Archive for: Blackberry
You can always bake berries into a cobbler or pie, but when you have a basket of ripe berries, sometimes the best thing that you can do with them is show them off in their natural state. This easy to make Mixed Berry and Mascarpone Tart is a perfect dessert for showcasing berries. It starts with a sweet, almond shortbread tart crust that is filled with a creamy mascarpone filling before being topped with fresh berries. The most time consuming part is making the crust – and that only takes a few minutes. The flavor of the crisp, butter almond shortbread with the cool filling and super sweet, in-season berries can’t be beat.
I use mascarpone cheese in this filling because it has a nice creaminess and a slightly sweet flavor that really sets off the berries very well. Cream cheese could be used as a substitute, but it has a stronger flavor and will be a more dominant element when the tart is served. Feel free to adjust the amount of confectioners’ sugar in the filling to your tastes, adding a little bit extra if you prefer your filling to be a little bit sweeter. I stuck with a simple combination of raspberries and blackberries for my fruit here. They are about the same size, which gives the tart a nice look, and their flavors go very well together. Don’t hesitate to mix up the berry combination with blueberries or boysenberries, too! I think that the tart looks stunning with neat rows of fresh berries, but you can actually use all kinds of fruit as a topping.
The tart recipe is for a 10-inch round tart, but you can see from the photos that it can also be made in tart pans of different sizes. Since this is a no-bake filling, you don’t need to worry about baking times and pan sizes too much with this recipe. Press your tart dough into any shape tart pan – round or rectangular, large or small – and bake the crust until it is just golden (the baking times are very similar to the full size tart, as long as the crusts are a similar thickness), then you’re ready to fill. If you do happen to have a rectangular tart pan, I definitely recommend it as it is easy to decorate and serve in this format.
Bread pudding can be a surprisingly versatile dish. The combination of custard and bread is easily flavored with all kinds of ingredients. For instance, you can stir in citrus zest, dried fruit, fresh berries or even spike it with a bit of alcohol. The most popular way to dress up a bread pudding, though, is with a strongly flavored sauce and my bread pudding here is no exception. This Vanilla Bread Pudding with Blackberry Sauce is a favorite dessert to make during the summer when berries are in season and
This bread pudding is a little bit lighter than the bread pudding that you might find in a restaurant. This is primarily because I make it with milk (and you can use whole, low fat or even skim), rather than heavy cream. The pudding still has a smooth, rich custard feel and flavor but a lightness that suits the berry sauce. I put in a generous splash of vanilla as well as a pinch of cinnamon, and also added some dried cherries for a little added texture and sweetness. The fresh berry sauce really pops with the vanilla and cinnamon.
You can also make this sauce with blueberries, raspberries or use a combination of those two fruits with the blackberries for a mixed berry sauce. I like a chunky, rustic sauce that has lots of pieces of whole berries in it, but you can purée and strain the sauce if you prefer to eliminate any seeds.
There are all kinds of desserts out there that can feature fresh berries, from pies to cobblers, and one type that you should add to your repertoire (if you haven’t already done so) is a buckle. A buckle is a fruit-laden cake that gets its name from the fact that there is so much fruit that a cake might seem to “buckle” under the weight of it all. You can make a buckle with almost any kind of fruit, but the cake base is particularly good for soaking up the juices from ripe berries. My kitchen has been overflowing with berries lately, and a bunch of particularly juicy blackberries inspired this Blackberry Buckle.
The butter is cut into the flour mixture before the wet ingredients are added. This step ensures that you will have a very tender cake, but it serves another purpose as some of the flour-sugar-butter mixture is set aside to serve as a crumb topping for the cake. This adds a slightly sweet, crisp topping to the dessert and makes it even more addictive. The batter can easily be made by hand, but using a food processor to mix everything will make the process even faster.
The cake of the buckle has a nice butter and vanilla flavor to it and is an excellent background for the juicy blackberries. I used a whole pound of fruit in this dessert, and you can see from each slice that you get a lot of berries per serving! Fresh fruit is ideal for this dish, but frozen fruit can be substituted if that is what you have on hand. If using frozen, do not defrost the fruit before incorporating it into the batter and keep in mind that your buckle might need an extra few minutes in the oven while baking.
Berries are always a nice addition to scones, because even the most buttery scones can be a little bit dry (hence the popularity of clotted cream and other spreads as condiments) and berries add a punch of flavor as well as a little bit more moisture to every bite of an otherwise buttery scone. This recipe for Blackberry Scones starts out with a basic vanilla scone dough. Butter is rubbed or cut into a flour mixture to create a flaky dough base, which is held together with milk before whole blackberries are kneaded in.
I happened to have a lovely basket of fresh blackberries in my kitchen and added those to my scones. Frozen blackberries will work just as well, and since they’re much firmer than my fresh berries, they won’t make as much of a mess when you knead them in. Don’t worry if blackberry juice gets into the dough as you incorporate the berries: the juice will add color and flavor to your scones. I topped my scones off with a generous sprinkling of coarse sugar before baking, adding a little extra sweetness and a nice crisp topping.
These scones are best when they are still a bit warm from the oven, when the berries are still firm and that sugary topping is still crunchy. Serve them plain, with a cup of tea or coffee, or put them on your table with butter, clotted cream or even whipped cream (because those things are still excellent with berry-filled scones). If you can’t eat all of these in one sitting, they will keep well for a couple of days when stored in an airtight container, but taste better if they are slightly warmed before serving.
This Lemon Blackberry Coffee Cake is another recipe that takes advantage of fresh, summertime berries. I, obviously, used blackberries in this case. Blueberries are definitely more popular for muffins and coffee cakes than blackberries are, since they tend to hold their shape and not “bleed” too much juice into a baked good. But there are advantages to using bigger, juicer berries: the fresh blackberries give this coffee cake an almost cobbler-like feel to it – which makes this one coffee cake that is just as good for dessert as it is for breakfast. You can use frozen berries, tossing them in a teaspoon or two of flour before stirring them into the batter, but if you can get fresh berries you’re going to get the best results.
The cake batter itself is moist and buttery, enriched with both butter and buttermilk for a very flavorful base for the blueberries. Lemon zest is creamed into the butter and sugar, which releases even more of the potent lemon oil from the zest as it rubs against the coarse sugar. The lemon flavor does not dominate the cake, however, which allows the berries, buttermilk, vanilla and other elements of the cake to stand out without being overshadowed by tangy lemon.
Like so many other coffee cakes, this one is topped with streusel. To complement the lemon in the buttermilk coffee cake batter, I added some lemon zest to the streusel as well. The streusel doesn’t have a strong lemon flavor, but you can clearly taste the extra lemon when you’re eating the cake and that gives it a nice brightness, as well as adding a sweet and crunchy topping to the moist cake.