Blackberry Pie

Blackberry PieI hope you have a place like Swans Island.

Blackberry PieI don’t necessarily mean an island off the coast of Maine with one store and a population of 300 (but I highly recommend it). I mean a place that you find endlessly enchanting. For my parents, it’s Santa Fe. For my older sister, it’s Isla Mujeres, Mexico. For me, it’s this little island four miles out to sea. I just can’t get enough.

Blackberry PieThe appeal of this place isn’t the broad spectrum of activities—in fact, it’s the opposite that keeps me counting the days between trips. Whereas in New York I am constantly bombarded with people and noise and tasks that must be dealt with right-this-second, on Swans Island, a car passes the house once every ten minutes, the only consistent sound is that of a bell on a lobster boat floating a mile away, and there is literally nothing I have to do. As Swans Island has limited phone and internet access too, this is a place where it really is possible to get away from it all.

Blackberry PieBlackberry PieFaced with a lack of activities, each of my friends and I have found ways to pass the time. Almost all of the things we do together (hiking, beaching, cooking, etc.) take place in the afternoons, so we each have to find a way to while away the mornings. Adam has been tearing through a book, VJ has put together 2.5 puzzles, and I have been wandering the sides of the road with a saucepan in hand, foraging for berries.

Blackberry PieThe last time I was here, I found mostly blueberries and raspberries—Blue-Razz Pie was the result. This time, the vast majority of the berries have been blackberries, so Blackberry Pie it is.

Blackberry PieBlackberry PieBlackberry PieThis pie, y’all. It’s made with my Whole Wheat Pie Dough and a super simple blackberry filling. Just fold some sugar, cinnamon, lime, and cornstarch into a few cups of fresh blackberries and it’s good to go. Now you can concentrate on the top crust.

Blackberry PieWhile you may top your pie however you like, may I suggest a lattice? They’re very easy and I love all the pockets of blackberry filling that peek through. Start by laying a few strips of dough parallel across the top of the filling. I cut my strips in different widths because I think it’s cute.

Blackberry PiePeel back a couple of the strips of dough and lay one perpendicularly across the filling. Then place all the strips back in their original positions.

Blackberry PiePull up the strips you didn’t move the first time and lay another strip across. Keep doing this until you don’t have any room left.

Blackberry PieBlackberry PieBlackberry PieCrimp the crust, brush it with egg wash, and give it a good sprinkle of sugar.Blackberry PieBlackberry Pie

Bake until beautiful and serve a la mode.Blackberry PieBlackberry Pie

Share with friends and definitely go back for seconds. It’s vacation, after all.Blackberry PieBlackberry Pie

Blackberry Pie
makes one 9-inch standard pie

1 recipe Whole Wheat Pie Dough or other good crust
4 cups fresh blackberries
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3-4 tablespoons cornstarch
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
juice of 1/2 lime

Egg Wash:
1 large egg
1 teaspoon water
sugar, for sprinkling

On a floured surface, roll out one disc of pie dough to a 12-inch diameter and fit it in the pan. Trim the edges to 1/2-inch of overhang. Refrigerate while you prepare the filling.

In a large mixing bowl, combine blackberries, sugar, cinnamon, cornstarch, salt, and lime. Fold with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon until everything is evenly coated. Transfer filling to prepared crust, discarding any excess liquid. Refrigerate.

On a floured surface, roll out the other disc of pie dough to a 12-inch diameter. If you’d like a lattice crust, slice the rolled dough into strips (see photos above for instructions). If you want a full top crust, lay the rolled-out dough on top of the filling and cut a few vents. Trim the edges to 1/2-inch of overhang, and crimp the top and bottom crust edges together. Refrigerate.

Preheat the oven to 375F. Make the egg wash. In a small bowl, use a fork to whisk together egg and water. Use a pastry brush to brush the entire exposed crust with egg wash. Sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 45-50 minutes, tenting with foil if anything begins to brown too quickly.

Let pie cool completely on a rack. Slice and serve with ice cream, if desired.

Pie will keep covered in the refrigerator for up to five days.

Whole Wheat Pancakes for One

Whole Wheat Pancakes for OneMost nights, I make myself a snack before bed. It ranges from eggs, to leftover cake and ice cream, to a salad bigger than my head. There are no rules except that it has to be delicious. My midnight snack is easily the best thing I’ll eat all day. That rings especially true for this past week–I’ve been all about these Whole Wheat Pancakes!

Whole Wheat Pancakes for OneWhere most pancake recipes make enough for an army…er, family of four…the now-two pancake recipes on this blog make just enough for one person. That’s right! This recipe makes just three pancakes: enough to kick my craving without a ton of leftovers to crowd my already-packed freezer.

