Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Triple-Berry Pie with Pecan Crumb Topping

When I went picking a couple of weeks ago, I saw that tayberries were still available and Marionberries were beginning to ripen.  I decided to pick just a few cups thinking that I'd make berry pies.  I had in mind a pie with crumb toppings after making a double-crust pie already.

So here's what I made with those berries, a triple-berry pie with blueberries, tayberries and Marionberries.  I fell in love with tayberries this summer.  The flavor is more delicate that the other blackberry variety; it's said to have a floral and aromatic flavor.  It's a little bit too late to make jam from tayberry this year but I vow to try it next year.  I'm already thinking of infusing the jam with tea.

My family loves this triple-berry pie because apparently the combo works!  The crumb topping has crunchy pecan and toothsome oats.  Often I have too much crumb topping but I usually put them in a bag and freeze them until I need them again.  Good thing I have a few 4-inch tart pans lined with leftover pie crusts that I stored in the freezer.  The blueberries got made into these little pans with lemon zest, the juice, a few teaspoons of cornstarch, some sprinkling of cinnamon and some sugar.  The tart baked quicker than the whole pie and it's equally as good!

The bottom picture is what my individual blueberry tart looks like.  They're gone in a couple of days!

My advice is to stock up with whipped cream or ice cream to eat these various pies/tarts in the summer!  No wonder I can't store anything else more important in my fridge! :D

Triple-Berry Pie with Pecan Crumb Topping

Serves 8 to 10

1 dough (makes single piecrust) from All-Butter Piecrust, refrigerated

For Filling:
1 1/4 cups fresh blueberries
1 1/4 cups fresh Marionberries
1 1/2 cups fresh tayberries
1/2 cup sugar--taste your berries, if they're particularly sour, add more sugar.  I personally like less sweet of filling
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt
2 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

For Pecan Crumb Topping:
1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
3/4 cup pecan pieces
1/2 cup old-fashioned oats

Preheat oven to 400 degree F.

On a floured surface, roll the dough into a 12-inch circle.  Drape the dough onto the rolling pin and invert it into a 9-inch pie pan.  Gently tuck the pastry into the pan, without stretching in.  Trim the edges and fold under.  Crimp edges decoratively.  Place in the freezer while you're readying the filling and crumb topping.

Combine the berries in a large bowl.  Fold in sugar, vanilla extract, cinnamon and salt.  Mix cornstarch, lemon juice and zest in a small bowl.  Pour into the filling and stir.  Set aside.

Blend flour, grown sugar and salt in a food processor.  Add butter; using on/off turns, process until mixture resembles fine moist clumps.  Add pecans and oats.  Using on/off turns, do a few turn just until nuts and oats are combined.

Take the pie crust and fill it with berry mixture, smooth the mixture with a spoon.  Sprinkle pecan topping evenly over the fruits.  Mound it in the center a bit but do not overfill.  I like just enough crumbs to about 1/4-inch thick around the edges, perhaps.  Freeze the remaining crumbs for the next pie project.

Bake pie at bottom rack for 25-30 minutes.  If necessary, place an old baking pan on the oven floor to catch the juice overflowing from the pie.  Reduce oven temperature to 350 degree F.  Continue baking until topping is brown and juices bubble thickly, about 30-40 minutes.  If necessary, tent the topping with foil if it browns too fast.  Cool pie on rack 1 hour.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Cherry-Almond Coffee Cake

Last week my family went cherry picking at Hood River and some two cups of those cherries went into this coffee cake.  We picked mostly Bings and some Rainier too.  The wind was blowing hard while we picked the fruits but the view was still gorgeous.  Lots of sunshine and surprisingly not many people went picking that day.

We went to the same farm, Hood River U-Pick Organic Cherries, last year as well.  Their fruits are large, sweet and easy to pick so we're happy to be back this year.  And as usual, we picked more than we can eat in a day or two :)  

Making a coffee cake is an easy way to use up the cherries.  It then can be served as dessert or snack.  This particular one is spot on, not too sweet, has tender crumbs and stay moist for a few days.  I meant to soak the cherries in kirschwasser but forgot, so feel free to soak the fruits if you like for overnight, I bet it'll be even tastier!

Cherry-Almond Coffee Cake

Serves 12

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature plus more for the pan
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 cups slivered almonds
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
2 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup sour cream
2 cups fresh cherries, pitted and cut in half

Preheat oven to 375 degree F.  Butter an angel food cake pan.  In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

In a small bowl, combine the almonds, brown sugar and cinnamon; transfer half to a second bowl.

Using an electric mixer, beat the sugar and 2 sticks butter to combine, about 2 minutes.  Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then the almond extract.  Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour mixture, mixing until just combined.  Mix in the sour cream until just combined (the batter should be very thick).

Scoop half of the batter into the prepared pan, spreading to evenly distribute it, and sprinkle with the walnut mixture.  Scatter cut cherries on top of mixture.  Top with the remaining batter and sprinkle with the remaining topping.  Bake for 25 minutes.

Reduce oven temperature to 300 degree F and bake until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean, 15 to 20 minutes more.  Let the cake cool completely in the pan before unmolding and serving.

Source:  adapted from Woman's Day, December 2016/January 2017