ONLINE EXTRA -- BOUNTIFUL BERRIES: Warm Cornmeal Shortcake with Farm Stand Berries . . . Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes . . . Aprium and Boysenberry Cobbler, etc.

Warm Cornmeal Shortcake with Farm Stand Berries CORNMEAL CAKE: 3/4 cup unsalted butter, plus more for the pan 1 1/2 cups sifted, unbleached, all-purpose flour, plus more for the pan 2 teaspoons baking powder 1 teaspoon baking soda 2/3 cup yellow ...

Warm Cornmeal Shortcake with Farm Stand Berries


¾ cup unsalted butter, plus more for the pan

1½ cups sifted, unbleached, all-purpose flour, plus more for the pan

2 teaspoons baking powder


1 teaspoon baking soda

2/3 cup yellow cornmeal

½ cup fine semolina

½ teaspoon kosher salt

2/3 cup sugar

2 large eggs

½ teaspoon almond extract

1 cup buttermilk



3 pints mixed juice berries

¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar

4 teaspoons brandy

1 cup cream

¼ teaspoon vanilla

Preheat the oven to 375. Lightly grease a 9-by-5-by 3-inch loaf pan with butter. Coat bottom and sides with flour and shake out the excess.

Sift the flour, baking powder and soda together into a medium bowl. Whisk in the corn-meal, semolina and salt.


Using an electric mixer, cream the butter. Add the sugar gradually, beating until mixture is pale and light. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then beat in the almond extract.

On low speed, add half the dry ingredients and beat just until blended. Beat in the butter-milk, then remaining dry ingredients, just until blended. Transfer batter to pan.

Bake until the cake is firm to the touch and beginning to pull away from the sides, 45 to 50 minutes. A cake tester inserted in the center should come out clean. Cool in pan 15 minutes, then turn out of the pan and finish cooling on a rack.

Meanwhile, combine the berries, ¼ cup sugar and brandy. Stir gently and let macerate at room temperature for 1 hour to draw out the juices.

Whisk the cream, 1 tablespoon sugar and vanilla to soft peaks. Chill until ready to serve.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut the ends off the cake, then cut the cake into 8 equal slices. Arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet and toast in oven until hot and slightly crusty, 5 minutes. Transfer to individual plates, top with berries and their juices, and cream.

Yield: Serves 8.

Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes


36 firm-ripe cherries, at least 12 with stems

1 tablespoon kirsch

1 1/3 cups unbleached flour

1 cup sugar

¼ cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder (not Dutch processed)

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon kosher salt

¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons cold water


5 tablespoon canola oil

1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar

¾ teaspoon vanilla


1½ cups semisweet chocolate chips

6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped

1½ cups sour cream, room temperature

1½ teaspoons kirsch


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin tin with paper liners.

Set aside the 12 nicest cherries with stems. Stem and pit remaining cherries; cut into halves, if small, quarters if large. Toss with 1 tablespoon kirsch and set aside.

Whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Blend in the water, oil, vine-gar and vanilla. Fold in cherries and their juice.

Fill cupcake papers about 2/3 full. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center tests clean, 30 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool completely.

For the frosting, melt the chocolates in a double boiler over gently simmering water. Stir in sour cream and kirsch. Set aside to firm up until spreadable, about 20 minutes.

Using an icing spatula or a pastry bag fitted with a No. 16 star tip, frost the cooled cup-cakes. Top each cupcake with a reserved cherry. Leftover cupcakes can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.

Yield: Makes 12 cupcakes.

Aprium and Boysenberry Cobbler

2 pounds stone fruit, peeled, pitted and sliced 1/2-inch thick

½ cup sugar

1½ tablespoons cornstarch

1½ cups boysenberries


1½ cups unbleached flour

2 tablespoons sugar

2½ teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon kosher salt

6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut in 12 pieces

½ cup whole milk

2 teaspoons coarse sparkling sugar

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place peaches in a large bowl. Whisk the sugar and corn-starch until well blended, add to peaches and toss to coat. Add boysenberries and toss gen-tly. Place in a baking dish.

For biscuit topping, place flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a food processor and pulse to blend. Add butter and pulse until bits are no larger than a pea. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the milk with a fork, tossing gently, just until moistened. Knead gently with your hands, just until mixture forms a cohesive dough. Turn onto work surface and pat into a ½-inch thick round.

Using a 2-inch round cutter, cut out 6 biscuits and place atop fruit. Brush lightly with milk, and sprinkle with sparkling sugar. Bake until biscuits are nicely browned and fruit is bub-bly, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool slightly. Serve warm.

