Category Archives: berry

Cornmeal Summer Shortcakes

Cornmeal Summer Shortcakes

Like so many of my favorite recipes, these Cornmeal Summer Shortcakes came to be on a whim. There were no plans; I was just playing around with cornmeal leftover from making Blueberry Corn Muffins on a Wednesday morning when shortcake inspiration struck.

Cornmeal Summer Shortcakes

I set to work making a batch of my trusty Cornmeal Biscuits, which are somewhere between a buttermilk biscuit and cornbread. They’re tender and a touch crumbly, but still pretty sturdy—perfect for shortcakes. I added a little extra sugar and cut them larger than I normally would for maximum surface area.

Cornmeal Summer Shortcakes

I baked them up and let them cool, spending the lag time digging through my fridge for seasonal fruit. I sliced up a couple of perfect nectarines and tossed in some blueberries, then added a few tablespoons of sugar and let them macerate. I also whipped some cream.

Cornmeal Summer Shortcakes

Then I assembled the whole lot. The cooled biscuits were sliced into two thin disks and piled high with whipped cream and fruit, only to be quickly demolished with forks and fingers.

Cornmeal Summer Shortcakes

Oh my goodness, y’all, these Cornmeal Summer Shortcakes are so good. Sweet, but not too sweet. Fluffy, tender, just corny enough. Creamy, fruit-forward. Full-on late summer vibes. Not bad for Wednesday morning baking improv.

Cornmeal Summer Shortcakes
Cornmeal Summer Shortcakes
makes about 10 shortcakes

2-3 ripe nectarines (or peaches or other stone fruit), thinly sliced
1 cup blueberries
5 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
2 cups heavy cream
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 batch Cornmeal Biscuits for Shortcakes (recipe below)

In a small-medium mixing bowl, toss together nectarines, berries and 3 tablespoons of sugar. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let sit (macerate) at room temperature for up to an hour.

When the biscuits are cool and the fruit is ready, make the whipped cream. In a large mixing bowl, combine heavy cream, vanilla, and 2 tablespoons of sugar. Use an electric mixer on medium-high speed to whip cream until stiff peaks form.

Assemble shortcakes. Use a fork to gently split biscuits in half equatorially (it’s okay if they’re not perfect). Gently move the bottom half of a biscuit to a plate. Top with whipped cream and fruit. Place the top half of the biscuit over the top. Garnish with more whipped cream and berries, if desired. Serve immediately.
Cornmeal Biscuits for Shortcakes
makes about 10 shortcakes

1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup yellow cornmeal
4 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, very cold, cut into cubes
2/3 cup buttermilk, very cold

For finishing:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Preheat oven to 425F. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add butter and use a pastry blender (or two forks or very clean fingertips) to break it down until the largest pieces are the size of small peas. Use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to stir in buttermilk until a dough forms.

Flour a surface and your fingertips. Turn dough onto the surface and pat until it’s 1/2-inch thick. Use a 2 3/4-inch biscuit cutter to cut biscuits. Make sure to cut directly down—do not twist. Place cut biscuits a couple of inches apart on prepared baking sheet. Chill dough/baking sheet if anything becomes too warm/sticky at anytime in this process.

Bake biscuits 12-15 minutes, or until puffy and golden. Remove from oven and brush tops with melted butter.

Let biscuits cool until you can handle them. Cool completely before using for shortcakes.

Cornmeal Biscuits are best the day they are made, but will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 48 hours.
Cornmeal Summer Shortcakes
Cornmeal Summer Shortcakes

Blueberry Corn Muffins

Blueberry Corn Muffins

I don’t really like to tell people how to live their lives or what they should eat, but I have to make an exception. It’s important, I promise.

Y’all, you need to start putting blueberries in your corn muffins. Yes, the dinner-appropriate muffins I posted in the dead of winter. Those. Put blueberries in them and then eat them for breakfast or lunch, or even dinner, if you can get away with it.

Just do it. You won’t regret it. #peerpressure

Blueberry Corn Muffins

It seems obvious once you’ve thought about it. Corn and blueberries are great together! Corn is sweet and earthy; blueberries are sweet and tart. The two are frequently paired in salads in the summer months, so why not combine them in muffins, you know? This was my exact train of thought when I made these a few days ago, and now I’m just wondering why I didn’t make them sooner.

These Blueberry Corn Muffins are so easy to whisk together, and the payoff is outstanding. The recipe is the tiniest tweak on my original corn muffin recipe; I added a touch more flour and some vanilla for a sweeter profile without upping the sugar. Oh, and plenty of fresh summer blueberries, of course!

Blueberry Corn Muffins

Blueberry Corn Muffins bake up in less than 15 minutes. They’re soft, tender and perfectly domed, with a slight crumbly crunch from the cornmeal and bursting blueberries in every bite! While combining two already great things doesn’t always give great results, I am here to say that the union of corn muffins and blueberries is not to be missed.

