One day they are green and hard and we wait. The next day it seems the drupelets have blackened and we cannot eat them fast enough. Such is blackberry season.
I have made Fourth of July Blackberry Pies in my Food on Fifth kitchen as well as Blackberry-Mango Drinks. I have shared my youthful blackberry picking snake story with you when I made a Blackberry Upside Down Cake and today offer the most simple and easy way to both preserve and cool down with fresh blackberries, A Very Nice Blackberry Ice.
Plump, ripe Tennessee blackberries……
….frozen on a parchment lined baking sheet. In the food industry this way of individually freezing product is called “IQF” which means Individually Quick Frozen. This is how it’s done on a “at-home” scale. If you do not want to use the berries immediately just pop them into resealable plastic bags or boxes and store frozen until ready to use for any of your favorite dishes.
A food processor….some honey or agave nectar…….
…plus a splash of balsamic reduction….
…gives you this….
…and best of all…this…fresh blackberry ice…very nice!
Blackberry Ice, Very Nice
- fresh ripe blackberries
- honey or agave nectar
- balsamic reduction
1. Freeze whole blackberries on a parchment lined sheet pan in a single layer.
2. Put frozen berries in a food processor with 2 tbsps honey or agave nectar & pulse a few times. Add 1 tbsp balsamic reduction and pulse until smooth. Taste & adjust flavors. Immediately scrape into a glass or metal container & freeze for 30 min to 1 hour. Serve.
Thank you, thank you, thank you to all the Tennessee farmers who grow strawberries for all of us non-farmers to enjoy every May. Year by year they are out in their fields early on chilly mornings checking on their fields while we are snug in our beds. They watch the weather reports, day in-day out, trying to judge how each years crop will turn out. Too much rain….not enough. Too many cloudy days or relentless heat.
This year’s Tennessee strawberry crop has been so sweet. It is a short season so do not delay. Boxes full of tender, ruby-red berries lined up at Farmer’s Market stands just for making recipes such as this, “Sugared (Tennessee) Strawberry Sponge Cake Stacks”.
I made wee sponge cakes in a muffin tin with just a few ingredients. These cakes are light and airy with just a hint of sweetness. I want to taste the berries first, then the berry juice soaked cake with a quick dusting of powdered sugar.
Warm sponge cakes……I sprayed the muffin tin with coconut spray which added a very nice hint of coconut to the cakes……
….berries rinsed, patted dry, cut in half and tossed with raw sugar.
It would not be May without sugared strawberries and little cakes!
The berries from Delvin Farms. The wee sponge cakes are based on a recipe by James Tanner from his amazing wonderful and simple cookbook “Take 5 Ingredients”.
Sugared Strawberry Sponge Cake Stacks
- coconut oil spray (I just discovered this and adore the hint of coconut it imbues)
- 4 eggs, separated
- 3/4 cup superfine sugar (if you cannot find then pulse regular sugar in processor until fine)
- 1 1/4 cups self-rising flour sifted with 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 2 pints of fresh (local) seasonal Strawberries, rinsed & patted dry, tops cut off and halved
- 1/3 cups raw sugar
- powdered sugar for garnish
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 6 cup muffin tin with coconut spray. Set aside.
- Whisk egg yolks and sugar together in a bowl until pale & frothy.
- In another bowl whisk, or use a hand mixer, the egg whites until stiff. Whisk the egg whites into the egg yolks.
- Fold the flour-salt mixture in small batches until all the flour is blended in.
- Divide batter between greased muffin tin cups. Bake for about 15-20 minutes or until golden brown and set in the middle. Cool on wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove sponge cakes from tin and continue to cool on rack while preparing berries.
- In a glass mixing bowl toss together the strawberries & raw sugar. Mash a few of the berries with the back of a fork to release juices. Toss again and leave to sit for about 30 minutes before serving.
- To serve use a serrated knife to gently cut each wee sponge cake into 3 slices. Layer cake and berries on a serving plate. Allow about 5 minutes before serving to let cake layers soak up berry juice. Dust cake with powdered sugar and serve.
This is a simple dessert that is not overly sweet. Easy to make. Can be prepped ahead of time and can be made using any seasonal berries, peaches or plums.
Fruit with pits….Stone fruit….Drupes….all names for a group of plentiful Summer fruits such as peaches, plums, cherries and apricots. Pluots are a hybrid of plums and apricots. My friend Mark has a tree with hundreds of these beauties hanging heavy and ripe that he was so gracious to share with me. The Rainier Cherries I picked up at a local market. Don’t the cherries look like wee pluots?
I made this cake last week when the temp got down to the high 70’s and low 80’s during the day. I did not mind turning on the oven for a bit to make this simple skillet cake with my stash of stone fruit.
A generous smearing of softened butter on the skillet surface first, then the sliced pluots & cherries to cover the bottom.
This batter is a cross between traditional cake & cornbread batters. Orange Flower water & vanilla extract added to the batter created a wonderful aroma in my kitchen while it was baking.
Is there anything not made better with a bit of Maple Syrup drizzled on top?
Warm, moist, aromatic & fruity with a cake texture and a hint of the cornmeal crunch. A bit more drizzle on each serving. A good brunch cake or for the late afternoon with a cup of coffee or tea when we all need a break. Here….have a bite.
A Summer Cornmeal Skillet Cake with a Maple Syrup Drizzle
- 1 Tbsp softened butter
- 1 cup self-rising yellow cornmeal
- 3/4 cup self-rising flour
- 1/2 cup turbinado or brown sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 Tbsp Vanilla extract
- 1 tsp Orange Flour water
- 3/4 to 1 cup Buttermilk or Whole Milk
- 3-4 pitted & thickly sliced Pluots
- 8-10 pitted Rainier Cherries, cut in half if large or left whole if small
- Maple Syrup to drizzle over the warm cake
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously butter a 8 or 10 inch black iron skillet.
- Cover the bottom of the skillet with pluots slices and cherries.
- In a mixing bowl whisk together the cornmeal, flour & brown sugar.
- To the bowl add the eggs, Vanilla extract, Orange Flower water and enough of the buttermilk or whole milk to create a batter.
- Pour batter over the stone fruit in the skillet.
- Bake for 35-45 minutes until the center of the cake is set and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Adjust baking time to suit your oven. Remove from the oven and let cool on a rack for about 10 minutes.
- Turn cake upside down on a serving plate and drizzle with pure Maple Syrup.
- Serve cut into slices with additional drizzle if desired.
Recipe by: teresablackburnfoodstyling.com Blog: foodonfifth.com