Berry, Apple, and Rosemary Shortbread Bars

INGREDIENTS:
makes one 9 x 13″ pan, about 24 squares
for shortbread:

  • 4 cups (560 gr) AP flour
  • 2 tspn baking powder
  • 1/4 tspn salt
  • 1 1/2 tspn freshly grated meyer lemon zest
  • 2 – 4 Tbspn fresh rosemary, finely chopped*
  • 4 sticks (1 lb.) butter
  • 2 cups (400 gr) sugar
  • 4 egg yolks

for filling:

  • ~330 gr crisp tart apples, peeled, cored, and chopped
  • 1 tspn lemon juice
  • 2 tspn sugar
  • 1 tspn AP flour
  • 1 cup blackberry + wild blueberry jam (Recipe Below)
  • powdered sugar, optional

METHOD:

  1. Make the shortbread. Whisk to combine the flour, baking powder, salt, lemon zest, and chopped rosemary. Set aside.
  2. In a separate bowl, cream the butter until light. Gradually add the sugar and continue to beat until fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add the egg yolks to the butter and sugar one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  4. Gradually beat in the dry ingredients until just combined. Do not overmix.
  5. Divide the shortbread dough in half. Wrap each half in parchment paper or plastic wrap and freeze until hard, at least 2 hours or preferably overnight.
  6. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Line a 9×13″ baking pan with foil, leaving overhang at the sides.
  7. Prepare the filling. Toss the chopped apples, lemon juice, sugar, and flour together and let sit for a few minutes.
  8. Heat the jam briefly until it reaches a somewhat liquid, spreadable consistency.
  9. Remove half of the shortbread dough from the freezer. Grate using a coarse grater or the grater plate of a food processor. Spread the grated dough evenly over the bottom of the prepared baking dish.
  10. Spoon the jam over the first layer of shortbread dough and distribute the apple chunks in one layer on the jam.
  11. Remove the second half of the dough from the freezer and grate. Pour the grated dough evenly over the jam and apple layer.
  12. Bake for 50-60 minutes, until the edges and top are golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool completely on a wire rack.
  13. Using the foil, lift the shortbread out of the pan. If using, sprinkle with powdered sugar. Cut into squares.

Note: for a strong rosemary taste, use up to 4 Tbspn of chopped rosemary. For a more subtle rosemary flavor, use just 2 Tbspn.

Blackberry and Wild Blueberry Jam
makes about one cup of jam
INGREDIENTS:

  • 125 gr wild blueberries
  • 195 gr blackberries
  • 17 gr freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 160 gr sugar

METHOD:

  1. Place a few spoons on a plate in the freezer.
  2. Mix the berries together in a bowl and add the lemon juice. Let sit for a few minutes to macerate. Divide the berries in half, and set half aside.
  3. In a non-reactive saucepan over medium low heat, combine half of the berries with the sugar and cook, stirring frequently, until the juices run. Increase heat to medium high until the berries boil. Boil for 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently.
  4. Add the remaining berries. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil and stir every thirty seconds or so. Cook for 10-15 minutes more, testing for doneness after 10 minutes.
  5. To test for doneness, remove the pan from the stove. Retrieve a spoon from the freezer and scoop a small amount of liquid and berries. Return the spoon to the freezer for a few minutes. Once cooled, hold the spoon vertically. If the jam does not run off the spoon and is a thick, spreadable consistency, the jam is done. If not, return the pan to the stove and continue to cook for a few more minutes before testing again.
  6. Cool the jam completely, preferably overnight in an airtight container in the refrigerator, before using in the bars recipe.

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Apricot and Blackberry-Marzipan Hamantaschen

INGREDIENTS:
makes ~30 hamantaschen total (~15 of each flavor)for cookie:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 385 gr (2 1/4 cups) AP flour
  • dash of salt
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 8 oz butter, at room temperature and cut into pieces
  • zest of 1 lemon, freshly grated
  • 1 large egg, beaten

METHOD:

  1. Combine the powdered sugar, flour, salt, egg yolks, butter, and lemon zest in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until a dough begins to form.
  2. Remove the dough from the food processor and wrap in parchment paper. Refrigerate for at least one hour.
  3. In the meantime, prepare the fillings–recipes included below.
  4. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Prepare cookie sheets lined with silpats or parchment paper.
  5. Lightly sprinkle your workspace with powdered sugar or flour. Remove dough from refrigerator and roll out to 1/4-inch thickness. Using a cookie cutter (~2.5 – 3 inches in diameter), cut out rounds.
  6. For apricot hamantaschen, spoon about a teaspoon of filling into the center of each cookie. For blackberry-marzipan hamantaschen, place about a teaspoon of almond paste in the center of each cookie round and top with a small amount of blackberry preserves.
  7. Fold the edged of the cookie rounds up and pinch the corners together. Place the cookies on the prepared lined cookie sheets. Brush the outsides of the cookies with the beaten egg.
  8. Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes, until the edges are lightly golden.
  9. Remove from the oven and let cool.

