“There can be no rebirth without a dark night of the soul, a total annihilation of all that you believed in and thought that you were.” Hazart Inayat Khan
2021 is finally here. I have been away from this space for far too long with no real excuse other than not making it a priority. I plan on returning monthly in 2021. I hope this year brings you good health, hope, and peace. More writing and recipes to come. Stay healthy and safe!
Blueberry Blackberry Spoon Cake
Recipe adapted just slightly from The Baking Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum
Ingredients for Blueberry Blackberry Filling:
2 teaspoons of lemon zest
Juice of 1 lemon
½ cup superfine sugar
1 tablespoon of flour
A pinch of Kosher salt
2 cups fresh blueberries
2 + ½ cups of fresh blackberries
Ingredients for cake batter topping:
2 large egg yolks, at room temperature
1/3 cup of sour cream
¾ teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 cup of unbleached all-purpose flour
½ cup superfine sugar
¼ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
6 tablespoons of unsalted butter, at room temperature
Preheat your oven to 375F. Place a sheet pan covered in foil on the bottom oven rack to catch any spills.
Using a 9-inch-deep dish pie plate mix together the lemon zest, lemon juice, sugar, flour, and salt. Add the blueberries and blackberries. Stir gently to coat them.Set aside.
Next, whisk together the egg yolks, 1 tablespoon of sour cream, and vanilla in a medium bowl until just combined.
Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt on low speed for about 30 seconds. Add the butter and sour cream. Mix on low speed until the dry ingredients are just wet. Increase the speed to medium and beat for about 90 seconds. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Add the egg mixture in two parts beating on medium-low speed for about 30 seconds after each addition. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Pour the batter of the berry mix leaving a 1-inch border. Bake until a cake tester inserted into the center of just the cake topping comes out clean, about 30 to 40 minutes. If the cake browns too quickly, cover loosely with foil. Be sure to coat the foil with non-stick spray prior to using. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack until it reaches room temperature. Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream if desired. Store any leftovers in an air-tight container for 2 days. Enjoy!
A single bright crimson raspberry remained in the thicket where many once grew. The garden now overgrown and barren showed no signs of returning to its once fertile state. Weeds the size of dinner plates flourished, broken twigs from storms pushed out to sea decorated the garden like sprinkles on a cupcake, and crushed dried leaves from previous autumns remained untouched, deteriorating, nearly gone. And ants. So many damn ants crawling all over the forsaken garden looking for something, anything to keep them going. Muscle memory Anne thought. The body doesn’t forget even when the mind thinks no more of what it no longer wishes to remember. A single ant crawled up Anne’s leg and without moving her gaze from the sad garden she squashed it with her fingers. She looked at the smeared ant hanging onto her finger and thought of Bear Grylls. She was pretty sure he ate ants in an episode she watched while her mother was dying. Though she couldn’t remember much of that time in a way that made sense. Ann wiped her hand on the sun burnt grass and walked towards her mother’s house.
The house still smelled the way Tess left it the day she died. Stagnant and sour with hints of Flagyl powder. Ann now knew words that were associated with palliative care and names of medications for end of life care as if she received a graduate degree in the field. [ Flagyl powder, Lorazepam, morphine, midazolam, anti-secretories. Daily, twice a day, three times a day, every 4 hours, every 2 hours, whenever she needs it.Don’t forget to tell the nurses. Tell Dad. She needs more diapers. She’s not eating. Try to get some rest Ann. You look tired. Are you OK? ] The white plastic shades were drawn but a bright orange glow remained. The sun. The sun trying like hell to bring light into this dark place. Ann left the shades drawn. Just try she thought to lighten this darkness. It can’t happen. It has a foothold now. Respect it and maybe when the darkness is ready it will leave.
Ann turned the light switch on in the kitchen. Mouse shit was scattered on the floor, in the corners near the old cupboards. Packs of oyster crackers sat on the counter, some were opened as if the mice were being fed. A kitchen that once smelled like butter, baked casseroles, spaghetti and meatballs, fried fish, cookies, and angel food cake. Halfway cookies, blueberry buckle, banana bread, vodka pasta, fried hot dogs, and homemade ice cream. The list could go on and on. A kitchen that once smelled like love and home now wreaked of emptiness. If a broken heart carried a smell it would be this kitchen right now.