I’ll say it again: you need to start putting blueberries in your corn muffins.

Blueberry Corn Muffins
makes 12 standard muffins

3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 cup fresh blueberries
1/2 cup milk (preferably whole), room temperature
1/2 cup full-fat sour cream
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 400F.

Line a 12-cup standard muffin pan with cupcake liners, or grease well. Set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

In a small bowl, toss 1 tablespoon of the dry ingredients with the blueberries. Set aside.

In a small-medium mixing bowl (or large measuring cup), whisk together milk, sour cream, butter, eggs and vanilla. Add wet ingredients to dry and stir with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon just until combined. Gently fold in blueberries.

Divide batter among muffin cups, about 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) each; they will be pretty full. Carefully tap the pan on the counter five times to release any large air bubbles. Bake for 13-14 minutes, until domed and a bit golden.

Remove muffins from the oven and let cool in the pan for ten minutes before removing to a rack to cool. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature.

Leftovers will keep well tightly-covered at room temperature for up to two days or in the refrigerator for up to five. Muffins may be double-wrapped in plastic and frozen for up to 3 months.

Triple Raspberry Icebox Cake

Triple Raspberry Icebox Cake

I happily bake year-round, but I’ll be the first to tell you that my favorite kind of summer baking is no-baking. Like leaving the oven off. Like letting the fridge do all the work. Like not heating up my remarkably well-insulated New York City apartment on an already steamy day, and still having incredible dessert.

Today’s recipe is a variation on the queen of no-bake desserts: icebox cake! At its simplest, it’s just layering whipped cream and thin cookies (usually chocolate wafers or graham crackers) together and then letting the assemblage chill out in the fridge for a few hours. The cookies soften against the whipped cream and become cakelike—it’s very good.

Icebox cakes have been around for a good long time now, since the advent of the home refrigerator. In all those years—and in all the recipes I’ve tried—I’ve yet to find one that isn’t outstanding. Icebox cakes can be as easy or complicated as you want them to be. Low brow, high brow, whatever. The two ingredient classics are just as delicious as more intricate variations. I guess what I’m saying is that you should absolutely get on the icebox cake train if you haven’t already, and then, once you are a believer, twist up the original recipe and make it Triple Raspberry.

Triple Raspberry Icebox Cake

Oh yes, this cool & creamy pink icebox cake is loaded with raspberry flavor. From whole fresh raspberries to spoonfuls of raspberry jam to airy raspberry whipped cream, this cake is about as raspberry as it is possible to be!

All the ingredients are stacked in a loaf pan with plain honey graham crackers to divide the layers. After a long chill, the crackers are tender as can be, making for clean slices.

Triple Raspberry Icebox Cake

Can we discuss the cross-sections of fresh raspberries and ruby red streaks of jam? Because those…well, they’re my jam. I mean that in every sense of the word.

Triple Raspberry Icebox Cake

Like its predecessors, this cake is so much more than the sum of its parts. It’s about as easy as from-scratch summer desserts come, and about as raspberry-forward as it can be! It’s berry good, if I do say so myself.

Triple Raspberry Icebox Cake
Triple Raspberry Icebox Cake
makes one 9x5-inch cake, about 8-10 servings

Raspberry Whipped Cream:
6 tablespoons pulverized freeze dried raspberries
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
3 cups heavy cream, very cold

For Assembly:
10-12 whole graham crackers (4 sections per cracker), divided
1 6-ounce package fresh raspberries, divided
1/2 cup raspberry jam, divided

Decoration & Garnish:
1/2 cup raspberry jam, strained
2-3 teaspoons pulverized freeze dried raspberries
fresh raspberries

Lightly grease a 9x5-inch loaf pan. Line with parchment paper, leaving a little overhang on the long sides. Set aside.

Make the raspberry whipped cream. Place freeze dried berries in a food processor and process until they are powder, about 45-60 seconds. Alternatively, place the berries in a sealed zip-top bag and crush well with a rolling pin or other heavy object.

Measure out 2 tablespoons of pulverized berry powder, and reserve any remaining powder for another use.

In a medium-large mixing bowl, combine heavy cream, vanilla, confectioner’s sugar, and pulverized berries. Use an electric mixer to whip cream until stiff peaks form. Do not over whip (but if you do, just add a little more cream).

Gently spread 1/3 of the whipped cream in an even layer in the bottom of the prepared pan. Scatter 1/3 of the raspberries over the top and spoon 1/3 of the raspberry jam over, so that there are little globs everywhere. Tile a single layer of graham crackers over the top, breaking the crackers to fit, as needed. Press the graham crackers down *lightly* with your palm to adhere. Repeat layering step 2 more times.

Gentry cover the loaf pan in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or overnight.

