The more important thing is I was able to try out my new hexagonal cookie cutter. I never liked the square, or triangular (folded squares) hand pies. Circular were good, but the space between the circles wasted a lot of puff pastry. The hexagonal cutter was nearly as efficient as cutting squares, but look more like round pies.
I used a larger cutter for the top to assure good coverage of the smaller bottom. I docked the bottom piece with a fork to manage the puff of the pastry.
The edges of the covered pies were pinched with the fork, and egg wash painted on, a steam vent cut on the top and sparkling sugar sprinkled on each pie before baking.
Half of our Q.C. department requested we make some scones. Having never tried our hand at them we finally made some this morning. I found a recipe and modified it to suit my needs. They will become a regular treat here!
These are 3 berry drop scones. They are 3 berry ‘cause I forgot I was making raspberry/blueberry scones and added blackberries. Once I realized what I did I added a half cup of blueberries.
Once mixed, large tablespoon portions are “dropped” onto a parchment covered baking sheet. I ended up baking them for the full 19 minutes at 400F. It was just about right. I forgot to sprinkle some coarse or turbinado sugar, but they didn’t really need it.
Raspberry/Blueberry Drop Scones
Ingredients • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour • 1 tablespoon baking powder • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt • 1/3 cup sugar • Zest of 1 small lemon (or half a large lemon) • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, chilled and cut into cubes • 3/4 cup fresh blueberries • 3/4 cup fresh raspberries • 1 cup heavy cream • Coarse or turbinado sugar for topping
Preheat oven to 400. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In the bowl of a food processor, add the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar and lemon zest. Pulse a few times to incorporate.
Add the cubed butter and pulse to incorporate. The mixture should resemble very coarse sand.
Empty the flour mixture into a mixing bowl. Add the cream and stir until just barely incorporated.
Gently fold in the berries. It’s fine if the raspberries break up a little – it adds a nice pink stain to the dough. The dough should just be moist, not wet, but also not crumbly or powdery looking. If it looks too dry, add a tablespoon of cold water.
Spoon the dough into 12 equally-sized pieces on the parchment-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle some coarse or turbinado sugar over the top, if desired.
Bake for 16-19 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through. The scones should be lightly golden and cooked through.
Cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes then carefully remove to a cooling rack.
I recently picked another quart of blackberries from my garden and decided some fresh blackberry muffins would be a nice treat. Actually, half of the QA department thought it was a good idea and why would I object?
I found this recipe from an Oregon blackberry grower—how could I go wrong? I actually saw the same ingredients, ratios and method on several websites. Well, they all got it right. These are easy, quick and delicious.
Although the blackberries were fresh from the garden I froze them for a couple of hours. This kept the blackberry juice from diffusing out into the muffin batter. I also cut them in half to help the dispersion throughout the batter.
BLACKBERRY MUFFINS INGREDIENTS
FOR THE BATTTER • ½ C all-purpose flour • ¾ C sugar • ½ t salt • 2 t baking powder • ⅓ C vegetable oil • 1 egg • 1 t vanilla extract • ⅓ – ½ C milk • 1 C fresh frozen blackberries or fresh (cut in half)
FOR THE STREUSEL TOPPING • ½ C sugar • ⅓ C all-purpose flour • ¼ C butter melted • 1 t ground cinnamon • Optional – ½ t ground cardamom METHOD
Preheat oven to 400°F .
Grease a muffin tin or line with muffin liners.
Combine flour, sugar, salt and baking powder in a large bowl.
Add oil to a 1 cup measuring cup. Add egg and enough milk (⅓ – ½ cup) to fill to 1-cup line. Add vanilla and almond extract (if using) and whisk to combine.
Combine dry ingredients and wet ingredients until just combined, then fold in blackberries. To Make Streusel Topping:
Mix together sugar, flour, butter, cinnamon and cardamom with a fork until coarse crumbs form. Sprinkle over muffins before baking.
Divide batter evenly into muffin cups. Sprinkle with streusel topping.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean. When muffins are done, cool for a few minutes in the muffin pan before removing to cool on a wire rack.
Confession here: I like seeds in my berry jam. I don’t know why, either some trauma forced on me by my older brother, or perhaps faded memories of my mother making jams or even some totally unrelated reason. The point is my berry jam must have seeds. Do you have any idea how difficult it is to find blackberry jam with seeds? Raspberry? No problem, but find a jar of blackberry without that insidious word “seedless” on the label? Good luck. Either you spend an inordinate amount of time searching your supermarket, or go to a farm or specialty market and shell out twice the cash. I look for BOGO’s on berries. It’s like getting jam free, almost. Or….
Google (the worlds 42) “small batch jam” and find 461,000 results in 0.44 seconds.
I read a lot of them and boiled it down (bad pun) to this:
Measure equal weights (not volumes) washed berries and granulated sugar. Obviously for sweeter jam add more sugar, tarter, less. Duh.
Mash berries in a saucepan, heat then add sugar in small aliquots. Use a large enough saucepan or you will end up washing two of them. Been there, done that, no t-shirt.
Cook at a moderate boil until the temperature reaches 220 deg. and it begins to thicken. Cook less for thinner (think dessert topping) or more for thicker.
Skim the light colored foam off the top as it boils.
While it is cooking put a canning jar (about a pint size for a pint of berries, go figure) filled to about an inch from of the top with water into the microwave and cook until boiling vigorously.
Pour the boiling water out into a small bowl containing your canning lid and funnel.
Wait a minute. You aren’t really sterilizing because you will just keep this in the fridge for quick use.
Pour the still very hot jam into the jar using the funnel, put on the lids, screw on the top and you are done, except for the clean up. One pan, one spoon and a funnel.