Category Archives: Recipe

Blackberry Pie

When one of my DNA matches and I got to talking about family, she happened to mention that her grandma, Catherine Blubaugh (my 2nd cousin)   made such great blackberry pie that she won her husband, William Goode, that way.  I asked the DNA buddy if she could find a recipe, and she is trying to find it.  But when I saw big luscious blackberries in the market, I knew I couldn’t wait.

Blackberry pie close up

Blackberry pie, close up.

There’s still a chance she’ll come up with the recipe and we can compare it to this one.  I do know that great grandma used lard in the pie crust, and I didn’t–but she also made a chocolate cake, so maybe we’ll get that recipe.

Of course, it was more fun in grandma’s day because you would have that expedition into the countryside where you filled a bucket with blueberries, getting scratched in the process, eating berries as you went, and getting berry stains all over you.  However, there are many other benefits to eating blackberries.

Catherine Blubaugh

Catherine Blubaugh (Goode)

Seeing Catherine Blubaugh’s picture, I suspect it was more than just a pie that won her husband!

Like all my pies, this one starts with the Perfect Pie Crust.  If you haven’t tried this fool-proof recipe that calls for a bit of vinegar, maybe it is time.  As for me, I thought it was about time that I bake a pie with a lattice crust. So I did.  It certainly is not picture perfect, but it has the advantage of looking home made.  You’d certainly never mistake this for a bakery pie, now would you?

Lattice top on pie

Before baking. Blackberry pie with lattice top

The Perfect Pie Crust dough is very forgiving, which makes it easy to handle for a lattice crust.  I cut the strips with a pizza cutter and after building up a higher than usual edge, started weaving the strips on the pie.

One other thing I want to show you is a recent acquisition.  You know how the edges of the pie tend to get too brown, because they stick up higher than the rest?  For decades, I have folded two strips of aluminum foil and awkwardly tucked them around the edges of the pie to protect it. Of course, when I pulled the rack out to check the pie, the hot aluminum foil fell off and it was a pain to try to get it back.

Recently I broke down and bought ONE MORE THING for my baking cupboard–a silicone edge protector.  How I wish I had one of these years and years ago. It is adjustable to fit all sizes of pie pans, and being silicone, will take the high heat you sometimes use to bake a pie shell.

Edge protector

Pie baked with edge protector.

Next time you see nice blackberries in the store, consider this pie. Even if you don’t need to win a husband. Not in the mood for pie? How about blackberry liqueur?

Let’s call it Blubaugh Blackberry Pie.

Blackberry Pie

Serves 6-8
Prep time 25 minutes
Cook time 45 minutes
Total time 1 hours, 10 minutes
Allergy Egg, Wheat
Meal type Dessert

Ingredients

  • pastry for 2-crust pie
  • 4 1/2 cups blackberries
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup Minute tapioca
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons cold butter (cut in small dice)

Directions

1. Heat oven to 400 degrees
2. Roll out half of pie crust and line pie pan, forming a generous rim. Put in refrigerator
3. Mix sugar and tapioca, pour over berries along with lemon juice and mix gently. Let sit 15 minutes.
4. Put filling into pie shell and dot with butter.
5. Roll out 2nd half of pie crust into circle the size of the top of pie pan plus one inch.
6. Cut the circle of pie crust into 3/4 inch strips. Fasten one end of the strip along one half of the bottom crust. Fold back every other strip. Lay one strip perpendicular to the first strips, folding down the strips that are folded back. Fold back the strips that are now under the first perpendicular strip. Continue in this fashion to weave the top. Pinch the edges securely.
7. Brush top with egg yolk or milk and sprinkle with sugar.
8. Protect edges with aluminum foil or a silicone edge protector. Place pan on a cookie sheet to protect oven from drips. Bake at 400 degrees10 minutes. Turn oven down to 350 and bake until crust nicely browned and berries are bubbling.

Note

This recipe will work with any berries. You may have to adjust the sugar, depending on the sweetness, and be sure you have a generous amount of berries if you use a large pie pan I made this in a 9" pan.

 

Cottage Pie–or Is it Shepherd’s Pie?

Cottage pie, shepherd’s pie, pasties, pot pie.. the list is endless. Earlier, I shared a recipe for chicken pot pie. Pot pie is a mixture of vegetables and meat baked in a casserole with a pie crust topping.

