry: Blueberry Barbecue Sauce

Blueberries

Photo credit --b--

I used to think blueberries were relatively small and tasteless–that was until I moved to the Midwest. Here, the blueberries are packed with a juicy, sweet tangy punch. And there’s not one or two large berries in a container, it’s the tiny ones that are in the minority. So when I saw flyers up announcing a local ‘Bluesberry Fest’ dedicated to–yup, blueberries with a little live Jazz mixed in–at a local grocers I knew I had to drop by.

Mustard Seed Market and Cafe has two stores located in the greater Cleveland area. The stores try to provide customers with the freshest local ingredients along with a number of organic products–think Trader Joe’s meets Whole Foods with a farmer’s market thrown in. For the Bluesberry Fest each department had to offer samples of recipes using the berry.

My kids are always up for trying new-to-them recipes and with a familiar ingredient like blueberries, I figured we’d be roaming the store for hours. The first few samples were fairly expected (not that they weren’t tasty!)–spinach salad with feta, blueberries and a light vinaigrette; and a fruit salad tossed with fresh mint. Then, there was blueberry salsa. I figured the blueberries would taste out of place alongside tomatoes, red onions, cilantro, lime and jalapenos. Instead the berries offered a kick of sourness to the salsa that gave the standard pico de gallo new life. Served with blue corn tortilla chips, I could also see this salsa used as a garnish with grilled pork chops or chicken (or eaten straight, with a spoon).

There were plenty of other blueberry samples, from coleslaw to lemonade and of course, muffins, but the afternoon of tastings left me wanting to refashion recipes using blueberries either as the star or the secret ingredient. Last night Mr. Squid and I cooked up a batch of blueberry barbecue sauce. As with the salsa, the sweet and sour blueberries gave the barbecue sauce a depth of flavor that perked up our pork sandwiches. I’d love to pass along the recipe–and it’s no secret–but it was a ‘little-or-this-and-that’ kind of experiment.

Here’s what went into our sauce:

In a medium-sized sauce pan we melted two tablespoons of butter and then added a cup and a half of blueberries along with half of a yellow pepper, diced. We let that cook on medium-high heat until the sauce became nearly syrupy. Then came the doctoring: we added barbecue sauce from a bottle (maybe a cup) along with a little deli mustard, yellow mustard, apple cider vinegar, Tabasco, hickory spice, Worcestershire sauce and a dash of salt. We probably would have added a little bit of soy sauce too if we hadn’t run out earlier in the week.

The blueberry barbecue sauce brought a tangy flavor and deep purple color to our pork sandwiches (we topped them with some crumbled queso fresco cheese). I knew our sauce had to be good when my youngest daughter got up and roamed the kitchen looking for seconds (there weren’t any). While I wouldn’t top a burger with the sauce, it would make for some memorable wing sauce or topping for pork loin. Have you been experimenting with summer berries lately?

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