Messy, delicious pre-camp cobbler

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It’s that time of year again! I leave tomorrow for my home away from home: camp, under the tall pines and in the crisp Sierra air.

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I have this strange tradition of always making some kind of fruit dessert before I leave – something about the combination of mindful baking that takes my mind off the trillion things I have to do before I leave, plus the freshness of the fruit that I miss while I’m at camp. I have no idea when this started, but for the last 5 years or so, it seems that I always make something the day before I leave. So! Cobbler. Here ya go. At least it was a change from the shortcakes – I looked back into the archives & apparently I made shortcakes the last three years. I suppose there’s something to be said for consistency?!

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And after I finish the trillion things it feels like I need to do today…. CAMP! YAY! It really is my home away from home – an awesome family who I only see about twice a year, beautiful surroundings and a soul-soothing break from technology.

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But in the meantime, before I go… I’ll eat cobbler. One of the more homely desserts out there – a blobby, delicious mess – but sometimes, dessert needs to be less than perfectly aesthetic and perfectly delicious.

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Cobbler is obviously dessert alongside a generous scoop of ice cream, but no doubt also will be breakfast, because everyone knows that cobbler is one of the most perfect breakfast foods (right up there with pie) – especially since this one is whole grain and full of fruit! That’s breakfast, right there.

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I really wanted to use leaves from my ginger mint plant – it’s actually a thing! It’s mint, that tastes gingery! Literally amazing. But sadly, a resident caterpillar thought it was amazing too, and ate all the leaves yesterday, RUDE. Which meant I had to punt and use regular spearmint, but it’s still delicious, I promise. And the caterpillar has been kicked out of his comfy digs on my plant, so hopefully the ginger mint (whose name is Watson, by the way) will make a speedy recovery.

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In other news… let’s see. More progress on the SF series, and a few different days of fun on the Bay!

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Happy July! See ya on the flip side of my wilderness sojourn.

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Rhubarb Raspberry Ginger-Mint Cobbler

Heavy on the fruit, lightly sweet with a kick from the ginger and a hint of mint  – perfect for summer since (unlike pie dough) there’s no fussing with cold butter or unwieldy dough in a hot kitchen. Cobbler is one of the easiest summer desserts – start to finish, it really only takes about an hour. This one is supremely easy, whole grain, and refined sugar free. Yield: 1 9″ pie dish; serves…. 2? Hahahaha I kid. Sort of. You could feed anywhere from 2-6 people, but I argue for two with breakfast leftovers ;) A Wait are those Cookies original; topping lightly adapted from the Kitchn, here.

For the fruit filling:

  • 4-5 c rhubarb, chopped*
  • 1 c raspberries*
  • 1/4 c maple syrup
  • 1/4 c arrowroot starch
  • juice of 1 meyer lemon (or regular)
  • 1/4 c candied ginger, chopped
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh spearmint
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

For the cobbler topping:

  • 1 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 c whole grain spelt flour
  • 2 tbsp coconut sugar + a little extra for brushing the biscuit tops
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1.5 c heavy cream (I prefer Straus because… it’s the best!), divided + a little extra for brushing the biscuit tops

*I bake straight from frozen; fresh would also be fine. I also don’t measure fruit for this – I just use enough so that my pie plate is heapingly full

Preheat the oven to 375, and grab a 9″ pie dish (or an 8 by 8 pan would be fine too I’m sure; so would a cast iron skillet if you’d rather). Stick some foil on the rack below the rack you’ll bake the cobbler on, just in case of drips.

In a large bowl, toss together rhubarb, raspberries, maple syrup, arrowroot, lemon juice, candied ginger, chopped mint, and vanilla. Let sit for at least 5 minutes — easiest to do this while you put together the cream biscuit for the cobbler topping.

For the cream biscuits: in a large bowl, stir together whole wheat and spelt flours, coconut sugar, baking powder and sea salt. Stir in the heavy cream, until the combined – the dough will be sticky & rather wet (but DELICIOUS). Spoon large dollops of dough onto the top of the cobbler – I used a large spoon and got about 5 biscuits; you can make them smaller if you like! Brush with a bit of extra cream and sprinkle with coconut sugar.

