Monday, September 24, 2012

Lundi: Recipes

As of last Saturday it's officially fall in the Northern Hemisphere. Where I live, fall comes quite a while earlier than the equinox. In fact, it corresponds to the old Celtic harvest holiday known as Lughnashad or Lammas on the Catholic calendar. The leaves are turning by August 1 so we're hustling to get the bounty of our short summers put away and preserved.

One of the few fruits that we can still get fresh this time of year is berries. It's now that the raspberry brambles are heavy with fruit and the blueberries are as sumptuous as they will ever be. What better use for these good-for-you fruits - aside from jam of course - than a berry cake? Here's what you'll need:

1 cup each blueberries and raspberries (washed and patted dry)
1 21 oz can blueberry pie filling
2 cups self-rising flour
1 cup sugar
1 stick cool butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp lemon juice
Lemon zest for topping (optional)

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Grease a 13x9x2 inch loaf pan an line with parchment paper.

Mix the fresh berries together and set aside.

Mix the flour and sugar in a large bowl. Add the butter and mix with your fingers until crumbly, as you would with pie crust. Set aside 1/2 cup of this mixture, stir in lemon zest to taste if desired. This will be the topping for your cake.

To the rest of the flour and sugar mixture, add the milk, eggs and vanilla. Combine each ingredient with the flour and sugar before adding the next one. Add the berries and combine. Pour this batter into your prepared pan.

Combine the blueberry pie filling and the lemon juice and spread this mixture in a relatively even layer over the cake batter. Finish by sprinkling the reserved flour, sugar and lemon zest over all.

Bake about 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool in the pan for a few minutes, then turn the cake out on a rack to finish cooling. Cut and enjoy!

Berries really are a super-food full of anti-oxidants and excellent for all kinds of health issues. If you're so inclined, concentrate on healing and helping the immune systems of those who enjoy your berry cake while you bake. This is old fashioned "kitchen witch" magick. It's simple, easy and can be done any time you prepare food.

Last, remember to leave any berries not picked by Hallowe'en on the brambles. According to Irish legend, these berries are the rightful domain of those goblins known as pucas. They sustain themselves through the winter with these last fruits, and will become bitter and destructive if they must go hungry. No one wants to anger the pucas after all...

Header: Hazel Scott with the harvest preserves c 1940 via Mid-Century


Timmy! said...

They're full of good anti-oxidants and tasty too, Pauline!

I think the pucas come earlier here too... I'm gonna say by September 30th or October 1st.

Pauline said...

You're probably right about the pucas... First snow, maybe?