Berry Bounty

Summer doesn’t so much arrive in Los Angeles as it sneaks in the back door. Southern California has a microclimate condition called “June Gloom,” during which our trapped marine layer can make mornings chilly and overcast—even 10–15 miles inland! While this is bad news for ladies who lunch (or at least ladies who lunch on patios), it’s great news for anyone with a garden! Our blueberries and ollalieberries LOVE this weather, and if we can manage not to devour all of them straight from the bush, June is Blueberry Crisp and Ollallieberry Pie time at Honeysuckle Hill.

What’s an olallieberry, you ask? I first tried these amazing berries on a romantic trip up the California coast with my eventual husband. A uniquely flavorful cross between a loganberry and a youngberry, olallieberries are grown exclusively in the areas surrounding the quaint coastal town of Cambria. I had difficult time finding them here is Los Angeles, so I resorted to growing my own! If you are unable to get them, regular blackberries, boysenberries, raspberries—or any combination of the three—will do just fine.  However, if you’re willing to go the extra mile, you can taste for yourself by ordering incredible olallieberry jams and pies from Linn’s Pantry in Cambria, California.  They ship nationwide.  www.linnsfruitbin.com 

BLUEBERRY CRISP WITH ALMOND STREUSEL

 

FOR THE ALMOND STREUSEL:
¾ cup granulated sugar, unleveled
12 tbsp unsalted butter
2 cups all-purpose flour, scant
¾ cup finely ground almond meal flour, heaping

FOR THE FILLING:
4 cups fresh blueberries, washed and dried
½ cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp lemon juice, freshly squeezed
1 tsp lemon zest

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

FOR THE STREUSEL: In a medium bowl, combine sugar, all-purpose flour and almond flour and mix thoroughly. Cut in butter until mixture becomes a coarse crumb. Set aside.

FOR THE FILLING: In a medium bowl, use a spatula to gently toss together the blueberries, sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest. Let mixture sit for about 15 minutes. Place blueberry mixture into a 1 ½-quart baking dish and cover completely with Almond Streusel. Bake for approximately 45 minutes, until top is browned and berry filling is bubbling. Serve with homemade Vanilla Bean Ice Cream (see recipe on page 121).

NOTE: This streusel makes enough for 2 (9-inch) pies or 2 blueberry crisps. If you only plan to make one, freeze the remainder for later use on your morning yogurt or evening ice cream. Serves 8.
THELMA’S PIE CRUST

For 1 (10-inch) pie crust or 1 (9-inch) pie crust with a lattice top:
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tsp granulated sugar
½ tsp salt
½ cup Crisco
4 tbsp salted margarine
4–5 tbsp water, ice cold

For 1 (9-inch) pie crust only:
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp granulated sugar
½ tsp salt
⅓ cup Crisco
3 tbsp salted margarine
2 ½ tbsp water, ice-cold

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, sugar and salt. Cut in Crisco and margarine with pastry cutter or fork until it forms a coarse crumb. Add ice-cold water (I actually chill mine with ice cubes) 1 tablespoon at a time, adding only enough to hold the dough together. Mix until just combined. Flatten into disk on wax paper or plastic wrap and cover and chill in refrigerator for 20–30 minutes before use.

FOR PRE-BAKED PIE SHELL: Place rolled crust in pie plate and use a fork to poke holes all over. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. Let cool to room temperature before filling.

 

OLALLIEBERRY PIE

 

1 (10-inch) unbaked pie crust
4 cups fresh olallieberries
1 cup granulated sugar
4 tbsp cornstarch
1 tbsp lemon juice, freshly squeezed
1 tsp lemon zest
⅓ cup crème de cassis or blackberry liqueur
Pinch salt
2 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into pieces

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Make pie crust according to Thelma’s recipe for 10-inch pie. Use ¾ of the dough to make a 9-inch pie crust and reserve ¼ of dough to make lattice top. In a medium bowl, toss olallieberries together with sugar. In a separate small bowl, whisk together cornstarch, lemon juice, lemon zest, crème de cassis and salt. Gently combine liquid mixture with berries and toss until coated. Place berry mixture into prepared pie crust and dot with butter. Roll out remaining dough and use a fluted-edge pastry cutter to cut even-width strips, approximately one-inch wide. Place strips over berries and weave into lattice pattern. Place pie on rimmed baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake for another 30–40 minutes until crust is golden brown and berry filling is bubbling. Serves 8.