Friday, July 02, 2021

Berries For Dad - Various Ways

This time of year is berry season in my mind. Our local strawberry farmer puts in different varieties, so we still have lots of ripe local strawberries. The ollalieberries that are like blackberries on steroids, full of juice and lively flavor, are covering the bushes down by the road, and blueberries from Watsonville are here, too, in the market. Is it any wonder that Sweetie wanted berry pie for Father's Day? I was happy to comply. What was a little unusual is that he wanted it for breakfast, not as a dinner dessert, so that's what we did. We shared it with friends, too, so I made with olla berries and peaches and nectarines and a second just loaded with strawberries, ollalieberries and blueberries. What a treat!

If you are making this pie (or these pies) with Pillsbury ReadyCrust or any other pre-formed pie dough, be sure to let it come to room temperature before unrolling the dough. That will help keep it from sticking and will also mean that it will be pliable for rolling out, since you want to roll the dough into a circle about 12-inches in diameter for this kind of pie. That allows for plenty of room to spread out the filling with some still left to fold over much of the fruit.  A pie that is too tall and narrow will take longer to bake and some of the fruit might still be uncooked when the crust has browned.

While we still had plenty of blueberries after making the pies, I also made Sweetie a breakfast of Blubes, otherwise known as blueberry pancakes. I know that using a baking mix like Bisquick is faster, but this from scratch recipe is really, really better, so take the few extra minutes and a bit of extra washing up and make your favorite a special, seasonal summer breakfast, too.

Mixed Berry or Nectarine-Blueberry Galette

1-crust pie dough, rolled out into a 12-inch circle (I use Pillsbury ReadyCrust, rolled out thinner)
1/4 cup sugar (or less if fruit is ripe and sweet)
zest of 1/2 lemon
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup dry breadcrumbs
4-5 cups fresh fruit - wash, hull, peel, pit, slice as needed
1 egg mixed with 1 tablespoon water
Sanding sugar (Optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Place the rolled out dough circle on a piece of parchment which is on a 12-inc pizza pan or large cookie sheet.
In a small bowl mix together the sugar and lemon zest, rubbing together with clean fingers until sugar is looks like damp sand. Mix in the cornstarch and bread crumbs.

In the center of the dough, place the bread crumb mixture and spread out evenly, leaving the outer 3 inches or so bare.

Place the fruit in the center of the dough and spread out over the crumb mixture. Fold up the outer 3 inches or so over the fruit, pleating as needed.
Use a pastry brush to brush the egg wash over the pleated dough.  If desired, sprinkle with about a tablespoon sanding sugar while egg is still wet.
Turn down the oven to 375 degrees F. Bake in preheated 375 degree oven until fruit is bubbly and crust is golden brown, about 20-25 minutes. Serve warm or cooled.
Serves 8

Blueberry  Pancakes
based on a recipe for plain pancakes in The Breakfast Book by Marion Cunningham

1 egg
2 tablespoons water
5 tablespoons butter
1 cup milk
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt (I used 1/2 teaspoon since the butter was salted)
1 cup (about) fresh blueberries, rinsed and dried

Whisk the egg with the water. Set aside. Melt the butter over low heat in a small pot. When melted, add the milk, stir to combine and let cool. When cool, whisk in the egg mixture.

In a large bowl sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Stir in the chopped pecans and bacon. Add the butter/milk/egg mixture and stir until just combined. If too thick, add a little more water.

On a preheated, greased skillet or griddle, over medium-high heat, place enough batter for a 4 -5 inch pancake. Top with some of the blueberries, pushing the berries down into the batter a bit. Repeat to fill the skillet or griddle. When small bubbles form around the sides of each pancake, turn the pancake and let the berry side cook until dark brown. Remove pancakes to a plate as they finish cooking. Continue cooking until all of the batter has been used up.

Serve while hot with real maple syrup. We didn't need extra butter with these, but you could if you prefer your pancakes that way.
Serves 3 - 4.

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