Category Archives: berry

Blueberry Torte

Blueberry TorteI love an everyday cake, although I guess that’s technically a misnomer here. This blueberry beauty is a torte, which essentially means that it’s a cake made with little (or sometimes no) flour.Blueberry TorteSo…I guess it is a cake? Not all cakes are tortes, but all tortes are cakes. So yes, Blueberry Torte is a cake. Glad we got that sorted.

(Sorry.)Blueberry TorteAnyway…this Blueberry Torte is easy peasy and so good, you’re going to want to make it all summer long. And you absolutely should! It’s got a soft center, slightly chewy edges, and is literally bursting with fresh blueberries—what’s not to love?!Blueberry TorteThis is a spin on one of my favorite holiday desserts, Pear & Cranberry Torte. It’s so super delicious that I wanted to make a spring/summer appropriate version and, well, here we are.Blueberry TorteThe recipe begins with a simple cake batter. You’ll find many of the usual suspects here (softened butter, flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, eggs), plus light brown sugar and the tiniest bit of lemon zest.Blueberry TorteBlueberry TorteBlueberry TorteOne ingredient you won’t find? Milk. There’s none in this recipe, so the batter is pretty thick for a cake…er, torte. This lack of liquid is also what gives us the almost cookie-like edges. Yesssss. If you’re worrying about this leading to a dry product, never fear—this torte stays plenty moist thanks to the butter and eggs, small amount of flour, and two full cups (12 ounces!) of blueberries that are pressed into the top before baking. They soften and sink into the batter while the torte bakes and become jammy and fragrant and it is stupid good and why aren’t you actively walking to the kitchen right now???

(Sorry again.)Blueberry TorteBlueberry TorteBlueberry Torte doesn’t require any frosting or other flourishes and can be served up while it’s still warm. If, however, you want to jazz it up for a dinner party or you’re feeling fancy, you can give it a dusting of confectioner’s sugar, a dollop of whipped cream or a smattering of fresh blueberries. If you’re anything like me, you’ll need all three.Blueberry TorteSorry, not sorry.Blueberry Torte

Blueberry Torte
one 9-inch cake, about 8 servings

2 teaspoons fresh lemon zest (about 1 medium lemon)
1/2 cup granulated sugar + 1 tablespoon, for sprinkling
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
12 ounces (about 2 cups) fresh blueberries

For serving (optional):
confectioners sugar
whipped cream
fresh blueberries

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 9-inch springform pan. Set aside.

Combine lemon zest, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, and light brown sugar in a small bowl. Use your fingertips to rub the zest into the sugar to release the oils. Set aside.

In a small-medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to cream butter until very light and fluffy (about 2 minutes). Beat in sugar mixture. Mix in eggs one at a time, followed by vanilla. With the mixer on low, mix in dry ingredients. Batter will be thick.

Spread batter into the prepared pan. Scatter blueberries over the top and lightly press them into the batter. Sprinkle the additional tablespoon of granulated sugar over the top. Bake 50-55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out with only a few moist crumbs. Let cake cool in the pan on a rack for 15 minutes before running a small, thin knife around the edge and releasing the springform.

Serve warm or room temperature with a dusting of confectioner’s sugar, whipped cream and/or fresh blueberries, if desired. Leftovers will keep covered in the refrigerator for a few days.Blueberry TorteBlueberry Torte

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Fresh Strawberry Malts

Fresh Strawberry MaltsHave you noticed that I live for berry season? Is it obvious I start thinking about it the minute I’m done with holiday baking? Because I do.Fresh Strawberry MaltsAnd in case you‘ve missed it, I have a bit of a “thing” for malted milk powder, especially in classic Chocolate Malts.Fresh Strawberry MaltsFresh Strawberry MaltsFresh Strawberry MaltsTo those points, did you know that if you combine fresh strawberries, a hefty dose of malted milk powder and a pint of vanilla ice cream in a blender and let it whirl, you’ll wind up with something creamy, thick, and bursting with malty strawberry flavor?Fresh Strawberry MaltsBecause you will. And it will be such a stunning shade of light pink that it won’t need any sort of accoutrements.Fresh Strawberry MaltsFresh Strawberry MaltsFresh Strawberry MaltsBut, I mean, a little whipped cream and a festive paper straw never hurt anything.Fresh Strawberry Malts