Bake for 45-55 minutes, until the cobbler is beginning to go golden around the edges, and the fruit is bubbling. A thermometer (if you have one) is useful here – the internal temp of the centermost biscuit should be 200F. Let cool before serving – awesome either warm out of the oven, or room temp later – with ice cream either way, obviously. AND it’s even better for breakfast the next day; leftovers keep well, covered in the fridge.

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The only acceptable summer blues

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Hi! I made galette again because it was so good last time I just couldn’t stay away. Besides, it’s still gloriously late summer so I will stay happily buried in late summer fruit desserts until seasonality dictates otherwise.

These are the only acceptable kind of summer blues!

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I also sojourned up to Portland for a minute last weekend and caught up with all the PNW buds and did ALL the EATING. No really. ALL of it. Rather glad to be back to eating my kale and eggs, I will say — love traveling and love eating but omg I need a break after awhile! So now I’m back and galetting around, blah blah the usual.

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I may have gone a little overboard in my excitement of finding an enormous (2 pound!) clamshell of organic blueberries at whole foods for a reasonable price…. apparently they disappeared about 2 hours later too so obviously it was meant to be and my excitement is warranted. There were 2 full cups of blueberries in this thaaang, which meant that I was more than slightly concerned with its structural integrity. However! The crust held its own (barely) and all the goodness stayed contained within its slightly leaky exterior. Galette structural engineering for the win.

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For those who love lemon and blueberry, this is for you. Flaky crust, jammy blueberries and tart lemon curd. Late summer shenanigans don’t get much better than this! Messy, beautiful and delicious, just like summer should be.

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Grain Free Blueberry Galette with Lemon Curd

Grain free, gluten free, paleo, and refined sugar free! Easy to put together and obviously delicious or I wouldn’t be shoving these photos into your inbox. Yield: 1 largish galette; about 9″ across. Serving size is up to your discretion… like the last one, this one was dessert and breakfast with a bit of leftovers for 2. No shame.

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For the crust:

I used the same one as I did for the last peach galette I did; but omitted the almond extract.

  • 1.5 c almond flour
  • 1/2 c tapioca starch/flour
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 6 tbsp salted butter
  • 1 eggs, divided
  • 1/2 tbsp coconut sugar
  • scant tbsp vanilla extract (yes, that is a tablespoon!)

Glaze:

  • 1 tbsp coconut sugar for sprinkling over the crust
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten for the egg wash
  • a few small chunks of butter to dot the top of the fruit

For the paleo lemon curd: I used meyer lemons for this recipe here from What the Fork blog (which was absolutely delicious); any lemon curd recipe will work just fine; here is a traditional one that I made a billion years ago that is also spectacular (just excuse the horrendous pictures). Make this a day before (or earlier in the day) so that it has time to cool completely before you put it into the galette. It will thicken / not run all over the place, and you’ll thank your foresight.

For the blueberry filling:

  • 1.5 c fresh blueberries
  • 2 tbsp tapioca starch
  • 1 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

For the crust: In a food processor or high-power blender (I used a Vitamix), pulse almond flour, tapioca starch, salt, and butter, and pulse to combine until it looks like coarse meal. Add in egg, coconut sugar, and vanilla extract and pulse just until combined. Turn out onto a piece of plastic wrap, shape into a disk and chill in the fridge for at least an hour, or up to overnight.

While the crust is chilling (or a day before, which I found to be easier), make the lemon curd! See links for recipes.

Once the dough has chilled, toss the ingredients for the filling into a large bowl: blueberries, tapioca, coconut sugar, vanilla extract, and lemon juice; toss to coat and incorporate.

Preheat the oven to 375, and roll out the dough into a circle between two pieces of parchment. It should be uniformly thick; about 1/4″ but no thinner. Slide the dough and the bottom piece of parchment paper onto a baking sheet. Spread a thick layer of lemon curd in the middle of the dough, leaving about a 2″ border all around. Pile the blueberry filling onto the lemon curd, and carefully fold the edges of the crust up around it, sealing any cracks that happen. Some juices will probably leak out when you bake it, but that’s no big deal. Brush the crust with the beaten egg wash, and sprinkle with a bit of coconut sugar. Dot the tops of the blueberries with a few small chunks of butter. Bake for 35-40 minutes – mine is usually always perfect at 35; the crust should be lightly golden and firm to the touch.

