a bounty of fruit

Another crazy busy week kept me from posting on a regular basis yet again. It is raining this evening so maybe I can post of few things and get back on track.

Here's a brief run down on the week that was:
Wednesday evening I hosted my 3.5 flight champion tennis team after our last regular season summer match. I contributed the clean house, a big pitcher of mojitos, a two-quart bowl of guacamole, a nice big platter of Caprese salad and grilled buffalo shrimp. More appetizers, desserts and drinks were generously contributed by my team. Tracy's guacamole with feta, Susan's made from scratch cupcakes and Jenny's home-made lemon bars topped my list of favorites.
pitcher of Mojitos, on the napkins "You're not from Margaritaville, You're from Cleveland" :)
Thursday afternoon my best friend, Susan drove in from Bloomfield Hills, Michigan bearing the best gift of all (herself) and a pretty raspberry cake from Classic Cakes in Carmel. Friday night we grilled romaine and my famous tri-tip with red wine barbecue sauce and caramelized onions previously posted. After a trip to the Carmel Farmer's Market Saturday morning, Susan headed home.

Greg golfed thirty six holes Friday and another 18 Saturday before we cleaned up for his 30th high school reunion last night. So fascinating to attend every reunion for a class and a school not your own. By now after all the high school friends I met while we were dating at Purdue, after all of the reunions and including the two times we have lived in Carmel (now a total of almost 20 years) I am pretty comfortable with the group. Great company, so-so food.

All right, that's the de-briefing for the past week. This post's topic is all that delicious summer fruit and what to do with it. You need my piecrust and my bluebe
rry pie recipe. Then let's talk crostada or rustic pies. Let's follow that with an amazing cake recipe with mascarpone filling and a berry topping.

Dave's Mom's Piecrust (David Letterman's mom, Dorothy)

3/4 C shortening
2 C all purpose flour
1 T sugar
1 tsp salt
1 egg yolk (save the white for a wash)
1/4 C cold milk
1 T fresh lemon juice

In a medium bowl, cut the shortening in to the flour, sugar and salt until the mixture resembles
small peas. In a measuring cup, pour the cold milk and whisk in the the egg yolk and the lemon juice until the yolk is well beaten. Mix the milk mixture into the flour mixture either with a wooden spoon, a silicone spatula or just your hands until it comes together into a ball. Roll out using a well-floured rolling pin on a well-floured surface. You can roll and patch as needed. This is not a fussy crust.

Dorothy, Kelly (5) and Sara (3) in the strawberry fields
The photo is vintage from 1995 when Kelly, Sara and I shared a row of strawberries with Dorothy at Spencer's U-pick in Noblesville. So cute. So sad that I can't figure out how to position it better on this page. My IT department is unavailable, i.e. Kelly and Sara are at work.

Summer Blueberry Pie

Pie Crust recipe prepared as above

5 C cleaned blueberries
1 C sugar
6 T all-purpose flour or King Arthur Pie Filling Enhancer (order online)
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg (buy whole nutmeg and use a rasp or microplane to grate)
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
2 T grated lemon zest
1 T unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 egg white (told you to save it from the crust, remember?)
2 T milk or cream
demera sugar or coarse sparkling white sugar

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Roll out half the pastry and line pie plate. Prick bottom and bake for about 10 minutes to set crust, but not shrink it.

In a large bowl, toss together the berries, sugar, flour/enhancer, nutmeg, cinnamon and lemon zest. Pour into prepared crust, mounding it slightly in the center. Dot with the small pieces of butter.

Roll out the other half of the pastry. Using a sharp knife or a pastry wheel (mine is fluted and from Crate and Barrel) cut the pastry into 1/2 inch wide strips and begin laying strips vertically and alternating with horizontally laid strips to weave a lattice. Trim ends and push against the bottom crust to seal. In a small bowl beat the the egg white with the milk using a fork. Brush the crust and the lattice with the egg wash. Sprinkle the washed crust and lattice with the coarse sugar.

Bake for 25 minutes. If you have a pie shield, it might be a good time to put it over the outer crust to prevent over-browning. You can do the same thing with foil, it's just more labor intensive. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees and bake until golden brown, about 30 additional minutes. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream. It's so good that if there is any leftover you should have it cold for breakfast or coffee the next day!

We are now well into my longest post, so let's skip the crustada or rustic pies and move right onto the fabulous cake. I'll come back to the pies, don't worry. This cake was well-reviewed on Epicurious and I've tweaked it a bit and loved every crumb. I haven't baked it yet this year, so I am missing the photograph which really makes my blog look legit as the girls say. I have mascarpone just waiting to become something fantastic, so maybe I'll whip this up again soon.

Mascarpone-Filled Cake with Berries

2 C sifted cake flour (I use King Arthur and do sift before measuring)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 C sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 C lowfat buttermilk, well-shaken

1/2 C berry liqueur (raspberry or blackberry)
1/2 C sugar
4 C mixed berries, cleaned and cut into smaller pieces, if large

8 oz. mascarpone
1 C chilled heavy cream
1/4 C sugar

confectioners sugar for garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter one 9-inch round cake pan and line the bottom with a round of parchment paper, then butter the parchment. Fussy, I know but superior to your cake sticking to your pan since you are hopefully going to neatly split it into two layers.

Sift together flour, baking powder, soda and salt. Cream butter and sugar with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy. Beat in vanilla followed by eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. With mixer at low speed, beat in buttermilk until just combined. Add flour mixture gradually until just combined.
Spread batter in prepared pan, smooth top. Tap pan on counter a few times to eliminate air bubbles.
Bake 35-40 minutes until golden and a tester comes out clean. Cool in pan on a rack 10 minutes. Run knife around edges and invert cake onto a plate. Remove paper and discard and reinvert cake onto cooling rack to completely cool.

Bring berry liqueur and sugar to a boil in a small heavy saucepan, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Put prepared berries in a ceramic or glass bowl (I measure mine into a nice Pampered Chef batter bowl) and pour liqueur/sugar syrup over them, tossing to coat. Let stand 15 minutes or up to two hours at room temperature.

Beat mascarpone and whipping cream with sugar in a large clean mixing bowl with clean beaters until mixture just holds stiff peaks.

Halve cake horizontally with a long serrated knife (one of only four knives I consider a must-have in my kitchen, get a good one). Carefully remove top half of cake and set aside. Put bottom half on serving plate. Spread cream evenly over all of the cake and replace top half. Top with berries and sprinkle with confectioners sugar to serve.


  1. Kris, I sure have enjoyed your blog. It is a delightful reading and I have tried a couple of recipes and intend to try more as soon as I get my Mojo for the grill back. I lost it when we left Suwanee. The neighbors gave us $ for a new grill when we got settled. We bought a new one when we got here but for some reason I have not ever embraced it. Maybe this autumn.

    Beyond the recipes I find your writing delightful. Keep up the good work!
    Warm personal regards,

    Jim Horne

  2. Kris, remember that it just doesn't always come out of the kitchen, for you to share OTHER good things that come into your life.



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