Blackberry Quick Bread

Come on. Confess. You’ve been hoarding those berries in the back of your freezer. It’s time to get them out. Have some faith that spring is near.  This flexible quick bread can be made with any berry,  just be sure to defrost them completely before using.

Makes 2 loaves – one for you and one for a friend (who will truly appreciate the sharing of your freezer stash)

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 white wheat (or whole wheat) flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp almond extract
1/2 tsp. lemon juice (optional)
4 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup applesauce
about 12 oz. blackberries, gently mashed
almonds (optional, for sprinkling on top)

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. This bread will mix up faster than your oven can preheat – it’s that quick! Grease and flour 2 bread pans.
  2. Mix flours, sugar, baking soda, salt.
  3. Stir in flavorings, eggs, oil, and applesauce.
  4. Fold in blackberries. (Don’t be alarmed. Your batter should be bright purple. Baking will tone it down a little.)
  5. Bake for 1 hour.
  • Do you have a lot of frozen berries? How about dessert? Kids love roly poly or mix berries for an easy crisp.

Blackberry Pie

Summer around here smells like blackberries. Due to the heat, they’re out a little earlier than usual. The first step for this pie is picking a large  bowl of fresh berries. Have fun!

You’ll find a recipe for Blackberry Crisp and Blackberry Roly Poly on our new recipes page. Both are yummy but quicker to make up than a pie.blackberry pie

two 9-inch pie crusts

1 large bowl of blackberries (about 6-7 cups)
3/4 cup sugar
4 tbls. AP flour
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
3 tbls. butter, diced

  1. Thinly roll out one pie crust. (Invert your pie plate on the dough to take a measurement. You should roll your dough into a circle that is about 2 inches larger than the lip of your pie plate.)  Butter your pie plate and lay in the dough. Let the excess hang over the edge. (You will use this to seal the top crust.) Chill the second piece of dough until you are finished with the filling and ready to roll out the top dough.
  2. Prepare berries by gently rinsing and laying out on an old dishtowel to dry.
  3. Mix dry ingredients with berries. Gently fold with a spoon to mix.
  4. Pour berry mixture into pie plate and dot with butter.
  5. Roll out the top crust between two sheets of plastic wrap or two silpats. If you would like shapes in your top crust, use cookie cutters to cut them out. Carefully remove without stretching the dough. Flip the top crust over onto the berry filling. Peel off wrap or silpat.
  6. Fold the bottom crust over the top and seal by pressing gently down onto the lip of the plate. Use your knuckles and thumb to crease, or mark in a cross-hatch pattern with a fork. If you have not cut shapes into your crust, cut at least four vents in the top with a sharp knife.
  7. Bake your pie at 400F for 30-40 minutes. If your pie is bubbling, it will set. Watch it carefully at the end. You want to take it past bubbly, but you do not want it to over-brown.
  8. Cool. Serve alone or with ice cream.

Delicious Ricotta Cheesecake

Here’s a recipe that I worked up for soundfood. It has recently been tested by a reliable group of foodies and dessert lovers. Enjoy!

Ricotta cheesecake is a lovely way to showcase your homemade cheese. Never made cheese? Well, ricotta is a good place to start. It’s easy to do and the flavor far exceeds any store-bought product.  If you arrive at a holiday party with this dessert, it’s sure to invoke ‘oohs and ahhs.’ For a refreshing taste of summer during this dark month, pair it with a sauce made from some of those precious blackberries that you may have stashed in your freezer.

For ricotta:
1 gallon whole milk
1 tsp. citric acid
1/4 cup water

For cake:
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 pounds fresh whole milk ricotta cheese
6 large eggs, separated
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
finely grated orange or lemon zest (optional
1/4 tsp. salt

Begin by making your ricotta. Mix 1 tsp. citric acid into 1/4 cool cup of water and stir to dissolve. Add one gallon of whole milk and this citric acid mixture to a heavy pot. (You can make ricotta with a lower fat milk, but the yield will be much higher with whole milk.) Heat, stirring often, to 185F. Remove from heat and allow to sit for 10 minutes. Place a colander in a large bowl and line it with cheesecloth. Ladle your curds into your cloth. Then, tie the corners to create a bag shape. Hang your cheese for about 1 hour. (Usually ricotta is hung for about 30 minutes, but you want it to be drier for this cake recipe.)

