Summer Foraging Recipe: Elderberry-Blueberry Jam with Chia Seeds

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In the woodland valleys of Central California, Elderflower trees have been in bloom all spring with their prolific, lacy white blossoms.  I've enjoyed making Elderflower syrup, candied elderflowers and sweet Elderflower Tempura.  A few days ago, I noticed that some of the trees are starting to bear fruit -- diminutive, tart little berries, deep purplish-blue growing in heavy clusters.  

Inspired by a love of biscuits and jam, foraging, and adapted from a recipe from Simply Beyond Herbs, I whipped up a simple and delicious jam made from the foraged Elderberries, fresh blueberries and using chia seeds for a perfect jammy consistency.

Enjoy and Happy Foraging!
PrintWith ImageWithout Image Elderberry-Blueberry Chia JamYield: One half-pint jarAuthor: Jenn Erickson Prep time: 10 MCook time: 10 MTotal time: 20 M An easy and delicious sweet-tart jam to make from foraged Elderberries. Ingredients:1 1/2 cups elderberries, rinsedPinch of salt1 cup blueberries, rinsed2 Tablespoons Chia Seeds1/2 Tabl…

Perfect Pumpkin Hand Pies ~ The Homesick Texan's Pumpkin Empanadas


While the first official day of fall isn't until September 23, it sure feels like autumn has arrived here.  The air is crisp; skies are grey, and I can't seem to shake off the urge to sit in front of the fire with a good book and a mug of warm cider.


So with the season of pumpkins and spice just around the corner, it is no surprise that I was drawn to the recipe for Pumpkin Empanadas during this, Week 3, of The Homesick Texan Cookbook Challenge & Cook-off.


These addictive little pumpkin hand pies start with a perfect cream cheese pie dough that rolls like a dream. The tender and flaky crust is filled with mixture of pumpkin and pecans that conjures memories of the best pumpkin pies.

Imagine packing these tidy little treats for your fall picnic or tailgate. They'd tuck nicely in to a school lunch, although if your family is anything like mine, they won't last that long.


Pumpkin Hand Pies
adapted from the Pumpkin Empanada recipe from The Homesick Texan Cookbook
makes about 3 dozen

For the crust
16 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
2 sticks (16 TB) butter, room temperature
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt

For the filling
1 15-oz. can of pumpkin puree
1 1/2 TB heavy cream
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

For the topping
1 large egg
2 TB whole milk
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 TB granulated sugar

1.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter and cream cheese until smooth.  Stir in flour and salt, on low speed, until a smooth dough is formed.  Shape dough in to a ball, flatten to 1", then wrap in plastic.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

2.  Meanwhile, prepare the filling by combining all ten of the filling ingredients.

3.  Preheat oven to 375 and lightly grease a baking sheet.

4.  Remove dough from refrigerator and roll it out on a floured surface to 1/8" thick.  Cut in to 3.5" - 4" rounds.  Gather up the scraps, form into a ball, then refrigerate.

5.  Place a teaspoon of the filling in the center of each dough circle and carefully fold the dough to the other side so it forms a half moon shape.  Crimp edges with your thumb and forefinger, or with a fork to seal.

6.  Prepare the topping by whisking together the egg and milk.  Brush the egg mixture on top of the pies.  Mix together the cinnamon and sugar and sprinkle on top of the pies.

7.  Bake for 20-25 minutes, until tops are browned.

8.  Remove remaining dough from refrigerator, roll and repeat until you've used all the dough.

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