Fresh Strawberry Malts
makes 2 medium or 3-4 small malts

12 ounces fresh strawberries (about a 1 pound box, trimmed and hulled)
1/2 cup malted milk powder
1 pint (2 cups) vanilla ice cream

For serving (optional):
whipped cream

Combine strawberries, malted milk powder, and vanilla ice cream in a high-powered blender. Pulse a few times to break up the strawberries and then blend until smooth. Pour into glasses, top with whipped cream (if desired), and serve immediately.Fresh Strawberry MaltsFresh Strawberry MaltsFresh Strawberry Malts

Raspberry Rhubarb Crisp

Raspberry Rhubarb CrispI love making crisps. They’re every bit as good as pie, but easier and much (!) quicker to make, and can be served warm with vanilla ice cream, so the time between the moment the craving strikes and the moment you dive in spoon-first is mercifully brief.Raspberry Rhubarb CrispWhat I’m trying to say is that you need more crisps in your life. *I* need more crisps in *my* life. There’s only one in my archives—a pear, ginger & chocolate concoction that you should absolutely make in the fall—and that is atrocious. Just awful. Especially considering there are so many delicious berries and rhubarb (!!!) available right this second.Raspberry Rhubarb CrispRaspberry Rhubarb CrispRaspberry Rhubarb CrispRaspberry Rhubarb CrispBerries and rhubarb that can only be improved with hints of ginger and orange and clusters of buttery, brown sugary oat & walnut dough scattered over the top and baked until…well…crisp.Raspberry Rhubarb CrispSweet, tart, jammy, gorgeous, and seriously simple, this seasonal dessert can only be improved with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. The way it melts into the spaces between the fruit and the crisp topping is just…Raspberry Rhubarb Crisp…well, I guess you’ll have to make the recipe and see for yourself.Raspberry Rhubarb Crisp

Raspberry Rhubarb Crisp
makes one 8-inch dish, about 6 servings

Filling:
2 cups diced fresh rhubarb (1/2-inch dice, about 4 stalks)
2 cups fresh raspberries (about 1.5 6-ounce containers)
1 tablespoon fresh orange zest
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
pinch of Kosher or sea salt

Topping:
1/3 cup old-fashioned oats
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/3 cup chopped raw walnuts (optional)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For Serving:
vanilla ice cream, optional

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

In a medium-large mixing bowl, combine rhubarb and raspberries. Add orange zest, sugar, cornstarch, ground ginger, and salt, and stir to combine. Transfer to prepared baking dish.

Make the topping. In a medium mixing bowl, combine oats, flour, light brown sugar, ground ginger, salt, and chopped raw walnuts. Stir together with a fork. Add melted butter and stir until everything is saturated and clumps form. Scatter topping onto raspberry-rhubarb filling.

Bake 28-30 minutes, until topping is golden brown and filling is bubbly. Let cool 10 minutes before serving in bowls with vanilla ice cream, if desired.

Cover and refrigerate any leftovers for up to three days. Reheat before serving.Raspberry Rhubarb CrispRaspberry Rhubarb CrispRaspberry Rhubarb Crisp

Blackberry Shortbread Wedges

Blackberry Shortbread WedgesIt’s never fun to come home from vacation, but I think I did it right this time. Returning over the holiday weekend left me ample time to relax, grocery shop, meal prep, put up all the new things I bought in Swan’s Island and Portland, and watch all of The Good Place season 2. I’m calling it a success.Blackberry Shortbread Wedges

Getting back into the groove yesterday wasn’t too terrible, but a piece of my heart is definitely still in Maine. You know, where it’s not 95 degrees.Blackberry Shortbread Wedges

Two days before I packed up to go home, my sister and I walked a good stretch of the North Road at a snail’s pace, picking upwards of a quart of tiny wild blackberries in about two hours. It might sound dull, but I can assure you that Eliot and I were anything but bored.Blackberry Shortbread WedgesBlackberry Shortbread Wedges