Note: Despite tasting really good, this is perhaps one of the most temperamental doughs I’ve worked with. It likes to be rolled out cold (otherwise sticks to everything, even parchment paper) but folded into cookie form when it’s a little closer to room temperature.
Note: Don’t roll the dough out thinner than 1/4 of an inch, either, which will make it difficult to work with.

for dried apricot quick jam filling:

  • 1/4 lbs dried (California) apricots (~7 gr)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • sprinkle of lemon juice, freshly squeezed

METHOD:

  1. Combine the dried apricots, water, and sugar in a small saucepan with a tight-fitting lid.
  2. Over medium-low heat, cook covered for about 15 minutes.
  3. Remove the lid and continue cooking for about 5-10 minutes more, until the liquid has reduced.
  4. Pour the contents of the saucepan into a food processor. Add a small sprinkling of lemon juice. Pulse until the apricots are roughly chopped but do not process until smooth.
  5. Let cool before filling cookies.

for blackberry-marzipan filling:
blackberry preserves
almond paste (marzipan)

or
Another filling could be:
Poppyseed
Mascarpone
figs

Blackberry Lemon Meringue Pie

INGREDIENTS:
makes two 9″ pies (halving the curd recipes for one 9″ pie was a bit awkward to write because the curds use three egg yolks each, but it’s actually pretty easy in practice.  Prepare three egg yolks, then use only one and a half yolks per halved curd recipe–that’s roughly a Tablespoon and a half of yolk.)

for pastry crust:

  • 520 grams All Purpose flour
  • 100 grams sugar
  • 14 Tbspn butter
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 4 Tbspn freshly grated meyer lemon zest
  • 2 Tbspn freshly squeezed meyer lemon juice
  • 4 Tbspn cold water

METHOD:

  1. Combine the ingredients except the water in a food processor and pulse until the butter is the size of small peas.
  2. Gradually add the water and pulse just until a dough begins to form.
  3. Remove the pastry dough from the food processor, form it into a ball, wrap with plastic wrap or parchment paper and chill for 30 minutes.
  4. Preheat the oven to 220 degrees C.
  5. Roll out the pastry crust. Prick the bottom of the crust several times with a fork. Then, line the pastry with parchment paper and weigh down with pie weights (or dry beans, which is what I use).
  6. Bake for 15-18 minutes, until the pastry looks golden.
  7. Remove from the oven and let cool.

for lemon curd:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 6 Tbspn corn starch
  • 1/4 tspn salt
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed meyer lemon juice
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2 Tbspn butter
  • 1 1/3 cups boiling water
  • 1 Tbspn freshly grated meyer lemon zest

METHOD:

  1. In a saucepan, combine the sugar, cornstarch, and salt.  Gradually blend in the cold water and lemon juice.
  2. Add the egg yolks and butter, blending until smooth.
  3. Gradually add in the boiling water, stirring constantly.
  4. Place the saucepan on medium high heat and bring to a full boil, stirring gently with a spatula and scraping the bottom (to prevent burning).  Once the mixture begins to thicken, reduce the heat and simmer for one minute.
  5. Remove the curd from heat and mix in the lemon zest. Let cool.

for blackberry curd:

  • 2 cups fresh or thawed, frozen blackberries*
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 6 Tbspn corn starch
  • 1/4 tspn salt
  • 1 Tbspn creme de cassis
  • 1 Tbspn freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2 Tbspn butter
  • 1 1/3 cup boiling water

METHOD:

  1. In a food processor or blender, puree the blackberries until smooth.  If desired, pour through a sieve to take out seeds (I actually like the seeds for texture, so I don’t strain them out.)  You should have one cup of blackberry puree; if there is extra, set aside for other uses.
  2. In a saucepan, combine the sugar, cornstarch, and salt.  Gradually blend in the blackberry puree, creme de cassis, and freshly squeezed lemon juice.
  3. Add the egg yolks and butter, blending until smooth.
  4. Gradually add in the boiling water, stirring constantly.
  5. Place the saucepan on medium high heat and bring to a full boil, stirring gently with a spatula and scraping the bottom (to prevent burning).  Once the mixture begins to thicken, reduce the heat and simmer for one minute.
  6. Remove the curd from heat and let cool.

for meringue and assembly:

  • 7-8 egg whites
  • 1/2 tspn cream of tartar
  • 5 Tbspn sugar
  • 1 1/2 tspn vanilla extract

METHOD:

  1. Preheat oven to 220 degrees C.
  2. Place egg whites in a clean mixer bowl with the whisk attachment. Begin to whip at low until the egg whites start to foam.
  3. Add the cream of tartar and increase speed to medium high. Gradually add the sugar.
  4. Whip the egg whites until glossy stiff peaks, being careful not to overwhip.
  5. Add the vanilla extract and whip the egg whites on high for about three seconds, “sealing” the meringue.
  6. Spoon the blackberry and lemon curds alternatively into the prepared pie crusts. Top with meringue, making sure to seal the meringue to the pie crust at the outer edges.
  7. Place pies in the lower shelf of the oven, and bake at 220C for three minutes, until the tips of the meringue become golden.  Then, lower the oven temperature to 180 degrees C and continue to bake for 7-8 more minutes, until you reach the desired color on the meringue.  Remove and let cool.

