Berry and Buttermilk Cobbler

A few weeks ago I had a number of friends who had birthdays in quick succession.  I wanted to do something to acknowledge their days, and so one Saturday morning when Meg and I awoke far too early in the day, we found ourselves making these individual cobblers and delivering them around.  I looked for a few different recipes for consideration, and the recipe from the Small Victories cookbook looked to fit the bill.  Don’t they look great?

Berry and Buttermilk Cobbler

Berry and Buttermilk Cobbler

2 lbs mixed berries, rinsed (strawberries are not ideal)
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
Kosher salt
2 Tbsp cornstarch
1 c flour
1 tsp baking powder
4 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1/2 c buttermilk

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.  Lightly butter the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish with the butter wrapper.  Put the berries in the prepared dish and drizzle with the lemon juice.  Add 1/4 c of the sugar and a generous pinch of salt.  Use your hands to combine all the ingredients. (Taste the berries to check the sugar and lemon levels.  Cut too much sweetness with more lemon juice.  Cut too much tartness with more sugar.)  Mix in the cornstarch and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the remaining 1/4 c sugar, the flour, baking powder, and 1/2 tsp salt.  Whisk everything together.  Drizzle the butter and buttermilk over the dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon until a shaggy dough forms.

Use two teaspoons to dollop the dough evenly over the berries.  Put the baking dish on a parchment-lined baking sheet to catch any drips and make clean-up a breeze.

Bake until the topping is dark golden brown and the berries are bubbling, about 1 hour.  Let stand at room temperature for about 15 minutes before serving so that the juices collect themselves and don’t run everywhere.

Brambleberry Crisp Ice Cream

Our school mascot is the Rams.  And, we have a small, but important-to-us rivalry with a nearby college through athletics.  We have a trophy that passes back and forth between the two campuses (or at least is supposed to travel back and forth), and for the first time in its existence, we were able to secure the trophy on our campus.  In some kind of great ways, the Cup isn’t based on a single sporting event, but a series of competitions between the teams where points are earned.  This April, it came down to a single baseball game between the schools.  We played it at the local minor league team’s stadium and the students from my campus had a great showing.  So, on this chilly (people were in snowsuits) April evening, we played inning after inning, resulting in the trophy making its way to our campus at the end of the night.

Our student government president and others have been thinking about ways to celebrate this, and while we didn’t have a major celebration before the year ended, now that we have commenced school, I had a birthday, and other things came to a close, I wanted to celebrate with some staff members on-campus.  I decided that making this bRAMbleberry crisp ice cream might be the way to do it.  Even better, our school colors are purple and this turned out to have shades of purple throughout it.

I followed the instructions over on the Bite-Sized Baker website for this recipe.  I didn’t notice the recipe in the Jeni’s cookbook, but maybe it was there.  Either way, I’m appreciative of the recipe being on this website and being easy to follow.

Brambleberry Crisp Ice Cream.jpg

Brambleberry Crisp Ice Cream from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home:

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream:

2 cups whole milk
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 ½ ounces cream cheese, softened
1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 ¼ cups heavy cream
2/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped out, seeds and bean reserved

“Brambleberry” Sauce:

2 cups blackberries and raspberries
1 cup sugar

Crisp Streusel:

½ pound unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes and chilled
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¾ cup packed light brown sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups old-fashioned oats

To make the sauce, combine the berries and sugar in a 1-quart saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Continue boiling, stirring occasionally, until it reaches 220 degrees F (5 to 8 minutes). Let cool slightly, then force through a sieve to remove seeds. (Or leave a few seeds in there just to prove you made it.) Refrigerate until cold before using.

To make the crisp streusel, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Put all the ingredients except the oats in a bowl and blend by rubbing the dry ingredients into the butter with your fingertips. Work quickly so that the butter does not melt. When the mixture looks like coarse sand, add the oats and mix well. Spread out on an ungreased baking sheet. Break apart any large clumps into crumbs about ¼ to ½ inch in size. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until toasted and browned, stirring occasionally to prevent burning, especially in the corners, and to turn over the unbaked portions. Let cool completely, and then freeze until ready to use. The streusel can be frozen for up to 1 month.

To make the ice cream, mix about 2 tablespoons of the milk with the cornstarch in a small bowl to make a smooth slurry. Whisk the cream cheese and salt in a medium bowl until smooth. Fill a large bowl with ice and water.

