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So after the fail of my Dimply Plum Cake, I was a little scared about the Raspberry Buttermilk Cake I’d be baking the next morning, so scared I cooked it a little longer than necessary- but let me tell you, it was delish!

This dough is easy to make, and the buttermilk was easy to make too- I highly recommend making your own- you need very little and unless you’re planning on using it for something else, it will probably be a waste of buttermilk.

I got scared when I looked at the amount of batter and the size of the pan (I used a 10inch pan as that’s all we had).  I thought it would be too thin and the cake would dry out and crumble.  But I went with it, and I’m happy I did.  Although Smitten is a little anal and places her raspberries perfectly, I just let loose and threw those suckers all over the top- using more than the listed amount too, my Husband said, “What can go wrong, more raspberry taste is good!”

My cake wouldn’t come out of the pan, so I just served it straight from there and people ate it so quickly they didn’t care how it was served.

To make up for the Dimply Plum cake I whipped up another batch of these oh so easy and oh so yummy Blueberry Crumb Bars.  Now is the time to make them- blueberries galore.  Go do it!  (Hint, you don’t need the zest, and you can swab in any other citrus juice, I used Orange this time since all the lemons had been snatched for the lemonade!)

In addition, I made a batch of the Watermelon Lemonade.  What a perfect summertime treat!  I setthe husband to work juicing the lemons and I cut up some watermelon, made simple syrup and mixed it all up.  Easy and delicious.  This a tart drink that is not weighed down by the watermelon. so have no fear.  (We thought it might be too watery).

Now I want to have July 4th all  over again!

You can head over to Smitten Kitchen for the recipes and photos, but I realized I like listing them out here too- so here you go!

Raspberry Buttermilk Cake

Makes one thin 9-inch cake (or 10-inch), Serves about 8, or 4 with seconds.

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened(I’m pretty sure I used salted, didn’t make a lick of difference)
2/3 cup  plus 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar, divided
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest (optional)
1 large egg
1/2 cup well-shaken buttermilk
1 cup fresh raspberries- or a few more, if you’re feeling reckless!

Preheat oven to 400°F with rack in middle. Butter and flour a 9 or 10-inch round cake pan.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and set aside. In a larger bowl, beat butter and 2/3 cup  sugar with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about two minutes, then beat in vanilla and zest, if using. Add egg and beat well.

At low speed, mix in flour mixture in three batches, alternating with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour, and mixing until just combined.Spoon batter into cake pan, smoothing top. Scatter raspberries evenly over top and sprinkle with remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar.  This felt like a lot of sugar, but go with it, it works!

Bake until cake is golden and a wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool in pan 10 minutes, then turn out onto a rack and cool to warm, 10 to 15 minutes more. Invert onto a plate.  I let mine stay in for about 30, not only because of the plum fiasco, but also I had added in a few more raspberries so I want to make sure it was cooked evenly.  In addition, I didn’t cool mine this way and it was still gobbled down!

Make your own buttermilk: No need to buy buttermilk especially for this or any recipe. Add one teaspoon tablespoon [updated, as an astute reader pointed out that the larger amount is more common] of vinegar or lemon juice to one cup of milk and let it sit until it clabbers, about 10 minutes. Voila, buttermilk!  DO IT!

Watermelon Lemonade

Makes enough to fill two glasses with ice cubes; I think we did this recipe by 5 to bring to a party.  It was the perfect amount with other drinks on offer.

1/4 cup (2 ounces) fresh-squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup (4 ounces) fresh watermelon puree, strained through a coarse strainer to remove seeds
3 tablespoons (1 1/2 ounces) simple syrup*
3/4 cup (6 ounces) cold water or seltzer

Cube watermelon and put in to blender to puree.  After straining, don’t just throw out what’s left, it is still watermelon and is yummy!

Stir it all together and serve over ice. Garnish it with a thin watermelon or lemon wedge, if you’re feeling fancy.

