Blueberries are Back!

blueberries

I might have a blueberry addiction.

This past week marked the first appearance of reasonably-priced blueberries in my local supermarket.  They were actually on special – 2 pints for $5.  They had a pretty good flavor, certainly better than the tiny berries from South America that you can get over the winter for an exorbitant sum.

These berries were a good size and had a nice overall flavor.  None were too tart.  They are coming from Florida and Georgia now, which means it won’t be too long until they are local to the Mid-Atlantic region.  I can’t wait!

I am ready to bake pies, muffins, scones, cobbler, and ooohh how I love blueberry crumb cake!

Here’s a great list of blueberry festivals up and down the East Coast, timed to correspond with the local blueberry season.  A few festivals have already occurred.

Time for some berry eating!

Farewell to Fresh Peaches

Photo from Wikipedia Commons. Author: Benutzer:Burgkirsch

With Labor Day having come and gone, it is now time to say goodbye to the delicious fresh peaches of summer. I always have a hard time with the end of peach season, since they are one of my favorite things to bake with. I’m also allergic to apples, so fall baking is a bit more difficult. Most of my fall baking features pumpkin, with an occasional pear dessert or two.
This summer brought a number of peach crisps. I found that peaches from certain areas along the East Coast were hit with an unfortunate hailstorm early on, and their flavor suffered. There were still great for baking though!
I did Peach Blackberry Crisp, Bourbon Peach Crisp, and some other desserts. I tried making crisp topping ahead of time and freezing it, which worked much better than I anticipated. The crisps didn’t hang around long enough to be photographed (or really, to be given to anyone!)
My local farmers market had the Encore variety of peach this past weekend, one of the final varieties (hence the name). I may be able to find a few more baking peaches over the next week or so, but then it is on to fall. Bring on the pumpkin!

My New Cookbook: Rustic Fruit Desserts

I was just given a copy of Rustic Fruit Desserts by Cory Schreiber and Julie Richardson, and I can’t wait to give their recipes a try.  (Thanks to my wonderful boyfriend who found the book!)

The cookbook is conveniently organized by season, with spring featuring a number of great rhubarb desserts.  I plan to get some rhubarb at the local farmers’ market and start with the recipe for Rhubarb Fool.  I’ve never made a fool, but it can’t be too difficult, right?

I’m also looking forward to some of the heavier desserts (i.e. bread pudding) in the cooler months.

The book also includes a convenient glossary that defines the difference between cobbler, crisp, buckle, pandowdy, and more.  While I’ve understood the subtle differences, a glossary is helpful in explaining it to others.

The photography is excellent, and the book definitely makes me want to travel to Julie’s bakery, Baker and Spice, in Portland, OR.

 I’ll report back after I’ve made a few recipes from the book, but in the meantime, if you’re a fan of fruit desserts like me, I’d definitely recommend it!

Product Review: Dole Peach Fruit Crisp

I first saw an ad for Dole’s new fruit crisps in the Sunday coupons and was immediately excited.  Peach crisp is one of my all-time favorite desserts.  Could this fruit company create something that tasted similar to a good, homemade peach crisp for enjoyment when peaches are out of season?  I was dubious, but willing to try.

I had to wait a few months for this item to show up on my supermarket shelves, and even now, peach is harder to find than the apple varieties.  I recommend stocking up when you see it, because the peach crisp is quite good in its own way.

I brought the crisps to work with me, which was very convenient.  There are two crisps in a package, each consisting of a peach cup and an oat cup.  The peach cup is difficult to separate from the oat cup.  Once you figure that out, peel back the plastic cover on the peaches and microwave for 30 seconds.  I then sprinkled a bit of cinnamon on the peaches before stirring in the oat mixture.  I recommend using a larger bowl if you have one because the little peach cup can overflow.

Voila!  A little peach crisp.  It’s a bit syrupy and lacks the flavor dimension of fresh summer peaches, but it makes a good afternoon snack at work or anywhere there is a microwave.  It would have been great to have these in my college dorm room.  Plus, at 150 calories and with no artificial sweeteners, it is reasonably healthy.

I’d like to see Dole come out with additional flavors.  Blackberry, anyone?

Overall Grade: B

Note: I purchased Dole Peach Fruit Crisp at my local supermarket at full price.  This review is not a paid product endorsement.