Happy Valentine’s Day, everybody! How did this day become synonymous with sweets? Was it a ploy by the chocolate or sugar industries to get people to buy more? Is there some historical reasoning like maybe St. Valentine had a sweet tooth? It probably has something to do with the rumor that chocolate is an aphrodisiac. Though this is not a post about chocolate.
For my Valentine this evening, I intend to make a Naked Berry Pie. While I do appreciate chocolate, a free form berry pie — in winter no less — feels like more of a treat. Plus I have some blueberries that I picked this summer still frozen. It just dawned on me the irony of the recipe title, though I assure you it was accidental! Sheesh.
The recipe comes from “Desserts from the Famous Loveless Cafe,” by Alisa Huntsman, Artisan, 2011. I was lucky enough to be invited to the cookbook launch party out at Loveless where guests got to sample a dozen or so of the desserts featured in the book as well as a lovely brunch spread including those famous biscuits. It was as awesome as it sounds.
I like this cookbook for a few reasons. First, Alisa does a great job of selecting classic, simple desserts to feature in the book. No elaborate baking techniques here – just straightforward preparations for straightforward Southern desserts. She even includes prepared pie crusts as an option for some of the recipes. While I enjoy a homemade pastry as much as the next person, there are times when a more convenient option is needed. I appreciate a classically trained chef who can embrace that flexibility.
Find recipe classics like Still Holler Blackberry Pie, Blueberry Peach Corn Bread Buckle and Harpeth Valley Hummingbird Cake in this book.
At the brunch, I was given a copy of the book to give away. If you’d like to participate in the giveaway, you can enter up to three times. Simply:
1) Follow @annakatet on twitter
2) Tweet this: I just entered to win a copy of “Desserts from the Famous Loveless Cafe” by Alisa Huntsman from @annakatet at www.LaAguacate.com!
3) Like the Loveless Facebook page.
4) Tell me what your favorite Southern Dessert is!
Please leave a separate comment for any you choose to do. I’ll select one winner at random on Friday at noon CST. Good luck!
[THIS GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED. CONGRATS TO KELLI FOR WINNING THE COOKBOOK!]
Naked Berry Pie
Yield: Makes 4 free-form pies
Recipe and recipe photo courtesy “Desserts from the Famous Loveless Cafe,” by Alisa Huntsman, Artisan, 2011
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 sticks (3 ounces) cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoons cold milk
1. Place the flour, confectioners' sugar, baking powder, and salt in a food processor and pulse briefly to mix. Add the butter and pulse until it is cut in and the mixture resembles coars meal. Add the egg yolks and milk and process just until the dough is smooth and evenly moistened. Do not process until the dough forms a ball, or it will be tough.
2. Remove dough from the processor and press into a ball. Flatten into a disk, wrap well, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before using.
2 cups raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, or a mixture
1/3 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
Egg wash: 1 egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon water
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line 2 sturdy baking sheets with parchment paper or foil and grease the liners lightly. Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces and roll each out to an 8-inch circle. Arrange the dough circles on the baking sheets.
2. Just before you're ready to bake, place the berries in a medium bowl. Add the granulated sugar, flour, orange zest, vanilla, and cardamom and toss gently until the berries are coated. Immediately spoon a heaping 1/2 cup of berries on the middle of each dough circle. Fold the edges in toward the center, pleating the dough as necessary and leaving at least a 2-inch circle of fruit exposed. Brush the crust with egg wash and sprinkle the coarse sugar evenly over the tops.
3. Bake for 25 minutes, or until the juices are bubbling. Let cool for at least 15 minutes before serving to allow juices to thicken.