Spritzy variation: I have never met a beverage I didn’t think would taste better bubbly, thus, if you’re looking for a spritzier version of this, swap one-third (1/4 cup) or more of the water with seltzer or sparkling water.

Boozy variation: My husband thinks this would taste even better with a splash of vodka. I am not one to argue.  I tried it, it is good, dangerously good.

* Make your own simple syrup: Please. I see it sold in stores and it just boggles my mind. Simmer one part water with one part sugar (I did a cup of each and ended up with more than I needed for a quadruple batch) until sugar has dissolved. Let cool. Or, you can use my speedier method where you simmer one part sugar with half as much water and once it has dissolved, add the second half of the water, cold, which cools the mixture down faster (when you like nothing to slow your pace to the nearest mocktail).  I have to agree with her here, I don’t see why anyone would pay for simple syrup- it has simple in it for a reason.

As soon as I read this recipe over on Smitten Kitchen after being referred to it via Stephanie Klein I knew I had to make it over the long weekend.  While blueberries are not abundant right now, we have a lovely little produce shop down the street I knew would come through for me, on the yummy and not too pricey blueberry front.

The recipe as Smitten Ktichen says is very, very easy.  It was fun to dig my hands into the mixture and get the consistency I wanted instead of just watching it happen in a mixer.  Not to knock the mixer, I am ever so grateful to have one.  So, back to the easy factor.  I made these while on the phone, balancing over our Super who was fixing the dishwasher.  Seriously.  That’s how easy this is to put together.  I made one mistake, I put the lemon juice in the dough, so I used some fake stuff I had in the fridge for the blueberry mixture- I honestly don’t think it made any difference.

Yield: More than you’ll need, seriously I had too many and I gave a lot out.

1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup cold butter (2 sticks or 8 ounces)
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon salt
Zest and juice of one lemon
4 cups fresh blueberries
1/2 cup white sugar
4 teaspoons cornstarch

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a 9×13 inch pan.

2. In a medium bowl, stir together 1 cup sugar, 3 cups flour, and baking powder. Mix in salt and lemon zest. Use a fork or pastry cutter to blend in the butter and egg, I just used my hands. Dough will be crumbly. Pat half of dough into the prepared pan.

3. In another bowl, stir together the sugar, cornstarch and lemon juice. Gently mix in the blueberries. Sprinkle the blueberry mixture evenly over the crust. Crumble remaining dough over the berry layer.

4. Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes, or until top is slightly brown.  Cool completely before cutting into squares, this helps a lot.

These came out gooey and smelled delicious.  The stayed delicous a week plus later.  The one problem, they go down too easy.  They’re not too sweat, have just the right tang and feel light and yet hearty.

The one thing I’d change is that I put too much of the dough mixture on the bottom of the pan and didn’t have enough to cover the blueberries, so they weren’t as bar looking or covered as I would have liked.

I will be revisiting these this summer for sure- they’d make a great 4th of July treat!

BlueSun Dappled

I dont’ remember how I found it, but I stumbled across what looked like an easy and yummy recipe for a berry meringue. (Plus she’s got great photos!)  I love meringues, and I love berries so it was perfect.  I wanted it to be one of my January recipes, but said stomach virus side tracked me.

Yesterday I was in NH for the day and being surrounded by a lot of fluffy white snow reminded me of this recipe, so I got to it!

Meringue’s are so easy with a mixer.  I remember when I was a kid helping my mom bake and whipping the egg whites and sugar by hand, yikes.

Getting the berries mixed in isn’t as easy as it may sound/look.  You really do have to be careful not to let the whites fall.  Using the spatula was a good work around, but it still didn’t mix as well as I would have liked and some meringues were berrier than others.  Oh well.

Unfortunately these didn’t come out ideal.  I think I could have let the egg whites whip for a few more minutes.  That mixed with the wet berries made the meringues a lot softer than I usually like.  I’ll definitely be trying these again, and now I’m excited and confident about making meringues in the future- they’re quite easy!

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