blackberry

Happy Pi Day!

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Ok, not exactly A pie, but then again, pie isn’t exactly pi, so let’s dispense with technicalities, and say it’s a wedge, from a circle, which is from whither pi derives. (You’ve caught on by now that no mathematician am I!)

What I offer you here, my pi and pie loving friends, are hand pies. No more mess, or (in my house) arguments over whether someone is dipping inside the un-cut portion of the pie to pull out more filling than they deserve.

These are flakey, buttery, fruit-filled, wedge shaped, hand-held treats of deliciousness!

Ingredients:

BLACKBERRY FILLING:

  • 2 cups of cleaned blackberries, fresh or frozen

  • 1/2 cup of sugar

  • 2 Tablespoons of corn starch

  • 2 teaspoons of lemon juice

  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract

PASTRY CRUST:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1 Tablespoon sugar

  • 1/2 tablespoon Salt

  • 1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

  • 1 egg lightly beaten with 2 teaspoons of water

LEMON GLAZE

  • 1 cup powdered sugar

  • 3-4 Tablespoons of cream (half and half or milk will do)

  • 3-4 Tablespoons of lemon juice

  • Zest of 1/2 lemon

Directions:

  1. In a medium sized saucepan, combine blackberries, sugar, cornstarch and lemon juice. Cook over low heat, stirring frequently, until well combined and blackberries are hot and releasing juices.

  2. Crush blackberries in the saucepan with a potato masher.

  3. Stirring constantly, bring to a boil by increasing heat to medium-high. Boil and stir for approximately 3 minutes, then remove from heat.

  4. Add vanilla extract, and continue to stir until saucepan has cooled enough that mixture will not burn.

  5. Set aside.

PASTRY CRUST:

  1. Pulse flour, sugar, and salt together in a food processor, or mix well in a large bowl.

  2. Add chopped, cold butter and continue to pulse until coarse crumbs form - or use pastry knife.

  3. Turn dough out onto clean, floured surface and dust with a little more flour.

  4. Kneed, adding a little flour if needed, or scant cold water, until smooth and no longer sticky.

  5. Flatten the dough, then fold, flatten, fold, several times - this creates the desired “flakiness.”

  6. Divide the dough in half, roll into balls. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

  7. Turn cooled dough onto a clean, floured surface, and use a rolling pin to roll each ball into an 8” circle.

  8. Place one circle on top the other, then use a pizza cutter to cut into 8 double layer pie wedges.

  9. Working with a top and bottom pastry layer at a time, separate, brush the edges of each with egg/water mixture, place 1-2 heaping tablespoons of filling in the center of the bottom layer, then cover with the matching top layer of pastry.

  10. Crimp the edges with a fork to seal and place on parchment covered backing sheet.

  11. Repeat for all 8 wedges.

  12. Brush tops with remaining egg/water mixture

  13. Back at 400 degrees for approx 20 minutes, until edges begin to turn golden brown.

  14. Cool completely

LEMON GLAZE

  1. In medium bowl, whisk together powdered sugar, cream, lemon juice, and lemon zest.

  2. Drizzle over cooled hand pies.

  3. Let the glaze set (15-30 minutes) before serving.

Notes:

Make filling and dough a day ahead and refrigerate. This breaks the process up, and helps things to move along more quickly the day of assembly and baking (especially if you have little helpers, like I usually do!)

A Berry Good Day!

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There is a little gravel pathway near my studio that is flanked along one side by the back of the city's stables, where the mounted police keep their horses, and on the other by a woodland; a large patch of green towering trees and low brambling undergrowth.

I often walk this short foot path to stretch my legs and get some fresh air after a long recording session. It's maybe only 50-60 yards long and opens to an expansive park with couple of different play areas, a neighborhood P-patch, fields planted with wildflowers, paved sidewalks, and a large wooded area with trails for exploring nature right in the middle of the city. The city scape can be seen by peering beyond, but it is easy to forget where you are and imagine yourself in a forest primeval once you're under the shade of the large copse of Douglas Fir.

The other day after only a few steps onto the gravel, I noticed a plethora of berries growing along the wooded side.  Forever the forager (thank you Mom) I did less stretching of the legs and more stretching of the arms as I reached for sweet morsel after sweet morsel.

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I saw first the little wild blackberries, native to the Pacific Northwest, and favored by my Grandpa Luke. These are smaller and not as abundant as the more ubiquitous Himalayan blackberry that was brought here as a cultivar and now dominates the berry scene. The little dewberry, as it's also called, trails gently along the ground and packs a powerful punch. Oh the memories I have of hunting this little gem down, pail in one hand, picking with the other! It was a chore to get enough for a pie, but boy was it worth it!

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Next, I was really surprised and delighted to find a rare wild raspberry cane; I've only come across them once or twice out hiking or camping, and here they were in a city park! They look and taste just like the ones you're used to seeing in the grocery aisles, but perhaps just a bit sweeter on the tongue because the thrill of finding them makes your tastebuds stand up and applaud!

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I also happened upon some thimble berries, deep red and velvety. It's not really my favorite because of the texture, I think, but others love it, and I appreciate the bright red color, next to the green, green leaves. Speaking of leaves, the thimble berry grows on a thornless bush with wide soft, velvety smooth leaves. The plant seems to invite you in as an honored guest and serves you up the best portion it has to offer. I gladly accepted it's hospitality!

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A salmon berry hung just above my head; it was a later hanger-on'er,. Like some of the guest at an outdoor bbq on a warm summer night, this one was just having too much fun. It didn't realize that the shin-dig was over quite some time ago. I helped it on it's way by picking and eating it on the spot!

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And lastly a single red huckleberry. It was a early arrival, and as welcome as the friend that comes before the cook out to help you clean the grill and set out the paper plates and napkins! I also, uh, embraced, this bright little morsel with a friendly hug. 

It took me as long to reach the park on this day, than it normally does to make a full circuitous route, but I was happy, finger stained, and most definitely re-energized! 

Are you a berry-hound? Where do you pick, what's your favorite? As always, I love it when you write to me at D@Delilah.com! We all have things we can share with others to spark conversation, warm memories, and new connections!

I hope, as you read this, you too are having a berry good day! With much love and the Lords blessings,

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