Whole Wheat Pancakes for OneBut enough about quantity and my single lady eating habits! These Whole Wheat Pancakes for One are absolutely delicious. They are lightly sweet with plenty of nutty whole wheat flavor. Where many of the whole wheat pancakes I have had taste too, for lack of a better word, “healthy,” these are balanced with a touch of sugar and a hint of vanilla. They are the perfect compromise between whole grain and decadence.

Whole Wheat Pancakes for OneWhole Wheat Pancakes for OneOh, and the texture! A combination of buttermilk, baking powder, and oil keep these whole wheat pancakes just as fluffy and tender as your favorite buttermilk pancakes. This recipe doesn’t contain eggs, so these pancakes can easily be made vegan–just swap the buttermilk for a plant-based milk spiked with vinegar.

Whole Wheat Pancakes for OneWhole Wheat Pancakes for OneWhole Wheat Pancakes for OneWhole Wheat Pancakes for One are great with butter and maple syrup, but with all the beautiful fruit in stores right now, I recommend piling them high with strawberries, cherries, or anything else you like. This is a recipe for one, after all–serve it exactly the way you like it.Whole Wheat Pancakes for One

Whole Wheat Pancakes for One
makes 3 small pancakes

1/2 cup whole wheat flour (or white whole wheat flour)
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
7 tablespoons buttermilk**
5 teaspoons neutral-flavored oil, plus more for cooking
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
butter, for serving, if desired
fresh fruit, for serving, if desired
pure maple syrup, for serving

In a small mixing bowl, whisk together whole wheat flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.

In a liquid measuring cup, stir together buttermilk, oil, and vanilla. Pour wet ingredients into dry, and stir until everything is moistened. Some lumps may remain.

Heat 2-3 teaspoons of oil in a skillet over medium heat. Pour batter in 1/4 cup increments for three small pancakes. Let cook 1-2 minutes, until some bubbles form on the surface. Flip pancakes and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes. Remove pancakes to a plate, top with butter and/or fruit and syrup, and enjoy.

Notes:

  1. If you do not have buttermilk, you may combine 1 teaspoon of white or apple cider vinegar with 6 tablespoons of milk. Let sit five minutes before proceeding as written.
  2. If you want vegan pancakes, use 1 teaspoon of white or apple cider vinegar and 6 tablespoons of soy or almond milk in place of the buttermilk.

Strawberry Rhubarb Galette

Strawberry Rhubarb GaletteMy mother is not a baker. If the main ingredients in a recipe are flour, sugar, and butter, she’ll pass or politely ask someone else to make it. That’s why I found it so funny when Shari’s Berries asked me to pass along this Mother’s Day post featuring baking advice from the mothers of popular food bloggers, including Sally of Sally’s Baking Addiction and Michelle from Brown Eyed Baker. Their mothers impart some great advice–my favorite is “Don’t be afraid to mess up!” from Yossi Arefi’s mom. That’s great advice for life in general.

Strawberry Rhubarb GaletteWhen I first got into baking, my mom was left scratching her head. She’s a great cook, but baking just frustrates her. How I grew up to be a baker, I don’t know. It’s probably some sort of cosmic middle child joke.

I have seen my mother bake exactly one thing: a classic cherry-pineapple dump cake. Except that my mother, ever a lady, would never serve something called “dump cake.” Instead she takes a tip from her mother, tops it with vanilla ice cream, and calls it “Simply Delicious.” That’s what it is, after all. I guess my mom’s lone piece of baking advice–besides “don’t”–would be that if you don’t like the name of your dessert, change it.

Strawberry Rhubarb GaletteStrawberry Rhubarb GaletteStrawberry Rhubarb GaletteNo, my mother is not a baker. But when all is said and done, my mom and I, we’re not so different. For one, we’re both caretakers by nature. We express love in acts of service which, incidentally, is also the form in which we receive love. If you mention to my mom that you are struggling with something, she’ll be right there with you, trying to figure it out. If she perceives that you are overwhelmed, she’ll send you flowers or a goofy card. That doesn’t mean she doesn’t occasionally neglect her own needs and make herself crazy because she’s trying to help someone else–that’s something that her mother did before she did and a habit of mine as well. 

Just know that if my mom does you a favor or sends you a gift or calls at 11pm on a Wednesday just because she wants to say hello, it’s because she really values you. And if I make you a pie and put it on the internet for a holiday we can’t even celebrate together, know that it’s because I really value you.

Strawberry Rhubarb GaletteStrawberry Rhubarb GaletteStrawberry Rhubarb GaletteStrawberry Rhubarb GaletteAnother way my mother and I are alike? We both prefer fruit desserts over chocolate.* When I started planning what I’d make for my Mother’s Day post, I really thought about what my mom would like to eat. Strawberry rhubarb pie quickly came to mind, with a whole wheat crust, because my mom will take extra nutrition anywhere she can get it, even in dessert.

