Monday, October 19, 2015

Blackberry-Raspberry Pie

Finally! A berry pie recipe that I really, really love! I compared lots of recipes and the ratios of sugar to berries to cornstarch (or flour for some). And, I came up with one that is everything I was looking for!  I have been making berry pies for years and although it always turns out delicious, the pie never seems to thicken up enough during baking and cooling. 

I think part of the problem is when a recipe calls for frozen berries. Frozen berries and even berries that you freeze yourself might be the reason the pie turns out runny even after cooling. This recipe calls for fresh berries and also the cornstarch amount is almost double what other recipes call for. It thickened up really nicely and was still so juicy and delicious. 

I always use my mom's amazing pie crust recipe too, which is incredibly flaky, tender and exactly what a pie crust should be. It pairs wonderfully with the berry filling which is the perfect balance between sweet and tart. I just love it! You'll definitely want a dollop of sweetened cream or vanilla ice cream to go with. 


We picked these berries ourselves, just a day before making the pie. Blackberries, red raspberries and golden raspberries.

Pie Crust: Yield: 2 crusts (one top and one bottom)

2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/4 cup shortening
1 egg, beaten
1 Tbsp. vinegar
1/4 cup cold water

In a medium bowl, mix the flour and salt together. Add the shortening and cut, using a pastry cutter, until the shortening pieces are pea-sized and the mixture is crumbly. Mix together the egg, vinegar and cold water. Add to the flour mixture and stir together until a smooth dough forms (I usually reserve a little liquid just in case I don't need it all). Separate dough into two equal pieces, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use.

Berry Filling:

3 cups fresh blackberries
3 cups fresh raspberries
*Feel free to use any berries you want as long as you have a total of 6 cups. Blueberries would be a delicious addition. I used blackberries, red raspberries and golden raspberries.
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch

Preheat the oven to 400º F.

Gently rinse your berries and let them dry on a clean towel. Toss the berries with the sugar and cornstarch and allow mixture to sit for 10 minutes or so while you roll out your pie dough.

Take the first piece of pie dough and begin rolling out on a lightly floured counter. Lift dough from counter and rotate 90º and continue rolling, adding flour to counter when dough sticks. Continue this process of rolling, rotating and adding flour to counter until your round is large enough for your pie pan.

Lightly spray your pie pan with cooking spray. Lay the crust gently inside. Pour berry mixture over the crust. Roll out the other piece of pie dough. Lay the crust on top of the berries and seal all the edges by tucking the top layer under the bottom. Cut a few small slits into the top crust.

Bake until golden brown- about 50 minutes. Allow pie to cool for 30 minutes before cutting and serving. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream or at room temperature if desired.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Homemade Marshmallows

If you have never had a homemade marshmallow, then you are missing out! Seriously. They are little pillows of sugary delight that don't even closely compare to their store bought sisters. In a good way. 

Some people might feel intimidated to try making them because they seem a bit technical. But, honestly, as long as you have a candy thermometer lying around and you don't mind making a little powdered sugar mess in your kitchen, then you will be just fine! Scouts honor. ;)

You can cut them with cookie cutters to make cute shapes if you don't like the classic square. You can also add flavors (just don't over do it because the flavor will get stronger as the marshmallows set) like orange extract, almond, coconut, etc. Then you could dip them in dark chocolate (or a lower class chocolate if you can't handle the good stuff) and voila! The most scrumptious and adorable little sweets have just been created in your own kitchen. You will be so impressed with yourself. 

Homemade toasted marshmallows on chocolate and homemade graham crackers made an awesome s'more!

You can find my homemade honey graham cracker recipe HERE.


1/2 cup (1 1/2 ounces) cornstarch
1/2 cup (1 3/4 ounces) powdered sugar, sifted
3 T. plus 2 t. unflavored gelatin powder (4 packets)
1/3 cup water, plus 1/2 cup
2 cups (14 ounces) granulated sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/2 vanilla bean (optional)
3 large egg whites
1 T. vanilla extract
pinch of cream of tartar
1/4 t. salt

Lightly coat a 9 x 13 pan with cooking spray. In a small bowl, combine cornstarch and powdered sugar. Dust the bottom and sides of greased 9 x 13 with mixture and tap the excess back into the bowl. Save the bowl of extra cornstarch and powdered sugar for later use.

In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the surface of the 1/3 cup water. Set aside.

In a small saucepan, combine the granulated sugar, corn syrup and 1/2 cup water. If using a vanilla bean, cut the vanilla bean open and scrape the seeds into the mixture. Cook the mixture over medium-low heat until it reaches 246º F (use a candy thermometer clipped to the pan).

While the mixture cooks, combine egg whites, vanilla extract, cream of tartar and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Once the syrup reaches 230º F, turn the mixer on low speed. When the mixture reaches 246º F immediately turn off the heat and whisk the softened gelatin into the hot syrup until there are no lumps.

With the mixer on low speed, slowly pour the hot syrup and gelatin mixture into the egg white mixture in a thin stream. When all of the syrup has been added, raise the speed to high. Continue to whisk until the mixture has cooled down to room temperature (you can tell by feeling the sides of the bowl) and stiff peaks have formed.

Scrape the mixture into the prepared 9 x 13 pan and smooth the top as best you can. Dust the top with some of the cornstarch and powdered sugar mixture. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and set aside. The marshmallows need to set for at least 6 hours before you cut them (you can also leave them over night if you want).

Once they have set, use a knife or an offset spatula to gently pull the edge of the marshmallow away from the pan. Invert the slab of marshmallow onto a cutting board dusted with the powdered sugar and cornstarch. Using a lightly oiled knife, cut the marshmallows into desired shapes. Dust the marshmallows in the bowl of the extra cornstarch and powdered sugar so the edges aren't sticky anymore. Store in an airtight container or bag.