While many people are looking for royalty among their ancestors, I have had to content myself with peasants and yeomen.  It is from peasants in the British Isles that we get the name Cottage Pie–a dish meant to combine a bunch of leftovers in an easy-to-make comfort food.

Our innovative great- great- great grandmothers found many ways to serve up the meat and veggies baked in a crust of some sort.  One favorite in the British isles particularly is Shepherd’s pie, which has become a catch all for casseroles topped with mashed potatoes.  However if it is not made with lamb, it is not a shepherd’s pie.  Cows don’t have shepherds.  Put beef in with the vegetables and you get COTTAGE PIE. And add bread crumbs on top of the mashed potatoes and you have Cornwall pie.

Cottage Pie or Shepherd’s Pie are great ways to use up leftovers, including leftover mashed potatoes. But if you want some Cottage Pie and don’t have leftover mashed potatoes, this recipes includes instructions for starting with raw potatoes.

As I so often do, I scanned the Internet and then came back to my old, ragged, falling apart Joy of Cooking cookbook.

As far as I can see, the only MUSTS in this recipe are mashed potatoes, some kind of meat, some kinds of vegetables, ad seasonings that include nutmeg. It is one of those recipes that is very open to interpretation.  For instance, I include cheese in the mashed potatoes. Some recipes line the entire dish with mashed potatoes.

Cottage pie without crust

Cottage pie divided in several pans for freezing, before adding the mashed potato crust.

Note: The picture you see of my several pans of cottage pie reflect the fact that I made 1 12 recipe because I wanted to freeze some small containers to give to someone who had recently come out of the hospital.  In the spirit of Cottage Pie, I used what I had on hand, which resulted in a thinner coating of both filling and mashed potatoes than I normally would have.

Also, this emphasizes the point that not only is Cottage Pie a supreme comfort food, it is easily freezable for future days when the cook needs the comfort of having a meal ready to eat with some warming up.

Cottage Pie

Serves 6
Prep time 1 hour
Cook time 30 minutes
Total time 1 hour, 30 minutes
Allergy Milk, Wheat
Meal type Main Dish
Misc Child Friendly, Freezable, Serve Hot
Region British
From book Joy of Cooking, 1991
The ultimate comfort food is Shepherd's Pie or Cottage Pie depending on what meat you use.

Ingredients

Potato Topping

  • 1 1/2lb potatoes
  • 1 tablespoon Butter (I admit I use much more)
  • 1 cup cheese (grated)
  • salt and pepper (to taste)

Filling

  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 1-2 carrots (peeled and chopped)
  • 1 celery stalk (cleaned, peeled and chopped)
  • 1lb ground beef or chopped cooked beef
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 3/4 cups beef or vegetable stock
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • salt and pepper (to taste)

Filling (Optional)

  • 1 onion (medium, chopped)

Topping

  • 2 tablespoons butter

Directions

1. Put peeled, quartered potatoes in cool water in pan over medium heat and bring to a boil. Cook until fork tender.
2. Scoop out and set aside 1/2 cup of cooking water before draining potatoes.
3. Mash potatoes with fork or potato masher (preferably not mixer or blender), adding the cooking water, butter, cheese, and salt and pepper.
4. In heavy skillet, brown ground beef if not cooked. Remove from pan and pour off any excess grease.
5. Add vegetable oil and cook the chopped vegetables. Stir back in the meat . Sprinkle flour over, and stir and cook for a couple of minutes. Stir in Stock and seasonings. Reduce to low and cook until thickened.
6. Pour into 9" pie plate or baking dish. Spread the mashed potatoes on top, scoring with fork, or making peaks with the fork. Scatter bits of butter over the top.
7. Bake until the potatoes are browned and dish heated through--30 to 35 minutes.
8. If freezing, let cool slightly. Wrap tightly in aluminum foil, cool in refrigerator, then when cold transfer to freezer.

Strawberry Bread and Butter

Strawberry Bread

Strawberry bread and butter with ad for fresh strawberries

I’m trying to think of an excuse to publish these go-together recipes for Strawberry Bread and Strawberry Butter.  It is not a vintage recipe. It is not something I’ve cooked for years as a family favorite, (although this strawberry bread became an instant favorite as soon as we tasted it.) Strawberry bread is not an ethnic recipe brought to America by my ancestors.  I have no excuse. Except that it is delicious. And I think you need a break from German sausage every once in a while.

