Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Boysenberries remembered ~

Now that the height of succulent fruit is about to come into season, I am missing one fruit in particular. Can someone tell me where to find a watermelon with seeds? Huge, oval, green - full of anticipation - a fruit blimp, that if cracked open would rain pink-hued juice so sweet one would naturally turn their lips upward to quench their desire at the sight, while dodging delicate seeds that could do no harm. Where did those watermelons go? I don’t want seedless watermelon. I want lush. I’m tired of turning around and seeing bowling ball size watermelon in the stores. I’m holding out for the blimps, I tell ya. When I do, I’ll be typing with sticky fingers and serving my kidlets fresh watermelon juice over ice.

Boysenberries ~ I can still find! Thank goodness. Loganberries are an
other story, but I’ve not been to the valley to pick fruit since returning home five and a half years ago. Boysenberries, aside from fun to say out loud repeatedly (try it fast) are a delicate sweet yet tart berry. Man, they are juicy-fat. Just how I like ‘em, baby. I remember picking this variety on my Grandma’s farm - they were the ones that would burst in my fingers if touched with a heavy hand. They emit a warmth more so than other berry varieties on the vine, their ample juice inside heated by the sun. De-li-cate.

Fresh won’t be coming until a month of so from now, get ready. It’s a short season. If you want boysenberries at the ready, go here for IQF.

The following recipe could very well be one of my top two favorite coffeecake recipes for the following reason - - it’s the kind that tastes sweetly comforting when it’s warm and fresh. When I see “melted butter’ in a recipe for coffeecake, my mind zips to a full-figured woman in an apron, moving with common assurance in the kitchen. I feel young in the memory. Melting butter for baked goodies was for women that had a special treat to get ready for their families before they woke for the day. No time to let butter come to room temp, no KitchenAids that could beat cold butter into submission in the wee hours. Picture a soft starting weekend day, or a summer morning without obligations. Shhh, let me have my fantasies. I’m not naïve enough to think all women back in the day liked their domestic duties, truly their choices were so much less than we have today. I appreciate the effort, nuturing no matter the path to the end result of our mothers and grandmothers. Warm, sweet and soft on the table, warm, sweet and soft was the woman in the kitchen.

The recipe is adapted from this little book. I add a touch more sugar, use buttermilk instead of milk, add salt since I use unsalted butter, add vanilla and lemon zest.

Fresh Berry Coffeecake

(eat warm - it‘s not a keeper)

1 ½ c. flour
½ c. plus 2 T. sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt

1 stick unsalted butter, melted - cooled slightly

½ c. buttermilk

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 tsp. vanilla
Zest of ½-1 lemon

A cup of frozen berries of choice, coarsely chopped if not raspberries. If using fresh, no need to chop.

Streusel topping ~
1/4 c. chopped nuts
1/2 c. brown or white sugar (I use white)
1/2 c. flour
2 T. melted butter

  • Mix dry ingredients.
  • Add milk to warm butter, mix together to bring milk to room temp.
  • Add vanilla and zest.
  • Make a well in the dry ingredients, pour in the wet, add the egg. Fold together until just combined. This is a loose batter.
  • Spoon two-thirds of the batter into your pan, sprinkle berries over batter, top with remaining batter.
  • Sprinkle with streusel.

Bake @ 350 degrees. See time notes below.

After it comes out of the oven, let sit about 15 minutes before cutting. Dust with powdered sugar if desired.

Notes ~

Here’s the vague part of my instructional personality again ~ baking time varies according to pan size, volume and flavors used.
  • Using frozen berries and two 6” pans, it could be almost 40 minutes before they are done.
  • If you use a 9” roundpan and fresh berries, it could be done in 30-35 minutes.
  • If you use an 8” round pan and frozen berries, it could take 40 minutes.
  • If you double this recipe, it fits nicely in a 12” round pan - a generous size to bake quickly before heading out the door to a morning gathering. Do not double the leavening, multiply by 1.5.
  • If you multiply the recipe by 1.5, you get a nicely fat product in two 6” pans and….it could take beyond 40 minutes.
  • If you use a 9" square as it says in the original recipe with fresh fruit, it takes 25-30 minutes at 375 degrees. I keep my oven to 350 on this recipe.
  • Point being, start checking at 30 minutes and go from there. I assume you all know the press and bounce back touch, or use a toothpick to test for crumb.
  • Variations ~ oh…so many. Sans berries and add spice of choice. Nutmeg in a warm fluffy coffeecake is soothing.
  • I’ve used brown sugar in place of white, added apples, added spice ~ fall options.

Berries ~ coming soon!!! *clapping* my hands in glee. I love my Oregon.
Toodles ~ xoxo


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