Every blackberry has it’s thorn..or something like that

Freshly picked wild blackberries are the star of this shortcake.

We’re celebrating our 10 year wedding anniversary this week back in the PNW. Enjoying fantastic views of Puget Sound, the Olympic Mountains, the occasional ferry and amazing sunsets. We’re also enjoying lots and lots of fresh sockeye salmon and wild blackberries.

I was spoiled growing up with wild blackberries growing just about everywhere and easy access to freshly caught wild salmon. Which even in the greater LA area its hard to find fresh salmon. Most grocery stores carry frozen farm raised Atlantic Salmon and it doesn’t taste even close to fresh caught, wild salmon.  As for the blackberries, its hard to want to pay $6 and $7 a pint for something you’re used to having in near limitless supply for free.

Blackberry brambles are extremely hearty and will grow just about anywhere and you don’t have to go to farms or any place special to find them.  They grow along paths and roadways all over the PNW  My only caution is to avoid picking them along heavily travelled roads, because they get sprayed with herbicides and are exposed to unhealthy levels of vehicle exhaust.

Conveniently there is a blackberry bramble that runs along the property line here. Since i have access to freshly picked blackberries this week, I’m going to make Shortcakes with vanilla whipped cream and honey macerated blackberries.

Blackberry Shortcake

1/2 cup of chilled butter cut into cubes

1 ½ cups AP Flour

2 tsp baking powder

2 tsp white vinegar

pinch of salt

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup whole milk

1 tsp vanilla extract.

1 pint fresh berries

2 TBS honey

1 cup heavy whipping cream

1 TBS powdered sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

Combine, flour, sugar, bakng powder, salt and butter into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until mixture is sandy texture (about 30. times). Add the vanilla extract and vinegar and slowly drizzle in milk until dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl and starts to form a ball. You may not need all of the milk.

Turn mixture out onto a floured board and press out until dough is roughly ¾ to 1 inch thick disc. Wrap in wax paper and let chill for about an hour. While dough is chilling, clean and thoroughly drain the berries then toss with the honey and set aside.

Preheat oven to 375F. Remove dough from fridge and cut into desired shape. Bake on a parchment lined baking sheet for 20 minutes or until tops are golden brown.  Remove from oven and  place on a wire rack to cool.

Place 1 cup of whipping cream into a chilled bowl, whip until doubled in volume and vanilla and sugar and whip until stiff peals form.

To assemble. cut shortcake in half, Place some of the whipped cream on the bottom half, place a couple of tablespoons of blackberries on top of the whipped cream.  Place a dollop of whipped cream on top of the berries then top with the other half of the shortcake.

 

Enjoy..

 

No scratches or bee stings required

Fresh out of the oven and piping hot Blackberry Cobbler

One of the many things I miss about living in the PNW (that’s Pacific Northwest) is how easy (and free) it is to get your hands on ridiculous quantities of blackberries. They’re like weeds and grow everywhere and you don’t even have to go far off the beaten path to find them they grow along the side of the road. To make this week’s recipe, you just need to get a hold of blackberries, fresh, frozen, foraged or otherwise.

We hosted our first bbq of the summer this past weekend and I wanted a dessert that’s easy to serve to a crowd, can be made ahead and reminds me of summer. Blackberries, cobbler and corn remind me of summer and cobblers are great crowd friendly make ahead desserts. Since blackberries pair really well with corn, I decided to make a corn biscuit top.

As I mentioned, this was designed to feed a crowd so adjust your quantities accordingly. I used a combination of fresh and frozen blackberries. This recipe will serve 8.

Blackberry Cobbler with Corn Biscuit Top

  • 8 cups of blackberries (if using frozen, thaw the berries and retain the liquid)
  • 1/4 cup tapioca starch
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of salt

Corn Biscuit top

  • 1 cup AP flour
  • 1/2 cup yellow corn meal
  • 1 cup freeze dried corn (ground)
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 4 TBS chilled butter (cut into cubes)
  • 3/4 cup of buttermilk or plain yogurt
  • 1 tsp baking powder

Place all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and let sit for an hour or overnight. Preheat oven to 350F.

Biscuit top-

Combine flour, cornmeal, freeze dried corn, salt, sugar, baking powder and chilled butter in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until butter forms little pea sized balls. Slowly add in buttermilk/yogurt (you may not need all of it) until dough just starts to come together. The dough will be fairly loose and sticky and that’s ok.

Spray a 2 quart (deep dish) casserole with cooking spray and fill with berry mixture. Using a Table spoon that’s been sprayed with cooking spray, drop dollops of biscuit batter across the top of the berries.

dollop corn biscuit batter

 

Place casserole dish on a foil lined baking sheet and bake at 350F for 1 hour or until middle portion of the cobbler is bubbling. If top starts to brown too much over with aluminum foil. The cobbler can be served warm, room temperature or cold and pairs well with ice cream.