Yield: Serves 6.

Blueberry-Mascarpone Shortbread

8 ounces mascarpone cheese

4 tablespoons confectioners' sugar

1 teaspoon lemon zest, from about 2 lemons

1¼ teaspoon fine-grained sea salt

16 homemade or store-bought shortbread cookies, about 21/2 inches wide (see note)

6 ounces blueberries

In a medium bowl, combine mascarpone cheese, confectioners' sugar, and lemon zest. Add 1/8 teaspoon sea salt and mix well. Taste and add more salt, if necessary. With an offset spat-ula, spread mascarpone mixture on cookies, then top with blueberries. Serve immediately.

Yield: About 16 cookies.

Note: This is a versatile formula for a quick dessert. Substitute sugar cookies for short-bread, and try different flavor combinations, such as blueberries and bits of candied ginger.

Savory Blueberry Sauce

4 tablespoons minced shallots

2 tablespoons butter

½ teaspoon dried thyme (or 1½ teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves)

½ teaspoon balsamic vinegar

2 to 3 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 cups blueberries

¾ teaspoon salt, or to taste

1½ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper, or to taste

In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, cook shallots in butter until shallots are translucent.

Stir in thyme, balsamic vinegar and lemon juice. Reduce heat to low, then add blueberries. Cook, gently stirring, just until a few blueberries begin to release their juices. (Most of them should retain their shape.)

Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper.

Serve immediately, with pork chops or turkey cutlets.

Yield: Serves 6.

Blueberry Cornbread

2 cups blueberries

1 teaspoon plus 1 cup all-purpose flour, divided

Up to 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 cup yellow cornmeal

¼ cup dark brown sugar, packed

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

Grated zest of 2 oranges

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1 cup milk (see note)

1/3 cup vegetable oil

In a small bowl, toss blueberries with 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease 8-inch square baking pan with oil. (Add just enough to grease the pan, or, if you prefer a fried texture to the cornbread's exterior, add 2 table-spoons.) Place the greased pan in the preheating oven.

In a medium bowl, mix 1 cup flour, corn meal, brown sugar, baking powder, salt and or-ange zest. Crumble the mixture between your fingers to evenly distribute the orange zest. Set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk the egg, milk and oil. Pour the milk mixture into the flour mixture; stir just until blended. Gently stir in blueberries.

Remove the hot pan from the oven. Pour batter into the hot pan, taking care to evenly dis-tribute the blueberries.

Bake until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, about 20 to 25 minutes.

Yield: Serves 12.

Note: For a more pronounced orange flavor, substitute freshly squeezed orange juice for ¼ cup of the milk.

Chocolate-Dipped Raspberry-Filled Spritz Cookies

3 cups sifted flour

½ teaspoon salt

½ cup sugar

1¼ cups (2½ sticks) butter

2 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup seedless raspberry jam

2 cups semisweet chocolate chips, melted (See note)

Chocolate sprinkles and finely chopped nuts

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Sift together flour and salt. In a separate bowl, beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer until creamy. Blend in eggs and vanilla. Beat well. Add dry ingredients a little at a time and beat until combined. Put dough in cookie press fitted with saw-toothed plate. Press onto ungreased cookie sheets in 2-inch lengths and bake until lightly browned, about 8 minutes.

Remove from pan immediately and cool on wire rack. For each sandwich cookie, spread a thin layer of jam on one cookie and cover with second. Dip both ends in warm, melted choco-late and then dip in sprinkles or nuts. Place cookies on rack and allow the chocolate to harden. Then hide the cookies; they are irresistible!

Yield: 48 sandwich cookies.

Note: Melt the chocolate in a tempered glass measuring cup placed in a saucepan of gently simmering water. It is important to keep the chocolate warm and spreadable.

Chocolate-Raspberry Crumb Bars

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened

2 cups flour

½ cup packed light brown sugar

¼ teaspoon salt

2 cups (12-ounce package) semisweet chocolate chips, divided

1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk

1/3 cup seedless raspberry preserves

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. With an electric mixer, beat butter in large mixing bowl until creamy. Beat in flour, sugar and salt until well mixed and crumbly. Press 1¾ cups of the crumb mixture into the bottom of a greased 9-by-13-inch baking pan; reserve remaining crumb mixture. Bake until edges are golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes.