Ann left, locking the door behind her. The house she loved. The house where she felt loved and safe was dying just as her mother had died. Long and slow and painful. The warm, fresh summer air felt comforting.
You don’t have to stay in this place anymore. But Anne knew better. This place, her grief was something to contend with on its terms. That’s the thing with grief, it doesn’t go away.Grief forces you to be in a relationship with it and Ann knew this relationship would never end. She needed to give attention to this relationship just as she did to her other relationships.
Ann paused in front of the dying raspberry bush, picked the remaining raspberry and popped it into her mouth. It tasted just as she remembered when she was young and didn’t know…didn’t know much of anything at all.
Vanilla Ice Cream Raspberry Swirl Pie
Ice cream recipe adapted from my grandmother’s vanilla ice cream recipe
Raspberry Sauce from Bon Appetit
Chocolate Ganache Recipe adapted from Carlsbad Cravings
Graham Cracker crust recipe slightly adapted from Dinner A Love Story
Ingredients for vanilla ice cream with raspberry swirl:
2 cups of heavy cream, cold
2 cups of light cream, cold
1 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon of salt
1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon of almond extract
3 cups fresh raspberries
2 tablespoons sugar
Pinch of kosher salt
Directions: Freeze the ice cream canister according to manufacturer’s instructions before starting. This usually requires 24 hours of freezing time.
Make raspberry sauce. Add raspberries, sugar, and salt to a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the berries release their juices, about 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Strain the berries using a fine mesh strainer over a glass container. Be sure to push the solids against the strainer to release as much juice as possible. Return juice to saucepan and cook over medium heat until the sauce thickens and can coat the back of a spoon, about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from heat and chill the sauce until ready to use.
Now make the ice cream. Using a large mixing bowl, stir together all of the ingredients until the sugar has dissolved. Refrigerate for 30 minutes before proceeding. Pour the chilled ice cream base into your ice cream maker and churn according to manufacturer’s instructions. Remove 1/3 of the ice cream from the ice cream maker and spread evenly over the pie crust. Add several spoonfuls of the chilled raspberry sauce. Next, add more ice cream, spreading evenly. Now, add more raspberry sauce. Layer the last of the ice cream on top of the raspberry sauce and spread evenly. Using an offset spatula make a few figure eights in the ice cream in order to make the raspberry swirl. Be sure to reach the bottom of the ice cream so the swirl appears throughout the ice cream. Add any remaining raspberry sauce. Swirl and blend gently until you are satisfied with the appearance. Freeze for 20 minutes. Cover in plastic wrap. Freeze until ready to assemble pie.
Ingredients for Chocolate Ganache:
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon, unsalted butter
4 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
4 ounces of bitter-sweet chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons of corn syrup
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
A good pinch of Kosher salt
Using a small saucepan, add heavy cream, butter, and corn syrup. Heat until the butter has melted and the cream is just coming to a simmer. Add chopped chocolate and stir once or twice so chocolate is covered in cream. Let stand for 5 minutes. Next, quickly whisk chocolate until completely melted and smooth. Stir in vanilla extract and salt. Allow the ganache to cool for 10 minutes before using. The ganache will thicken as it cools and will become completely solid when refrigerated. Reheat slowly if it becomes too thick for your preferences. Store any remaining ganache in air tight container for up to 1 week.
Ingredients for graham cracker pie crust:
1 + ½ packs graham crackers (13 or 14 crackers)
10 tablespoons unsalted, melted
5 tablespoons sugar
½ teaspoon of cinnamon
Directions: Preheat the oven to 350F. Place graham crackers, sugar, and cinnamon in a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Pulse until the crumbs are fine. Next add the melted butter. Pulse until it comes together. It will look like wet sand. Add the graham cracker crumbs to a nine-inch pie plate. Using your fingers, press the crumbs firmly and evenly over the pie dish. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Cool completely before proceeding.
Add a ¼ to ½ cup of chocolate ganache to cooled graham cracker crust. Add more if you love chocolate! Refrigerate for 20 minutes. Spread softened ice cream evenly over the pie crust. Freeze for at least 6 hours. Allow to sit at room temperature for 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!
5 Frozen Sweets Links! Big fan of tiramisu cake? Try Also the Crumb’s Please recipe for tiramisu ice cream cake! I’m so curious about this recipe that it is now on my must make list.