Blackberry Chiffon Pie

Blackberry Chiffon Pie

INGREDIENTS:

For the crust:

  • 6 ounces vanilla wafer cookies, such as Nabisco Nilla Wafers (about 46 cookies)
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/2 stick), melted

For the chiffon filling:

  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
  • 1 pound blackberries (about 3 1/2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon packed, finely grated lime zest (from about 1 medium lime)
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon fine salt
  • 3 large egg whites, at room temperature

To assemble:

  • 1 1/2 cups cold heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 2 ounces blackberries (about 1/3 cup)

METHOD:

For the crust:

  1. Heat the oven to 160°C (325°F) and arrange a rack in the middle.
  2. Place the cookies in a food processor fitted with a blade attachment and process until very fine, about 30 seconds (you should have about 1 3/4 cups). Stop the motor, add the melted butter, and pulse until combined, about 5 (1-second) pulses. (Alternatively, place the cookies in a resealable plastic bag, press out the air, and seal. Using a rolling pin, smash the cookies into fine uniform crumbs, then transfer to a medium bowl, add the melted butter, and mix until evenly combined.)
  3. Pour the crumb mixture into a 9-inch pie plate and, using the bottom of a measuring cup or your fingers, press firmly and evenly into the bottom and up the sides.
  4. Bake until fragrant and slightly darkened in color, about 10 minutes. Remove the pie plate to a wire rack and set aside to cool. Meanwhile, make the chiffon filling.

For the chiffon filling:

  1. Place the water in a small bowl and sprinkle the gelatin evenly over the surface; set aside.
  2. Place the blackberries, 1/4 cup of the sugar, the zest, juice, and salt in a medium saucepan and stir to coat the blackberries in sugar. Mash the berries completely with a potato masher to release their juices, then bring to a rapid simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the berries are soft and falling apart and the liquid has thickened slightly, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, place a fine-mesh strainer over a large bowl; set aside.
  3. Pour the blackberry mixture through the strainer. Using a rubber spatula, push on the blackberry solids and scrape the underside of the strainer until all of the liquid has been extracted; discard the contents of the strainer. Immediately whisk the gelatin mixture into the blackberry mixture until dissolved and smooth. Set aside to cool to room temperature, about 20 minutes.
  4. Place the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Whisk on high speed until medium peaks form, about 1 minute. With the mixer still on high speed, slowly add the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar and continue whisking until stiff, glossy peaks form, about 30 seconds total.
  5. Rewhisk the blackberry-gelatin mixture, add half of the beaten egg whites to the bowl, and whisk until just combined. Add the remaining egg whites and gently stir with a rubber spatula until just combined and no streaks or lumps of egg white remain.
  6. Transfer the chiffon filling to the prepared crust and spread it into an even layer. Refrigerate uncovered until set, at least 1 hour. (If refrigerating overnight, cover lightly with plastic wrap once the chiffon filling is set.)

To assemble:

  1. When ready to serve, chill the bowl of a stand mixer and the whisk attachment in the freezer for 10 minutes. Add the cream and sugar to the bowl and whisk on high speed until medium peaks form, about 1 to 2 minutes. (Alternatively, you can use a hand whisk and a large chilled bowl. Whisk until medium peaks form, about 3 to 4 minutes.)
  2. Spread the whipped cream evenly over the pie, arrange the blackberries stem-side down in a tight cluster in the center of the pie, and serve immediately.

Apple & Blackberry Crumble

INGREDIENTS:

  • 250g (9 oz) blackberries, washed
  • 500g (1 lb) cooking apples, cored and cut into chunks
  • 25g (1 oz) soft brown sugar
  • 15ml (1 tbsp) butter
  • 1 pinch of cinnamon
  • 75g (2½ oz) porridge oats
  • 50g (2 oz) plain or wholemeal flour
  • 40g (1½ oz) brown sugar
  • 40g (1½ oz) unsalted butter, cubed

METHOD:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (fan 160°C/356°F/gas 4).
  2. Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the apples and sugar, stirring over a low heat until the apples are soft. Remove from the heat, allow to cool and gently stir in the blackberries and cinnamon and place the mixture into a pie dish.
  3. To make the crumble, rub the oats, flour, sugar and butter together in a bowl until well mixed. Sprinkle this mixture over the fruit and bake for 30-45 minutes, until golden brown.
SERVING SUGGESTION
  • Serve warm with cream, custard or vanilla ice cream.