While bars bake, combine 1 cup of chocolate chips with the sweetened condensed milk in a saucepan. Melt chips over low heat, stirring until smooth. When pan comes out of the oven, pour chocolate over the hot crust. Sprinkle the remaining crumb mixture over the chocolate filling. Drop teaspoonfuls of raspberry preserves over the crumb mixture. Sprinkle with remaining chocolate chips. Return to oven and continue baking until the center is set, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool and cut into bars.

Yield: 24 to 36 cookies.

Raspberry Religieuse

Pate a choux

½ cup water

½ cup milk

Scant 8 tablespoons (scant 1 stick) butter

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon sugar

1 cup plus 3 tablespoons (4.94 ounces) flour

5 eggs

1 egg white

Heat the oven to 425 degrees. In a large, heavy-bottom saucepan, bring the water, milk, but-ter, salt and sugar to a boil. Quickly stir in the flour, making sure to remove any lumps. Re-duce the heat to low and continue to stir until the mixture forms a thin film on the bottom of the pan, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat.

Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer and beat with the paddle attachment on medium speed until the mixture cools. With the mixer running, beat in the 5 whole eggs, one at a time, until fully incorporated.

Transfer the dough to a large piping bag fitted with a medium (½-inch) round tip. The bat-ter will make about 1½ dozen larger (2 inches wide by 1 inch high) round buns for the base and 1½ dozen smaller (1 inch wide by 1 inch high) round buns for the top. Pipe the buns out on parchment-lined baking sheets. You will need two baking sheets, one each for the large and small buns. Space the buns about 2 inches apart for the larger buns and 1½ inches apart for the smaller buns.

Thin the remaining egg white with a tablespoon of water to make an egg wash and very gently brush the wash over the buns. Bake one sheet at a time until the buns are puffed and lightly golden, about 10 minutes for the smaller buns and slightly longer for the larger. Re-duce the heat to 350 degrees and continue to bake until the buns have dried out and the insides are set, about 10 to 15 minutes. (Increase the heat back to 425 degrees and bake the second sheet in the same manner.) Cool the buns and set aside.

Raspberry Pastry Cream

2 cups milk

1 vanilla bean, split and seeds removed

4 egg yolks

½ cup sugar

¼ cup cornstarch

2/3 cup butter

¼ cup raspberry puree

In a medium saucepan, combine the milk with the vanilla seeds and pod and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat.

While the milk is heating, in a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar and corn-starch. When the milk has come to a simmer, whisk a small amount of milk in with the egg mixture to temper the eggs, then pour the egg mixture in the saucepan with the milk. Return the pan to medium heat and cook, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom of the pan, until the mixture has thickened to form a thick custard. Remove from heat and strain into a medium bowl.

Immediately stir in the butter and raspberry puree, then cool the mixture by placing the bowl over a larger bowl of ice water and stirring until the custard is chilled. This makes about 2½ cups pastry cream.

Cover the surface of the custard with plastic wrap and refrigerate until needed.

Fondant Icing

¼ cup water

1 tablespoon light corn syrup

3 cups powdered sugar, sifted

½ teaspoon almond extract

2 or 3 drops red food coloring (for pink icing)

In a bowl, combine the water and corn syrup. Place the powdered sugar in a large, heavy-bottom saucepan. Add the water and corn syrup mixture to the sugar and stir until well mixed. Place over low heat until melted (but don't allow the temperature to exceed 100 de-grees).

Remove from heat and stir in the almond extract and the food coloring. This makes 1¼ cups fondant. It should be warm when coating the choux buns.


Fit a large pastry bag with a small tip suitable for piping a filling. Fill the bag with the chilled pastry cream.

Pierce a small hole in the bottom of the choux buns and fill each of the buns with the pas-try cream until you can feel the weight of the cream inside. Set the filled buns aside.

Coat the tops of the buns by dipping them in warm fondant, shaking off the excess. Hold the buns upside down for a minute to give the fondant a chance to set, then gently invert and allow the fondant to dry. While the fondant is still a little tacky, assemble the religieuse by placing a smaller bun on top of a larger. Allow the fondant to dry completely.

Garnish with fresh raspberries.

Note: To make raspberry puree, combine 1 cup fresh raspberries with 2 tablespoons sugar in a small saucepan and cook just until the juices render. Mash the berries but do not strain.

Servings: About 1½ dozen

Approximate nutritional analysis per religieuse: 251 calories, 5 grams protein, 25 grams carbohydrates, no fiber, 15 grams fat (9 grams), 140 milligrams cholesterol, 8 grams sugar, 174 milligrams sodium.

What To Read Next
Get Local