Remove from oven and let cool on the baking sheet for about 10 minutes; then slide the whole piece of parchment+galette onto a cooling rack to cool completely. Serve with extra lemon curd and vanilla gelato! Galette leftovers keep on the counter overnight and make a fabulous addition to breakfast; if you keep leftovers any longer I would store them in the fridge. Store any leftover lemon curd in the fridge!

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Even fruit likes to get dressed up sometimes

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I’m on sort of a roll here to see how many desserts I can make in my fave 8″ cast iron skillet… I’ve recently re-embarked on a cast iron love affair, and it is PERFECT for dessert. Points for charm, too, of course. So! This week’s incarnation is cobbler. Or some type of fruit dessert with topping. There are so many different ones: crisp, crumble, cobbler, grunt, slump, pandowdy, buckle.. now that I’ve listed them all, I feel compelled to go look up the differences. Hold that thought…

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Holding?

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Okay. I’m back.

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Woah. Information overload. Apparently grunts, pandowdies and slumps are the New England version of cobbler, whereas cobbler is more traditionally from the Deep South. Huh. Who knew. Anyway, they’re basically the same thing anyway: take some delicious fruit and smother it in a biscuit dough / pie dough incarnation / crispy crumble thing and bake that thang in a skillet. Any way you slice it, they’re obviously delicious, so let’s just leave it at that. Despite the research I’m still not sure if this is *technically* a cobbler, but who cares. Let’s not get technical, it’s the weekend!

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Look at me doing research for fun not even a week out of graduate school! What. Weird. I’m going to stop now, that was quite enough, thank you.

Cobbler! Ahhhh. Summer fruit. Probably one of my favorite eating seasons. For when you have all the fruit and can’t possibly sit and eat it all. And for when you want your fruit to have a crunchy, crumbly delicious topping. Because even fruit likes to get dressed up sometimes.

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Peach, Blackberry and Blueberry Almond Quinoa Cobbler

This could easily be gluten free — just sub the spelt flour for more quinoa flour or any other gluten free flour of choice. Could also be dairy free: sub in melted coconut oil for the butter. Refined sugar free, healthy fats, and full of antioxidants. Perfect summer dessert, and a perfect reason to bust out that smallish skillet of yours. Yield: 1 8″ skillet, serves 2-4 depending on how hungry you are and whether this gets eaten for dessert and then for breakfast…  A Wait are those Cookies original!

For the fruity goodness:

  • 2 c peaches, chopped into 1/2″ chunks
  •  1 c blackberries*
  • 1 c blueberries*
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp organic cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp date sugar

*mine were previously frozen; if yours are too, just thaw them first

For the cobbler topping:

  • 1/2 c almond meal
  • 1/2 c quinoa flour, toasted**
  • 1/4 c spelt flour
  • 1/4 c date sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 egg, lightly whisked
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 tbsp salted butter, melted and cooled

**toast the flour over medium heat in a smallish skillet, stirring occasionally until fragrant (less than 5 minutes usually; take it off just before it starts to brown)

Grease an 8″ cast iron skillet, or another 8″ pan of choice with coconut oil. Preheat the oven to 375.

In a large bowl, toss fruit with cornstarch, lemon juice, and date sugar. Set aside. In a smaller bowl, whisk together almond meal, toasted quinoa flour, spelt flour, date sugar, baking powder, sea salt, and cinnamon until combined. Stir in whisked egg, maple, and vanilla, followed by the melted butter. Stir until just incorporated.

Pour the fruit into the prepared skillet, and top with spoonfuls of batter. Bake for 30 minutes, until the topping is lightly browned. Cool for at least 10 minutes before eating.

Highly recommended with your ice cream of choice (in this case it was paleo gelato made from cashews and maple syrup, I’m obsessed). Store any leftovers in the fridge!

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Pie.

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Pie.