The vast majority of the berries we found were the blackberries we expected, but we also spotted a blueberry patch and two teeny raspberries. All the apple trees were starting to turn, too. Maybe one day I’ll vacation a little later so I can enjoy them.Blackberry Shortbread WedgesBlackberry Shortbread Wedges

I’ve written before about how I consider baking (and cooking) to be a form of active meditation; I feel the same way about foraging for berries. It’s easy to get lost in the simple process of plucking them from bushes and interacting with nature in a very tactile way. Berry-picking is probably the only time in my life where I am able to peacefully, fearlessly coexist with bees and that I’m not mad about a few good scratches from thorns. If anything, they’re little badges of honor.Blackberry Shortbread WedgesBlackberry Shortbread WedgesBlackberry Shortbread Wedges

I’ve made pies with my foraged berries the last three years I’ve been on Swan’s Island, but decided to keep it easy this year, opting instead for these Blackberry Shortbread Wedges.Blackberry Shortbread Wedges

They’re a slight adaptation of my Sweet Cherry Shortbread Bars (and their apple counterpart), this time baked in an 8-inch round pan. The resulting wedges (or bars or whatever you want to call them) are served up almost like pie, and have a thick, buttery shortbread crust that is difficult to stop eating. You could certainly serve these at room temperature, but my fellow vacationers and I preferred them straight from the fridge. There’s just something about the combination of cold, tangy blackberry filling and rich shortbread.Blackberry Shortbread Wedges

You’ll notice in the photos that I didn’t line the pan with foil or parchment—that’s only because I didn’t have any at our house. Instead, I greased and floured the pan and then sliced and served them directly from the pan. You may follow my lead here, or line the pan with foil and lift them onto a cutting board before slicing. I’ve written instructions for both methods in the recipe.Blackberry Shortbread WedgesBlackberry Shortbread Wedges

However you choose to go about making these, I urge you to do so in these last weeks of summer. We saw pumpkins for sale as we drove out of Maine on September 1st, and while I am all for pumpkin after September 20th, I’m going to enjoy these end-of-season berries while I can.Blackberry Shortbread WedgesBlackberry Shortbread Wedges

Blackberry Shortbread Wedges
makes one 8-inch pan, 8-12 wedges

Filling:
3 cups fresh blackberries
juice of 1/2 lime
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
2 tablespoons cornstarch

Shortbread:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold, cut into small cubes

Place oven racks in top and bottom positions. Preheat oven to 375F. Butter and flour an 8-inch round cake pan, or line with aluminum foil, leaving overhang, and grease with butter. Set aside.

Make blackberry filling. In a medium mixing bowl, combine blackberries, lime juice, sugar, cinnamon, salt, and cornstarch. Set aside while you make the shortbread.

In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, and salt. Add cold butter. Use your fingertips to rub butter into flour until the largest pieces are the size of small peas. It will be powdery, but should hold together when pinched. Set aside 1 cup of the mixture for topping.

Pour remaining shortbread mixture into prepared pan. Spread it around to cover the bottom of the pan before using your hand to pack it down into an even layer. Prick several times with a fork. Pour blackberry filling over the top, leaving behind any excess liquid. Spread berries into an even layer.

For the topping, use your fingers to pinch together small portions of the reserved shortbread mixture. Scatter them over the top of the blackberry layer.

If your pan is on the shallow side, place it on a rimmed baking sheet to collect any light overflow. Bake on the bottom rack of the oven for 20 minutes. Move bars to the top rack and bake for an additional 10-12 minutes, until barely golden. Tent with foil if anything begins to brown too quickly. Let cool in the pan on a rack until they reach room temperature. Refrigerate for at least 90 minutes, or until cold.

If pan was buttered and floured, slice and serve wedges directly from the pan. If it was lined with foil, use overhang to remove to a cutting board. Peel off foil before slicing and serving.

Leftover Blackberry Shortbread Wedges will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four days. They will soften over time.