Combine the remaining milk, the cream, sugar, corn syrup, and vanilla seeds and bean in a 4-quart saucepan, bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat, and boil for 4 minutes precisely. Remove from the heat and gradually whisk in the cornstarch slurry. Bring the mixture back to a boil over medium-high heat and cook, stirring with a heatproof spatula, until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Remove from heat.

Gradually whisk the hot milk mixture into the cream cheese until smooth. Pour the mixture into a 1-gallon Ziploc freezer bag and submerge the sealed bag in the ice bath. Let stand, adding more ice as necessary, until cold, about 30 minutes.

Remove the vanilla bean. Pour the ice cream base into the frozen canister and spin until thick and creamy.

After churning, pack into a storage container alternating it with layers of bramblerry sauce and crisp streusel. Press a sheet of parchment paper directly against the surface, and seal with an airtight lid. Freeze in the coldest part of your freezer until firm, at least four hours.

Blackberry Spinach Salad

Summer is here!  With that, it’s salad season and I found several recipes I had written down for salads in one location or another.  This (very simple) recipe for blackberry spinach salad ended my day with some brightness and cheerfulness after several days of eating a quick meal here or there and whatever I could so glamorously shove in my mouth to either a) stay awake or b) provide some brief sustenance.  Then, as I planted my garden and saw the lettuce and spinach starting to appear, as well as some blackberry bushes I planted last year, I remembered this recipe and knew I wanted to put it together the next night.

Blackberry Spinach Salad

Blackberry Spinach Salad

3 cups baby spinach, rinsed and dried
1 pint fresh blackberries (or substitute strawberries, etc…)
6 ounces crumbled goat cheese
1 green onion, sliced
1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts (optional)

In a large bowl, toss together baby spinach, blackberries, goat cheese, green onion, and walnuts.  Serve with balsamic vinaigrette dressing

Blueberry and Blackberry Galette with Cornmeal Crust

My birthday buddy came to visit a few weeks ago with his partner.  We got together with my roommate-status friend here in Iowa and after dinner, I invited the crew back to my place for a little dessert.

You may have noticed a trend of berries and/or cornmeal-related item lately.  Berries have been on sale like crazy and after making the biscuits I mentioned in a post a week or so ago, I couldn’t help but look for some more of these recipes which put berries and cornmeal together.

I had never made a galette before.  But, I had eaten one over the holidays at a gathering I was invited to following my dissertation defense.  I figured it was time I put one together.  This recipe came from Cooking Light.  I’m sure it’s in an annual cookbook, but I found it on their web site and recommend you consider making it as well.

Blueberry and Blackberry Galette with Cornmeal Crust

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Olive Oil and Cornmeal Cake with Blackberries

I woke up the other morning wanting to make a cake.  I knew I wanted something quick and easy and that could be made with ingredients I (mostly) had on hand.  Luckily, I love my grocery store at 6:00 in the morning when no one else is there.

I served this cake alongside the Sausage Burgers with Sriracha Honey Mustard.  The original recipe came from the Good Neighbor Cookbook.  It didn’t call for the blackberries, but I decided to add them and help give a little more oomph to the cake.

I was talking about it the next day at work and I don’t think my coworker could believe cornmeal and olive oil were in it, so I ran home over lunch and grabbed the cake.  I served it all around the building.  One of the folks with whom I work shared he loves both cornbread and olive oil and gave the cake a positive grade, so I am guessing the recipe is probably a keeper.

Olive Oil and Cornmeal Cake with Blackberries

Olive Oil and Cornmeal Cake with Blackberries

1 c flour
1/2 c cornmeal
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp kosher salt
3 large eggs
1 c sugar
8 oz container creme fraiche (or sour cream)
3/4 c extra-virgin olive oil
1 package blackberries

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly oil and flour a 9-inch cake pan, tapping out the excess flour, and line the bottom with parchment paper, or oil and flour a 9-inch springform pan.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, and creme fraiche.  While whisking, slowly drizzle in the olive oil.  Add the flour mixture and whisk until just combined (do not overmix).  Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake until the top is golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 40 to 50 minutes.  Let cool for at least 30 minutes on a wire rack before unmolding.

If using a cake pan, invert the cake onto a plate, remove the parchment and invert again to serve the cake top side up.  For the springform pan, remove the ring and use a spatula to slide the cake onto a plate.