*Know that my little sister is rolling her eyes as she reads this.

Strawberry Rhubarb GaletteInstead of making pie, something that my mom would literally never attempt, I went for a simple, rustic Strawberry Rhubarb Galette. Free-form pies are definitely my mom’s style. There’s no crimping or anything–just lay the rolled dough on a baking sheet, pile the filling in the middle, and gather it all together with your hands. Bake it for 45 minutes and let it cool before serving.

My mom, a self-proclaimed vanilla person, would insist on a scoop of vanilla ice cream to go with her slice of this sweet-tart classic dessert. I would too. My mom and I–we’re more alike than we are different.Strawberry Rhubarb GaletteStrawberry Rhubarb Galette

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom! I love you waaaaay more than chocolate. XOXO

Strawberry Rhubarb Galette
makes 1 galette, 8 servings

2 cups fresh strawberries, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 16 ounces)
1 cup fresh rhubarb, trimmed, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 1-2 stalks)
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
4 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (about 1 lime)
1/2 recipe Whole Wheat Pie Dough, or other good crust
milk, for brushing
1 tablespoon coarse sugar, for sprinkling (I used turbinado)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
vanilla ice cream, for serving, if desired

Arrange oven racks in the upper and lower positions. Preheat oven to 375F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.

Combine strawberries and rhubarb in a large mixing bowl. Add sugar, ginger, nutmeg, salt, cornstarch, and lime juice. Stir together with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon and let sit for 15 minutes at room temperature.

Flour a surface and a rolling pin. Roll pie dough out until it is 1/8-inch thick. Trim scraggly edges, if desired. Transfer to prepared pan. Use a slotted spoon to remove strawberry rhubarb filling from the bowl, leaving behind excess liquid. Mound filling in the middle of the dough, leaving at least 2 inches of excess on all sides. Fold dough over the sides of the filling, to contain it. Brush exposed crust with milk and sprinkle with coarse sugar. Dot exposed filling with butter.

Bake galette on the upper rack for 25 minutes. Tent galette with aluminum foil and move to the lower rack. Bake for 20-25 more minutes. Crust will firm up as the galette cools.

Let galette cool completely in the pan on a rack. Remove to a cutting board. Slice and serve with vanilla ice cream, if desired.

Pie will keep covered at room temperature for three days, or in the refrigerator for up to four.

Whole Wheat Pie Dough

Whole Wheat Pie DoughI have a lot of feelings about pie crust. Namely, that it should be easy, homemade, have defined flaky layers, and be insanely delicious. No hard, crunchy, cardboard-flavored crusts for me, thanks.

Whole Wheat Pie DoughWhole Wheat Pie DoughNow, I have a pie crust that is all these things and more. Yes, my Cream Cheese Pie Dough is perfection, as far as I’m concerned. And what’s not to love? The dough is simple to make and never, ever tears during rolling. It goes well with sweet and savory applications. It has so many layers that I have had friends comment that it’s akin to having a pie wrapped in croissant dough. And it really is delicious.

I could go on and on about that crust all day. Really, I could. But as much as I love it, sometimes I just need a change.

Whole Wheat Pie DoughWhole Wheat Pie DoughEnter this Whole Wheat Pie Dough. It has all the ease, flakiness, and versatility of my beloved Cream Cheese Pie Dough, but with a rich whole wheat flavor. It might sound a little odd, the idea of a pie made with a whole grain crust, but trust me when I say that it’s shockingly good. The combination of sweet, jammy fruit and nubbly wheat crust–let’s just say it’s the dessert you never knew you wanted.

If you don’t believe me, just wait–I have a Strawberry Rhubarb Galette coming your way tomorrow 😊🍓Whole Wheat Pie Dough

Whole Wheat Pie Dough
makes two 9-inch pie crusts

2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour (or white whole wheat flour)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, very cold, cut into cubes
2/3-3/4 cup buttermilk, very cold

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together whole wheat flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt. Add cold butter, and use a handheld pastry blender to cut it into the dry ingredients until the smallest pieces are the size of large peas. Pour in 1/2 cup cold buttermilk and stir with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon until clumps form. Add more buttermilk by the tablespoon, as necessary. Put your hands* in the bowl to knead the mixture until it comes together. Form the dough into two discs, and wrap them individually in plastic wrap. Chill for one hour, or up to two days.

Flour a surface and a rolling pin. Take one disc of dough out of the refrigerator, unwrap it, and place it on the surface. Press the dough with the rolling pin. Roll it in one direction 3-4 times, and then turn it 90 degrees. Roll in one direction 3-4 times. Repeat rolling and turning until dough is at least 12 inches in diameter, dusting with more flour as necessary to prevent sticking.

