Who knew? Berries have ancient Biblical history!
We see in Luke 6:44-45 this interesting passage: For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit….for figs are not gathered from thorns, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush…”
Berries of all sorts have an interesting ancient Biblical history. In the Middle East there is a huge range of thorny plants – brambles, briers, even thorn bushes (ouch!) are common. Now Biblical scholars believe that the brambles come from a type of raspberry. Raspberries are members of the rose family and they grow abundantly in Palestine and other Bible lands, along roadsides and in fields.
Now the berries of Bible days would have been much smaller than what are available today. I have thornless blackberries in my garden, but I still like to go along the woods and railroad tracks and gather wild berries. The wild berries remind me more of the Biblical berries and when you have to work a bit to get them.
- Here are 2 favorite recipes perfect for this time of year! (And I’m sorry about all the “dots” by the recipes – my low tech self is to blame…..)
FRESH BERRY PIE
An easy stovetop version of a classic fruit pie. Sometimes I’ll mix black raspberries with the red.
Baked pastry shell
5 cups fresh raspberries
3/4 to 1 cup sugar
1/2 cup cold water
3 tablespoons each: fresh lemon juice and cornstarch – has to be fresh lemon juice for it to jel
Garnish: Whipped cream
- Stir together 2 cups berries, 3/4 cup sugar, water, lemon juice and cornstarch. Cook and stir over medium heat until thick and bubbly, then lower heat to a simmer and cook and stir 2 more minutes. Remove from heat and cool. Cover and refrigerate until chilled.
After chilling, fold 2 cups of remaining berries into mixture. Pour into pastry shell and chill a couple of hours or until firm. Serve with whipped cream and extra berries.
- KING ARTHUR RASPBERRY TURNOVERS
- I saw this on the King Arthur site and just had to share. There’s a nice photo of the turnovers on their site.
- 1 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 cup cold butter
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch – dissolve into a bit of cold water
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 3 cups raspberries, fresh or frozen
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 large egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water, to seal pastries (optional)
- *If you use cornstarch, you’ll want to dissolve it in cold water, rather than stir it into the sugar.
- To make the crust: Whisk together the flour, salt, and baking powder.
- Cut the cold butter into pats, and work it into the flour mixture till it’s unevenly crumbly, with larger bits of butter remaining intact.
- Stir in the sour cream. The dough will be craggy, but cohesive.
- Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface, and bring it together, if necessary, with a few quick kneads.
- Pat the dough into a rough square, then roll it into an 8″ x 10″ rectangle.
- Dust both sides of the dough with flour. Starting with one of the shorter (8″) ends, fold it in thirds like a business letter, flip it over (so the open flap is on the bottom), and turn it 90°.
- Roll the dough into an 8″ x 10″ rectangle again. Fold it in thirds, wrap in plastic, and place in the refrigerator to chill for at least 30 minutes (or overnight) before using.
- While the dough is chilling, make the filling. Mix the sugar and ClearJel till well combined. If you’re using cornstarch, mix it with enough cold water to dissolve.
- Add the sugar mixture to the raspberries, tossing to combine. Stir in the vanilla and cinnamon (and the cornstarch/water mixture, if you’re using cornstarch).
- Heat the mixture in a saucepan over very low heat, stirring, till the berries soften and fall apart. The mixture will be thick and jam-like, even though it doesn’t really warm up much; this will take under 5 minutes. If you use cornstarch, cook and stir till the mixture bubbles and thickens. You can prepare the filling up to several days before; cover and refrigerate till you’re ready to use it.
- You can also do this in a microwave; heat till the berries soften, then stir till they fall apart and the mixture thickens, like jam.
- When you’re ready to assemble the turnovers, preheat the oven to 400°F. Roll the chilled dough into a 16″ square. Cut sixteen 4″ squares, for small, triangular turnovers. For round turnovers, use a turnover press to cut nine 4 1/2″ rounds. Re-roll the dough scraps, and cut 4 or 5 additional rounds, as many as you can get out of the scraps.
- If desired, for a tighter seal, brush two adjoining edges of each square (or half of each circle) with 1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon cold water.
- Place about 2 teaspoons filling slightly off-center in each square. Or about 4 teaspoons slightly off-center of each round; a level tablespoon cookie scoop works well here.
- Fold the turnovers in half. If you’ve cut the dough in squares, fold in half diagonally, to create triangular turnovers. Press the edges with a fork to seal.
- Place the turnovers on a baking sheet, preferably one lined with parchment to catch any spills. Bake in the preheated 400°F oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until they’re a deep, golden brown; you may see some of the filling beginning to ooze out.
- Remove the turnovers from the oven, and cool on a rack. Serve warm, or at room temperature.
- Yield: about 16 triangular turnovers, or 13 to 14 round turnovers.