Blackberry Shortbread Wedges

Blueberry Baked Oatmeal {Vegan & Gluten-Free}

Blueberry Baked Oatmeal {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Hello from Swan’s Island!Blueberry Baked Oatmeal {Vegan & Gluten-Free}VJ and I got here Saturday afternoon. It was supposed to be us and two more that day, but due to a work snafu, they didn’t join us until yesterday. Thank goodness for our other guest, my sister, EliotBlueberry Baked Oatmeal {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Since it’s just been the two of us these last few days, meals have been simple. As I’ve mentioned many (many, many, many) times, VJ is a gluten-free vegan. I am neither of those things, but it simply doesn’t make sense to make meat or floury baked goods just for me. I made scrambled eggs and ate a piece of avocado toast, but it was all vegan and gluten-free otherwise.

I’m not complaining.Blueberry Baked Oatmeal {Vegan & Gluten-Free}While everyone else I know was going to work Monday morning, I made this Blueberry Baked Oatmeal for us. Made with gluten-free old-fashioned oats, rice milk,* and aquafaba in place of eggs, it was the perfect way to start the day. And also the next day—it makes enough for six people.

*You could use almond milk or another unsweetened non-dairy milk, but we have a nut-allergic friend here and we’d like not to poison him, you know?Blueberry Baked Oatmeal {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Blueberry Baked Oatmeal {Vegan & Gluten-Free}This oatmeal is super simple to make. With just a few minutes of prep-work and 40 minutes of bake time, you’ll be rewarded with a rich, cinnamon-spiked oatmeal that is positively bursting with blueberries.Blueberry Baked Oatmeal {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Blueberry Baked Oatmeal {Vegan & Gluten-Free}You just need two bowls and a stirring implement to put it together, and you probably have all the ingredients already (with the possible exception of blueberries).Blueberry Baked Oatmeal {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Blueberry Baked Oatmeal {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Blueberry Baked Oatmeal {Vegan & Gluten-Free}VJ and I prefer our oatmeal on the sweet side, so I used 1/2 cup maple syrup here. If you’d like a less-sweet breakfast, you can reduce it to 1/4 cup.Blueberry Baked Oatmeal {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Feel free to add nuts or seeds (toast them with the oats!), or stir in coconut flakes or mashed banana. Everything we eat on Swan’s Island comes from one pre-ferry grocery trip on the mainland, so meals are paired down and simple. I like this oatmeal as-is with an additional drizzle of maple and a pat of butter, but that’s just me.As with many of the recipes on this site, this recipe can be made with many variations. Feel free to take my favorite and make it yours.Blueberry Baked Oatmeal {Vegan & Gluten-Free}

Blueberry Baked Oatmeal {Vegan & Gluten-Free}
makes about 6 servings

2 1/4 cups old-fashioned oats (certified gluten-free for gluten-free)
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly-grated lemon zest
2 cups non-dairy milk (I used rice milk)
6 tablespoons aquafaba (or 2 large eggs or 2 flax eggs)
1/2 cup pure maple syrup (may be reduced to 1/4 cup)
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 pint fresh blueberries, divided

For serving:
maple syrup
butter (vegan or regular)
yogurt

Preheat oven to 375F. Grease a deep 9-inch pie plate or other casserole dish. Set aside.

Place oats on a dry rimmed baking sheet (or other large pan) and toast in the oven for 5 minutes, or until fragrant. Let cool a few minutes. Transfer to a medium mixing bowl and stir in cinnamon, baking powder, salt, and lemon zest. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together non-dairy milk, aquafaba, maple syrup, oil, and vanilla. Stir in oat mixture.

Reserve 1/4 cup blueberries for topping. Scatter remaining blueberries in the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Add oatmeal mixture over the top and spread out as evenly as you can. Dot with remaining blueberries. Bake uncovered for 40-45 minutes, or until the center is lightly set.

Let oatmeal cool for at least 15 minutes before serving with additional maple syrup, butter, and/or yogurt. Oatmeal is best warm or at room temperature.

Leftover oatmeal will keep covered in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.Blueberry Baked Oatmeal {Vegan & Gluten-Free}