I love that word. It’s so simple, but it brings with it so many positive associations! Fruit. Ice cream. Family. Eating al fresco. I’m sure you have your own; those are mine. Besides all that, I love that I can pack a dessert full of fruit and then call it good for me… and then call it snack. And breakfast. And maybe lunch. Why not? Fruit+whole grains+healthy fats = a balanced(ish) meal, happy tummy, and happy soul.

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This post is rather short, as I’ve been a bit under the weather. I also loooove the photos, so this time, less is more!

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Life is short. Eat pie. Be happy!

Simple Blueberry Pie with a Coconut Oil Crust

I used the coconut oil crust recipe from Food 52, here, with only a slight modification (ww flour, always!). I wanted to use coconut oil, since it provides a nutritional bump in healthy fats (among other things like antioxidants, antimicrobials, and a host of other wonderful things). I always struggle with pie crust, partially from lack of patience and practice, and also probably because I’ve never used a trusted recipe. I really liked this one though—not only did it come together relatively easily, but it also was quite probably the best-tasting crust I’ve ever made. Winner. I’ll be making this one again, when I can get my hands on some peaches :)

I used blueberries I’d frozen in the summer—if you use frozen fruit, no need to thaw it first.

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Whole Wheat Coconut Oil Crust

  • 2.25 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp coconut sugar (or other granulated sugar)
  • 1/2 c coconut oil, cool enough to be solid
  • 1/3-1/2 c ice water

You can do this by hand, or use a food processor if you want to save time, like me. Food processor method: toss flour, salt, and sugar into the processor and pulse to combine. Add in solid coconut oil, and pulse again. It should start to come together when you pinch a bit. Pulse in 1/3 c ice water, until the dough starts to come together even more; adding ice water a tablespoon at a time until it holds together. You should be able to hold a handful without it disintegrating into crumbs. A few crumbly bits are okay, but it should be relatively easy to form it into a ball to roll out.

Flour your work surface and rolling pin. Toss dough onto the freshly floured surface (or, if you’re smart, onto wax paper so you can pick it up easily… definitely remembered that trick *after* I rolled it all out on the counter, oops), and roll it out until it’ll fit into your pie dish of choice. I used a deep-ish one, so I had enough crust left over for a few decorations but not for a lattice.

Gently lift crust into the pie pan, and crimp the edges so it looks nice! Prick the bottom a few times to prevent sogginess (no one wants that). I baked mine immediately—if you’re going to wait a bit, wrap the ball of it in plastic wrap and store it in the fridge, letting it come to room temperature before rolling it out.

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Blueberry Biz!

  • enough blueberries to fill your pie pan of choice. I probably had 1.5-2 c, and could have used a bit more if I’d had them.
  • squirt of lemon juice (about half a lemon’s worth, mine were Meyer lemons, hooray!)
  • 2-3 tbsp brown sugar, depending on berry sweetness
  • 1/6-1/4 c whole wheat pastry flour*

*apologies for the indefinite measurements… when I make pie filling, I usually don’t measure and taste as I go!

Preheat oven to 425, and make sure you have your prepared pie crust lurking around on hand somewhere.

Toss blueberries with lemon juice, brown sugar, and flour in a large bowl. Add blueberries into the prepared pie crust. If you have leftover crust and want to roll it out so that you have an excuse to play with cookie cutters, by all means do so! Place little pieces of crust on top of blueberries, and pop the entire thing into the oven for 15 minutes on 425, then lower the temp to 350 for another 45 minutes. Pie is done when the juices are a little bubbly and the crust is browned. I like my blueberries to have more body and be less like soup, so I took mine out at the hour mark. Let cool for a bit before slicing! Pie stores well in the fridge for the next day’s breakfast… and is reeeeally good with whipped coconut cream. Just sayin’. (I used a can of Trader Joe’s Coconut Cream, chilled it for a few hours, scraped off the cream and whipped it with an electric mixer. I added just a hint of vanilla and maple syrup).

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And one more… just because I happened to make this on Pi Day, and seriously, who doesn’t like extra pictures of pie??

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Inadvertent Tuesday Baking Spaz

Six point five inch cake pans are probably the best invention in the cooking world.

