Elderberries? All I know about elderberries came from Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

Embroidered elderberries

I had to look them up to know what they look like! And they look to me like baby grapes.

Unfortunately there were no elderberries to be found, as it isn’t their season yet. But my neighbor still has raspberries! So me and my inner 9 year-old went next door, sat on the wet grass, collected some scratches, and picked some raspberries. I had to remember my old skills from picking raspberries at my great-grandmother’s house and also not eat as many as I picked 😉

raspberry picking

I had already started assembling the crust ingredients. The Cream Cheese crust, my favorite from Rose’s Pie and Pastry Bible!

dry-ingredients-baggedI used the food processor method. All the dry ingredients (pastry flour, salt and baking soda) in a bag, and butter into the freezer overnight, to get everything good and chilled. I ran out of big ziplocks so I made a bag with the Food Saver. I wrapped up the butter in a separate bag. Keeping the crust ingredients cold (or frozen even) does help with keeping the crust tender. BTW this is the best pie crust EVAH – easy to work with and a lot less likely to get tough.

I chilled the wet ingredients for making the crust. I usually use water in crusts, so I made up some ice water. I also put the bottle of vinegar in the freezer to cool it down. Then broke out the food processor.

crust-processing

I put the dry ingredients and cream cheese into the food processor bowl and processed for 20 seconds. Put in the butter and pulsed it a few times. Added the cold water and cold cider vinegar and pulsed til the butter bits were small. I divided the dough, spooning some of it into the bag I used before. I worked the dough in the bag, squishing it so it would stay together. Then I did the same with the rest of the dough mix. When that was done, I wrapped both the pieces separately in plastic wrap and put them in the fridge to cool off and relax the gluten.

red-berriesNow for the filling, or part 2. I made a bit of a mistake with the filling. Actually, more like a miscalculation and a mistake. I didn’t have the full 10 ounces of raspberries, only 6 ounces or so. Oops.

But fortunately I had the rest of a bag of frozen mixed berries, which put me at 10 ounces. Yay!

cooked-fillingMy mistake was putting all the fruit in the pan together. Bad move on my part. What I should have done was put in the blueberries and frozen fruit and cooked those to where I wanted them, and just stirred in the raspberries. But no I didn’t do that. Since there was no going back, I just went ahead, stirring everything together so the pan wouldn’t scorch. Sadly, although everything thickened and it tasted pretty good, the filling looked like blueberry soup because the raspberries fell apart. Ah well, lesson learned. Poured it into my big measuring cup and chilled it.

rolled-crust Part 3 – rolling the crust and assembly. I don’t have Rose’s crust rolling mat or silicone rolling pin. But they are both now on my Amazon wish list [*cough* hint *cough*]. I rolled it the old fashioned way, using pastry flour to keep the stickiness down and moving the crust around with help from a bench knife. Not to bad. The cream cheese dough is fortunately pretty good to work with, and I didn’t toughen it up too much with extra flour. [I hope!]

filling-in-crustI poured the cooled filling/blueberry raspberry soup into the crust and added the top crust. I decided against cutting the circles in the top crust. I am glad I did that, because I had [yet another] minor mishap; I put the top crust too far back and ended up not having the top and bottom crusts meet. I tried to patch it but ended up with a bit of a purple top crust. Sigh. Ah well. I cut some slits in the top and put it in the fridge to firm up, again.

This morning, I ended up getting up an hour before I usually get up for work. So I got up, went down to the kitchen, and turned on the oven to preheat it to bake the pie. Got back into bed and read. Got up for the last time 45 minutes or so later, put the pie in the oven, set the timer, and got ready for work. And boy did the baking pie smell good!

baked-pie-topSuccess! It looks pretty good – if you like rustic pies. It didn’t drip out too badly in spite of the patch job. I put it on a wire rack and put it up high so the 4-legged canine children would get into it. Because it is going to be dessert tonight!

2015-07-27 20.08.00And a yummy dessert it is. Had a half-gallon of vanilla bean ice cream all ready to go. Served it right up and no complaints. The crust was reasonably tender and non-cardboard-y.

I think the seediness of the raspberries mirrored the seediness of the elderberries. Plus, to me, real fresh local raspberries have a more subtle and real flavor than the California raspberries found in the plastic clamshell at the market. Sure they may look pretty, but the flavor isn’t the same. The pie has great flavor and the filling set up perfectly.

Now that I know what elderberries are, I know what to do with them if I spot them at the farmers market. Or end up with an unexpected windfall!

Next week: 100% Whole Wheat Walnut Loaf

pie-slice


This post is part of the Alpha Bakers bake along. It’s an online project where a group of food bloggers bake our way through The Baking Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum.

Most of the recipes made during this project will not be shared. If you see something amazing and want to know about the recipe please let me know. You might want to get the book for yourself, or at least check it out from your local library before deciding.

Summary – clarified butter creates a tender, nutty cookie that melts in your mouth.

