Monday, July 19, 2010

berry time

 I think one thing in particular that I can't wait to have in summer months are berries. They might be my favorite fruit for anytime, and I get overwhelmed at the sight of endless berry flats at the market. Each little berry packs its own intense burst of flavor, and the variation in taste across the berry family is as exciting as the thought of all the days of summer you have to enjoy in different ways. I want to eat as many as I can while they are here, and savor them like I do the season.

This week at the market I had to convince the "Berry Man" to give me as many blueberries as he could with the cash I had left. I only had $6, but being the kind Berry Man he was, he gave me $8 worth. I was ecstatic, and my purse was empty. Thankfully farmer's markets don't take debit cards or I would have spent at least $20 on berries. 

One of my favorite modes to showcase fresh berries is in a simple pie. Since I didn't want to make one big pie that will get soggy too fast with just me to eat it, I decided to make little pie turnovers that I could freeze and bake up for whenever I had a berry pie craving.

They are especially good on days like this.

Berry Turnovers
If you have a favorite pie crust recipe, use that. The filling is very simple and could be adapted for any fruit. If the fruit is juicier add more corn starch, if the fruit is sweeter lessen the sugar.

Pate Brisee
by Martha Stewart

2 1/2 c all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 c cold unsalted butter, my favorite for pie is the Organic Valley Cultured European Style
1/4-1/2 c ice water

Combine the flour, salt and sugar in a bowl. Add the butter in cubes to the flour. Crumble and cut the butter into the flour either with your hands, knives, or pastry cutter until it resembles coarse meal. Add the water slowly, stirring it into the flour as you pour. Add only enough water to hold the dough together, it should not be wet or sticky. Turn the dough out onto plastic wrap, form into a ball and chill for an hour.

Berry Filling

2 1/4  c. blueberries - or any other berry
1/4 c. sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp corn starch
1 tsp salt

Combine everything in a bowl, and let set for 30 min.

To make the Turnovers:

Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper. Take the dough out of the fridge, work with one half of the dough at a time. Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface until about 1/8 inch thick. Using a bowl, or other stencil, cut out circles of dough 5-6 inches in diameter. You can do smaller ones as well, 3-4 inches in diameter. For each circle, scoop 2 Tbsp of berries into the middle of the circle. Carefully fold over the dough to make half circles. Press the seam together to seal, crimp with your fingers to tighten the seal. Place the turnover on the prepared baking sheet. After all the turnovers have been made, put the sheet in the freezer for 30 min. About 15-20 min. before you plan to bake, preheat the oven to 400 degrees, if you have a baking stone place that on the lowest rack for the preheat. After the turnovers have been thoroughly chilled, take out of the freezer to prepare for baking. You could also at this time put them in a zip lock to freeze for later. Brush the tops with cream, milk, or buttermilk, and sprinkle with sugar. Cut three steam vents into the top of the crust. Slide the turnovers, on the parchment, onto the baking stone (or baking sheet). Bake for 20-30 minutes until bubbling and golden.

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