When you’re ready to serve, remove the pan from the refrigerator and discard the plastic wrap. Place a serving plate upside-down over the pan. Holding tightly to both the pan and the plate, flip them over so that the pan is now sitting upside-down on top of the plate. Gently lift the pan up to remove it. Gently peel off the parchment.

Decorate. Place jam in a small microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 15 seconds so it’s a bit loose. Push through a fine mesh strainer (set over a bowl) to remove seeds. Transfer warmed, seedless raspberry jam to a piping bag and snip the tiniest corner. Drizzle the cake with the jam as desired.

Dust cake with pulverized raspberry powder. Garnish with whole fresh raspberries. If not serving immediately, refrigerate.

Serve cake cold. Slice with a serrated knife, wiping it clean between cuts.

Berry Whipped Cream

Berry Whipped Cream

I’m sure you’ve had berries with whipped cream, but have you ever had berries in whipped cream?

It’s as simple as taking one of my favorite ingredients, freeze dried berries, pulverizing them into a powder and then whipping them into fluffy pastel clouds of cream.

Berry Whipped Cream

So simple. So dreamy. So good. So perfect for piling onto a slice of Ricotta Cake and then shoveling into your mouth mostly with your fingers even though there are forks right there.

Berry Whipped Cream

I clearly made this with batch with all raspberries, but the recipe will work with any freeze dried berry (or other fruit) you like. Get colorful with it! Go pink with strawberries, indigo with blueberries, or maybe try the mixed berries I’ve been eyeing recently at Trader Joe’s! I don’t know what color they’d make exactly—some sort of purple—but I do know it would be delicious.

Berry Whipped Cream
(Any) Berry Whipped Cream
makes about 1 1/2 cups

~1/2 cup freeze dried berries of choice
1 cup heavy cream, very cold
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar

Place freeze dried berries in a food processor and process until they are powder, about 45-60 seconds. Alternatively, place the berries in a sealed zip-top bag and crush well with a rolling pin or other heavy object.

Measure out 2 tablespoons of pulverized berry powder, and reserve any remaining powder for another use.

In a medium-large mixing bowl, combine heavy cream, vanilla, confectioner’s sugar, and pulverized berries. Use an electric mixer to whip cream until stiff peaks form. Do not over whip (but if you do, just add a little more cream).

Load whipped cream into a piping bag fitted with a tip or scoop with a spoon and use as desired.

Leftover Berry Whipped Cream should be covered and refrigerated. It’s pretty stable, but may need to be lightly re-whipped before serving.
Berry Whipped Cream
Berry Whipped Cream
Berry Whipped Cream

Black & Blueberry Crisp

Black & Blueberry Crisp

After a whole bunch of scheduling mayhem, we finally booked our annual vacation to Swan’s Island, Maine, this week, so that is low-key all I’m going to talk about for the next 72 days or so. Sorry, not sorry.

Black & Blueberry Crisp

Oh yes, I have Maine on the brain, which for me means allll the summer berries. What better time to break out my favorite thrifted dishes from Iverstudio and make a Black & Blueberry Crisp? This will surely tide me over until I can pack up a vehicle and escape New York City. Right? Riiiight???

Anyway…

Crisps are one of the simplest desserts out there. Easier than pie in every way and just as good, they are perfect for beginner bakers and seasoned pros alike. Just mix up a simple pie filling, put it in a buttered pan, bury it in oaty, nutty crumbles, and bake until…well, crisp.

Black & Blueberry Crisp

Scoop the warm crisp into cute dishes, and finish with vanilla ice cream and more berries. Devour while determining how many vintage Maine sweatshirts is a reasonable number to have in your Etsy check-out cart. Is it four? I hope it’s four.

Black & Blueberry Crisp
Black & Blueberry Crisp
makes about 6 servings

Filling:
2 cups fresh blackberries (about 12 ounces)
2 cups fresh blueberries (about 12 ounces)
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons cornstarch
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
juice of 1/2 lime

Topping:
1/3 cup old-fashioned oats
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/3 cup chopped nuts of choice (I used hazelnuts), optional
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For Serving:
vanilla ice cream, optional
more blackberries & blueberries, optional

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease an 8- or 9-inch casserole dish with butter. Set aside.

Make the filling. Combine blackberries and blueberries in a large mixing bowl. Add sugar, cinnamon, cornstarch, salt, and lime juice. Stir together with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon and let sit while you prepare the topping.

Make the topping. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together oats, flour, light brown sugar, nuts, cinnamon, and salt. Add melted butter and stir until everything is saturated and clumps form.

Transfer berry filling into the prepared casserole dish. Scatter topping onto the berries.

Bake 28-30 minutes, until topping is browned and berries are tender & bursting. Let cool 10 minutes before serving in bowls with vanilla ice cream and more berries, if desired.

Cover and refrigerate any leftovers for up to 4 days. Reheat before serving.
Black & Blueberry Crisp
Black & Blueberry Crisp