Kourambiethes collage

Ooooo cookies this week! Great! What’s not so great, is it’s summer and H O T! Almost hot enough to melt the butter without help. But I digress.

clarified butter for Kourambiethes

About the clarified butter. The day before baking, I popped the pound of butter into my mini crockpot to melt it. Worked good and I didn’t have to stand over the stove. I poured it out through a strainer with cheesecloth, but the solids on the bottom weren’t particularly solid and the cheesecloth didn’t catch much of it. Yikes.

I ladled out a lot of the ghee and put it in a plastic container. The rest I left in a glass bowl. Put both containers in the fridge and crossed my fingers.

My plan to bake was to do it early Sunday morning. The forecast was a high of 95 and thunderstorms. So in the morning it was before the house turned into a sauna. I soaked my cooling cloth and got to work.

Kourambiethes clarified butterI started heating the oven and got the almond in to toast. I pulled out the clarified butter and it looked great! Nice color. I got it out of the glass bowl, and the milk solids settled out to the bottom of the bowl. Sweet! Just popped the butter brick out of the container and chopped it up a bit. Into the bowl with the sifted powdered sugar. Set the timer for 10 minutes and let it beat.

While I was doing that, I chopped the almonds down. I thought a knife would work but had to break out the mini chopper. And dirty another dish 😉

10 minutes later, I had a bowl of what looked like whipped cream. Cool! Added the other wet ingredients, using Grand Marnier instead of brandy or OJ. Orangey booze? Absolutely.

Added the dry ingredients and the dough came together. I covered it and gave it a rest in the fridge. IKourambiethes on baking sheet needed a rest in the fridge! Instead I had an iced coffee break. And heated up the house again in anticipation of cookies.

Fortified by cold caffeine, I broke out the silpat, baking sheet and cookie scoop. Scooped out a dozen, cooled off my hands, rounded and shaped them up. Into the oven for 8 then 8 minutes.

I got my cooking / sugaring station ready and offloaded my cookies to the rack. I loaded them down with a blizzard of sugar and got a 2nd dozen ready.

I could only bring myself to bake 2 sheets, since the temperature was heading into sauna-land.

raspberriesSo the verdict? Everyone seemed to like them! I tasted too much of the liquor so maybe next time I will use the OJ instead. And wait til cooler weather!

In thanks for treats, my neighbor was nice enough to bring over fresh raspberries from the bushes in her yard. They are so good!

Til next week and ElderBlueberry Pie!

 

 

Kourambiethes finished


 

This post is part of the Alpha Bakers bake along. It’s an online project where a group of food bloggers bake our way through The Baking Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum.

Most of the recipes made during this project will not be shared. If you see something amazing and want to know about the recipe please let me know. You might want to get the book for yourself, or at least check it out from your local library before deciding.

Molasses Crumb Cakelets - Part of Alpha Bakers bake-along. It's an online project where a group of food bloggers bake our way through The Baking Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum. Read more at foodgeekette.com

Summary – short, easily procured ingredient list makes tiny and tasty dairy and egg-free cakes. These would be perfect as part of your Thanksgiving appetizer platter.

Cakelets

For my inagural post, and as a new member of Alpha Bakers, I made Molasses Crumb Cakelets.

I actually made the Fourth of July Cheesecake last week! But couldn’t get the post together in time.

Anyway, I will say that these were way easier than the cheesecake.

I don’t have too many pictures because my phone decided to add a bit of a haze, but you will see some of what I ended up with.

First thing, the ingredient list is short, sweet and easy. The only thing I had to make a trip for was the bottle of molasses.

The other “special” item was the mini-muffin tin. And scoops. I love using scoops for portion control on these kind of things.

These came together really easy. Make some crumbs with the flour, sugar salt and oil. Take some out. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix. Scoop out, top with crumbs, bake. Super easy.

2015-07-12 10.56.36

Yeah my camera was un-cooperative here. And the baking Pam was a little hyperactive! But they came out pretty good.

2015-07-12 11.29.13

Aren’t they cute? They had a little crust but I liked the texture. 2 bites and gone. Yum!

OK, I also was an idiot did an experiment and baked some like cupcakes in paper. They looked good but when I peeled the paper off, it stuck. Don’t do it.

2015-07-12 11.29.40

 

If I made these again, I would wait til the fall or winter. They weren’t the best thing for mid-July. Of course if you are in the southern hemisphere, and it’s winter, these would be perfect! And I might substitute some honey for molasses and possibly add some cinnamon or other warm spices. These would be pretty good with some goat cheese or mild white cheese, as an appetizer for Thanksgiving. I think I may do that!

2015-07-12 12.13.44

I am really looking forward to next week’ project, Kourambiethes.


 

This post is part of the Alpha Bakers bake along. It’s an online project where a group of food bloggers bake our way through The Baking Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum.

Most of the recipes made during this project will not be shared. If you see something amazing and want to know about the recipe please let me know. You might want to get the book for yourself, or at least check it out from your local library before deciding.