My first attempt at strawberry bread was a disaster. I reluctantly dumped the bread into the wastebasket, thereby wasting two cups of strawberries. I tried to figure out why this quick break didn’t work. Then I realized that I had substituted almond milk for the dairy milk called for in the recipe I had found on the Internet.

I must warn you that in baking you cannot substitute willy- nilly. There are complexities involved. For instance, there are other recipes that call for regular milk rather than the buttermilk I used. But you can’t just change buttermilk for milk in THIS recipe.

I don’t usually feel confident messing around with recipes for baking. As I pondered all the little complexities of the chemical reactions and effects of heat, etc., I couldn’t help but think about those great-great grandmothers who were cooking on a wood-fire either in a fireplace or in a stove.  Here I have a thermostat and an oven that tells me when it has reached the exact temperature I want and a recipe that specifies baking times, and I STILL get things over or under cooked sometimes.  How in the world did they do it?

Strawberry bread sliced

However, in this case, that first strawberry bread was such a disaster, that I decided I could do it better myself.  I read a few other recipes, thought about what was making things happen, and came up with this recipe. I’m happy to say it was a smashing success.

My husband had begged me not to use any more of those beautiful strawberries on that awful stuff, and after I ignored him and made the second version, he promptly ate 3 slices.  Two days later he was offering to buy more strawberries so I could make more strawberry bread.

The strawberry butter was an afterthought, but as I bit into it, I’m thinking how delicious it would be on biscuits, scones, muffins and anything at all in the bread category. Along with the strawberry bread, strawberry butter is a definite winner.

Strawberry Quick Bread with Strawberry Butter

Serves 12
Prep time 25 minutes
Cook time 1 hour, 5 minutes
Total time 1 hour, 30 minutes
Allergy Egg, Milk, Wheat
Meal type Bread
Misc Child Friendly, Freezable
When fresh strawberries are in good supply--make several loaves of strawberry bread and freeze it. The strawberry butter will be delish on all kinds of bread.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 Heaping Cup diced strawberries

Strawberry Butter

  • 1/2 cup butter (softened)
  • 1/4 cup strawberries (finely chopped)
  • 2 teaspoons honey

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease 9 x 5 loaf pan
2. Dice strawberries with knife, put in strainer over a bowl to catch juices.
3. In large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
4. In medium bowl, beat sugar and egg. Add oil, buttermilk and vanilla and beat until smooth.
5. Slowly pour liquid ingredients into dry ingredients and mix until completely blended, but do not overmix.
6. Gently mix strawberries with one tablespoon of flour, and blend into batter.
7. Pour into prepared pan. (You can sprinkle turbinado sugar on top. I did not want extra sugar, so left it off)
8. Bake for 30 minutes. Cover with tented foil for another 35--45 minutes. It is done when a toothpick inserted in top comes out clean. Better to overbake than underbake. Unlike most quick breads, this will not dry out easily.
9. Let cool in pan 15 minutes or so. Turn out on rack to completely cool before slicing. Serve plain, with strawberry butter (see recipe) or plain butter or cream cheese spread.
Strawberry Butter
10. Let butter come to room temperature. Meanwhile, chop 1/4 cup strawberries fine.
11. Mix strawberries, honey and butter. Spread while soft. Keep any leftover in refrigerator.

Note

Notice that the recipe uses baking SODA not baking POWDER. When you are using buttermilk, you'll always use soda.

Some recipes for strawberry bread put a confectioner sugar glaze or frosting on top. I think that is overkill, but if you're looking more for a cake than a bread--go right ahead.

The amount of sugar may vary according to the sweetness of strawberries and your personal taste. I wanted a minimal amount of additional sweetness.

Don't make the mistake I made earlier of cutting the strawberries in a food processor. Much to mushy.

UPDATE:  When I baked this again, I realized that I had left you with some strawberry juice and no suggestions on what to do with it. Fortunately, it does not go into the bread, the whole point being to remove some of the moisture from the strawberries.  You might stir a spoonful into the butter to intensify the pink color, but I wouldn’t overdo it, because you don’t want your butter to be soupy.

I suggest stirring it into a glass of milk for strawberry milk (almond or other dairy substitute would be fine) or mix a little into a glass of iced tea for extra flavor.  OR–and this is what I did–mix the juice from the strawberries into 1/2 gallon of water and store in the refrigerator. Spa water!!