Seriously! I had no idea how much I was missing out until they came into my life… I make EVERYTHING in them! They’re perfect for two people (because really, even I think a 3 layer, 9 inch cake for two is a wee bit excessive), and it means that Kira and I can try even more things, since we don’t have to forage our way through a huuuge amount of food. Perfect.

Tuesday’s random baking occurrence happened to involve some blackberries, nicely donated by Kira’s lovely Mutti. What better use for slightly-tart blackberries than in CAKE?! And what better excuse for breakfast than a whole wheat cake with fruit?! Or midmorning snacking. Or mid afternoon. Or whenever.

I really love snack-type cakes. You know, like the type that isn’t very sweet, usually made in an 8 inch pan. They take me back to my childhood, when my wonderful Mutti would make crazy chocolate cake, and I would come home and power down a fourth of the cake (no, I’m not joking) for an after-school snack. No milk, either—milk is for sissies! I’ll chase my cake with a shot of ice cream, thank you! I would (and maybe still do, *ahem*) eat it by excavating the cake from underneath, to preserve the glazed bit on the top and on the sides, to be eaten last and with great relish. Corner pieces are my favorite–all the glaze puddles in the corners! I’ve been known to scrape the glaze off of Vati’s cake, when he was distractedly looking the other way, teehee! Not that I do that anymore, psshhh…

Anyway. This random baking spaz involved, like I said, blackberries. Lots of antioxidants in those cute little seedy characters. This cake was significantly less sweet than most cakes, which Kira and I really liked. We reduced the sugar a bit, but it has a nice crust of crunchy turbinado, which provides a bit more sweetness. This cake got a definite two thumbs, waaaay up. It really would be perfect for a light ending to a brunch, and I’m sure it goes well with ice cream (what doesn’t?!).

Not the most aesthetic, but WHATEVER. It was delicious, and we wanted cake sooner rather than later.

Blackberry Yogurt Cake

Adapted from here!

Though we made it in 6.5″ pans, I’ll post the full recipe :). We made a few adaptations—I’ll note them in the recipe.

Preheat yo’ oven! 350, pleeease. Lightly grease your pan of choice (originally a 9″ round cake pan).

  • 1 egg
  • 1.25 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • generous pinch of salt
  • 1/4 c butter (we used unsalted), softened (or microwaved, if you’re lazy like me)
  • 1/2 c sugar*
  • 1.5 tsp sugar for sprinkling on the top, for crusty deliciousness!
  • 1/2 c plain yogurt, thinned with a bit of milk**
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • blackberries, as many as you deem appropriate

*As you know, I have a penchant for reducing the amount of sugar in recipes. This one originally called for 2/3 c for the entire cake. Since we halved it, I used 1/4 c brown sugar. Kira and I both like it—if you want it sweeter, feel free to up the sugar. If I made the full batch, I’d probably use a scant 1/2 c.

**The original recipe called for buttermilk. We have it, but it’s currently in a bit of a frozen state for preservational purposes… as we (rightly) thought we’d not use it right away. Since plain yogurt is a buttermilk substitute, we used that instead, and thinned it out with a bit of milk. It worked perfectly! I would totally do it again.

Whisk the dry ingredients in a medium-type bowl: flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

In a separate bowl, beat the butter and sugar with your trusty handheld mixer that you inherited from your grandmutti, until light and fluffy. Add in egg and vanilla.

Mix in the flour, being careful not to spray it everywhere with the electric power of the beaters. I do NOT speak from experience this time… well, rather I speak from experience in that it DIDN’T happen this time, so there! Alternate the flour and the buttermilk until you have a batter. It’ll be rather thick.

Spoon the batter into the pan, and place the berries into the cake, pressing them down into the batter. Sprinkle the remaining sugar over the top (make sure you don’t skip this—it’s excellent!). We used turbinado, and it creates a super tasty crunchy crust.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the cake is golden brown. For a half recipe, it was probably somewhere around 25-20 minutes (just keep checking after 15 until a tester comes out clean).

Indulge your gastronomical gremlins’ snack attacks any time of day… they’ll love you for the change from muffins to cake (because they’re fickle like that). Besides, it has fruit and a serving of whole grains, AND reduced sugar. I’m thinking this makes it a nicely balanced snackie, which should appease both you and your gremlins :)