Sunday, July 29, 2007

Fun with Food

(The first in what will likely be a recurring series on one of my favorite topics...)

One of the things I love about living in Oregon is the ubiquity of farmers markets (I can never figure out if that should be farmers' markets) and fresh produce in the summer, especially the berries. While visiting our local Sellwood/Westmoreland market last week I eagerly checked out the offerings, squeezing through the crowds in front of each to taste the tempting samples each vendor was displaying. One in particular had a variety of juicy looking berries: raspberries, blueberries, and marionberries*. Checking out their prices, I noticed that there was a special price for half-flats (6 pints). Never one to resist a deal, I quickly picked up a mixed box (2 pints of each kind of berry). It was only as I was walking home with my purchases that I began to wonder how the two of us would possibly eat all of these berries before they went bad. (For some reason freezing them never came to mind. That's a culinary tactic I'm still working on developing).

Arriving home I immediately called my mom to pick her brain about the relative merits of crisps versus cobblers versus crumbles for these types of berries. The conversation was fruitful. (ugh. sorry. terrible pun) Not only did I figure out that I'm definitely more of a crisp person than a cobbler person, but Mom reminded me of a delicious, quick, easy and impressive-looking dessert that we used to make when I was young and we were getting buried by berries.

I'm sure it has a more elegant name, but I've always called it Berry Pizza. Basically, it's a cheating way to make a quick fruit tart with some serious wow factor. (You can, of course, make your own dough (whether it be pastry dough or cookie dough), but part of the beauty of this recipe is its "quickfix-ness") My first try at it (pictured above) ended up with a more rustic than elegant feel. Without a pizza pan to bake the cookie crust on, I ended up with a more oblong/blobby shape than a true circle, and I left the apricot lumps in the glaze because they taste good, even if they're not that aesthetically impressive.

I recommend giving it a try before the berries are gone for the year. It takes practically no time to make and adds a very summer-y feel to any occasion. Enjoy.


*For those non-pacific northwest readers of the blog, Marion Berries are a particular type of blackberries developed in Marion County, OR. They are known for their intense flavor and for having fewer seeds than other blackberry varieties. Marionberry pie is an Oregon specialty, kind of our version of American Apple Pie. (And no, despite what some suggested in the late 90's, they are not the punch line to a joke about disgraced former DC mayor, Marion Barry)

Becca's Berry Pizza
recipe from Joyce Carver

1 tube Frozen/refrigerated Sugar Cookie dough

"Pizza sauce":
8 oz cream cheese
1/4 cup sour cream
2 Tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp almond extract

Raspberries, Blueberries, Blackberries, Strawberries, etc
Sliced peaches/plums/nectarines, etc.

1/2 cup apricot or raspberry jam
2 tsp sugar

Cut cookie dough in 1/4" slices and arrange on a greased and floured pizza pan. Bake 10-12 minutes at 325 and cool.

Cream cream chees, sour cream, sugar and almond extract and spread over cooled cookie dough.

Arrange peaches, strawberries, raspberries or marionberries in rings on top.

Stir jam and sugar together over moderate heat in a saucepan for 2 to 3 minutes until thick enough to coat a spoon with a light film. Drizzle over berries while warm.

Can be made up to 1 hour ahead of time. Store leftovers in frig (fruit will run)


Steven said...

Yum ! Fedex me a piece, will ya ?!?!

Steven said...

and if you want to fight off hunger, check out a colleague's blog post :

WARNING : not for the weak or queezy...

piglet said...

That's brilliant. I'm totally making it for the in-laws this week.