Fold dough in quarters, and place in a pie plate with the scraggly edges hanging over the outside of the pan. Unfold the dough to fill the pan. Trim the excess to 1/2 inch. Fill crust with filling and chill for at least 15 minutes. From here, there are two options.

For a single crust pie, crimp the edges, and brush them with additional buttermilk. and bake at 375F for 45 minutes to one hour, covering the crust with foil halfway through. Let cool at least three hours.

For a double crust pie, roll out the top crust the same way that you did the bottom crust. Cut into strips for a lattice,* or leave whole to cover the whole pie. Trim the excess to 1/2 inch. Crimp the edges, then chill for 15 minutes. Brush the crust with additional buttermilk. Cut vents if the top crust is whole. Bake at 375F for 45 minutes to one hour. Let cool for at least three hours.

Notes:

If your hands are warm, run them under cold water for thirty seconds (and then dry them) before kneading.

Whole Grain Cranberry-Orange Snack Bars

 
I spend my life rushing. Rushing to bake, rushing to nanny, rushing to deliver cakes. Like this week–I have had four separate celebration cake orders. It wouldn’t be much for a bakery, but I am just one woman with one small oven and the world’s tiniest fridge. So, I rush. And I don’t remember to eat. I am asked often how I maintain a healthy weight with all the baking, and the answer is that I don’t actually eat much of it. No, I don’t have great self-control. After three years of near-constant baking, I just see cake and pie and cookies as projects most of the time. I taste-test, to be sure, and I have had cookies for dinner more than a few times, but for the most part, when I bake something it’s either picked at for several days or given away.

All that said, I am often so scattered that I forget to eat until I am halfway to wherever I’m going. Most of the time, I stop into the nearest corner store to get Cheez-Its and a Diet Coke. It keeps me from passing out, but it’s not a healthy or sustainable way to eat. 

I’ve been making a few changes to my diet this month, as evidenced by all the whole grain and grain-free recipes I’ve been posting. Today is the final post of this healthier January, and so I am posting what has become my Cheez-Its alternative: Whole Grain Cranberry-Orange Snack Bars. They’re like a cross between blondies, muffins, and granola bars, made with whole wheat flour and oats, dotted with dried cranberries, and scented with orange zest. They’re soft, chewy, and not too sweet, with a flavor that is wholesome and delicious. They’re great for on-the-go, a sweet treat in school lunches, and after-school snacks. They also make a fantastic dessert with a little vanilla ice cream. 

 

Whole Grain Cranberry-Orange Snack Bars are quick and easy to put together. They start with creaming softened unsalted butter and orange sugar until it’s all light and fluffy. Orange sugar is easy to make–just add the zest of an orange to some brown sugar, and rub it together with your fingers like you would if you were trying to remove dried school glue. This brings out the oils in the orange zest and starts to melt the brown sugar. Once the butter and brown sugar are combined, beat in an egg, followed by some vanilla.
 Beat in a mixture of white whole wheat flour, nutmeg, baking powder, and salt, followed by a cup of old-fashioned oats. All that’s left to add are some dried cranberries that have been plumped in hot water. This little act of soaking the dried fruit ensures that the pieces are more juicy than waxy. Spread the batter into a parchment-lined pan and bake 20-25 minutes, until the bars are just done. Let them cool to room temperature and then hang out in the fridge for an hour or so. Refrigerating the bars helps them to slice cleanly.

These bars can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week, or wrapped individually in plastic wrap so they’re easy to grab as you’re running out the door! Make a batch of Whole Grain Cranberry-Orange Snack Bars this weekend so you can enjoy them all week long 😊 

 Whole Grain Cranberry-Orange Snack Bars
makes one 8×8″ pan, about 16 bars

6 tablespoons water
3/4 cup dried cranberries
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1 tablespoon orange zest
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 large egg, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup white whole wheat flour*
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 cup old fashioned oats

Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease an 8×8″ pan and line it with parchment. Grease parchment. Set aside.

Heat water to a simmer, and pour it into a small bowl. Stir in dried cranberries. Set aside.

In a separate small bowl, rub orange zest into light brown sugar. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, together white whole wheat flour, nutmeg, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer until it’s fluffy and lighter in color. Beat in light brown sugar mixture, followed by the egg and vanilla. Beat in flour mixture until completely combined. Beat in oats.

Drain dried cranberries and fold them into the batter. Spread batter into prepared pan. Tap the full pan on the counter five times to release any air bubbles. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool completely on a rack before refrigerating for at least one hour. Slice into bars.

Bars will keep covered at room temperature for up to one week.


Note:

Regular whole wheat flour may be substituted for white whole wheat flour.