After you have removed your cheese from the cloth, begin to assemble the cake. Preheat the oven to 375F. Butter a 9-inch springform pan and sprinkle bottom and sides with sugar.

In a large bowl, whisk the ricotta, egg yolks 6 tbls. of sugar, zest, and salt until smooth. Set aside.

With an electric mixer, whisk egg whites on low speed until foamy. Increase the mixer to high and gradually add the remaining 6 tbls. of sugar.After about 3 minutes, the egg whites become stiff a glossy.

Gently fold in the egg whites into the ricotta mixture. Spoon into the prepared pan and smooth the top with the back of a spoon or rubber spatula. Bake for about 50 minutes to 1 hour. Test to see if a toothpick comes out clean after about 45 minutes, as this cake can rapidly go from perfect to too dark. (It’s ok if it still jiggles a little bit. As long as the toothpick is clean, your cake is done.) Cool in the pan and then refrigerate until it is time to enjoy!

-All the supplies (citric acid, cheesecloth, cheese thermometer) can be found by visiting the cheese queen.
-For blackberry sauce, add about one cup of blackberries to a saucepan, sprinkle with sugar, and simmer on low until mushy. Run through your food mill for a seedless affair or press through a strainer with the back of a spoon.
-For a large group, I like to serve this next to next to a flourless chocolate cake (recipe also found in the Gourmet cookbook). The blackberry sauce is a wonderful topping for both desserts.

Blackberry Roly Poly

Last year, I taught a cooking class to about a half dozen children. On the first day, I taught them the technique for making pie crust, which they found fun and surprisingly simple. We made a broccoli quiche, from the wonderful book, Salad People. On the second day, we went out and picked berries and then made this roly poly. Because they knew how to make pie crust, this was an easy dessert to take home to their families! 

1 cup flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tbls. chilled butter
1/2 cup milk 

3/4 cup blackberries
2-3 tbls. sugar
1 tbls. melted butter

Mix the dry ingredients. Cut the butter into small pieces and toss with the dry ingredients. Use both hands to crumble and squeeze the butter with your fingers, until it is mixed into uneven pieces. Using a fork, gently stir in the milk. Use your hands to bring the mixture together to make a dough. Knead it for a few minutes, until it is uniform.

Roll the dough out into a rectangle. (Sandwich your dough between wax paper, plastic wrap, or a silpat, and you’ll find the job easier.) Brush your doughy rectangle with melted butter. Brush a bread pan with the remaining butter.

Pour out the blackberries onto the dough and sprinkle with sugar. Roll up, starting with the short end of your rectangle. You may need to poke some berries that escape back in. Place your roly poly into the buttered bread pan. Bake at 350F for about 25 minutes.

If you’d like to make this with your children (or any children who you can rope into picking berries for you), here are some kid-friendly directions that they can read independently.

This recipe is adapted from the Wildwood cookbook, a good resource for eating seasonally.

Blackberry Crisp

If you’re lucky enough to live in a place where you can pick bowlfuls of wild berries, here’s a recipe that’s easy to make and irresistible to eat. Here, the weather has held us up, but we finally have wild blackberries! Now, it really feels like summer! You can make this dessert with any berry that you have. Peaches, nectarines, and raspberries all make wonderful combinations. 

1 1/4 all-purpose flour
6 tbls. brown sugar
2 tbls. white sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup ground hazlenuts (or nut of choice) 
12 tbls. butter

Stir the dry ingredients together. Chop the butter, still chilled into many pieces and work it into the dry ingredients. You want to produce little uneven bits of crumbly topping. 

5 cups of blackberries 
3/4 cup sugar
3 tbls. all-purpose flour
1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
3 tbls. unsalted butter

Prepare the berries. You don’t want to wash blackberries (or raspberries, for that matter) until right before you use them. When you do wash them, do it gently with a sprayer. Lay them out on a towel (that you don’t mind staining) to dry, and hand-pick out the little pieces of nature that aren’t berries.

Mix all of the dry ingredients with the berries and pour into 8X8 pan, deep-dish pie pan, or something pretty that you can bake in. Dot with the butter.

Sprinkle the topping on the top of the berries, completely covering. Bake at 375F for about 30 minutes. The filling should be bubbling up, and your topping should be a light brown. Serve, of course, with vanilla ice cream. Yum!