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…

Creative Cake DIY: Beach Bucket Cake with Edible "Sand"
(and a Lemon Cake Oyster & Pearl on Top)


The beach bucket cake is my favorite cake to make at this time of year.  It's always a big hit at the cake walk at my daughters' school carnival.  Last year, I shared my easy step-by-step tutorial for putting together your own beach bucket cake and my recipe for real-looking edible "sand".  


Earlier this spring, I was contacted by Donsuemor, a gourmet bakery based right here in my home state, specializing in traditional French Madeleine cakes (that are sold online).  They had spotted my tutorial for making "Pearl & Oyster Cakes" out of Madeleines and wondered if I'd like to give their cakes a try.  


They sent me a variety-box of their gourmet Madeleines which included traditional, chocolate, chocolate dipped, and lemon zest (The box was complimentary.  I have received no monetary compensation for my review).  The Madeleines were some of the finest I've tasted, but my family's favorite was the lemon zest.  The lemon adds a little extra sunshine to the perfectly buttery and moist cakes.  Moreover, they come in a lovely rounded scallop shape, which is absolutely perfect for making Pearl & Oyster Cakes.


For this year's cake walk donation, I chose a blue bucket from Michael's that I picked up for only a dollar.  Since the carnival is an end-of-the-school-year event, I went with a summer flavor -- S'mores!

 

My S'mores Beach Bucket Cake consisted of layers of devils food cake, marshmallow icing, and graham cracker crumbs.  The marshmallow icing (a.k.a. 7-minute icing) is a great option for cakes that will be sitting out for long periods of time.  HERE is the recipe that I used.


Last year's bucket was filled with a traditional Carrot Cake.  What I love most about beach bucket cakes is that you can fill them with anything you like.  You don't have to be a professional cake artist or baker to have a showcase cake that tastes delicious.  You can layer the bucket with cake rounds, pieces, or even cupcakes. You're only limited to your imagination. 


I always top my bucket cakes with my special recipe for "edible sand".  The different shades and textures of the ingredients make for a very convincing effect.  And because graham cracker crumbs can get a bit soft when left out, the sugars add back the crunch.  For a final touch of fun and whimsy, I usually add a few chocolate seashells and a paper flag.  But this year, those Donsuemor Lemon Zest Madeleines were my inspiration.  Here's how I made the Pearl & Oyster mini cake.  Imagine a whole bed of these sweet shells on top of cupcakes or a tray of edible sand for a beach themed party or shower!

How to make:
Pearl & Oyster Madeleine Cakes

  • Madeleines (2 per oyster)
  • White fondant
  • Royal icing (or the marshmallow icing mentioned above)
  • Optional items:
    • Super Pearl Luster Dust (to give the pearl an opalescent luster).  It can be purchased online and in cake specialty stores.
    • Candy eyes (Wilton candy eyes can be found in the cake decorating section of most craft & hobby stores)
    • Pink or white sanding sugar (for sugaring the edges of the shells)


Step 1:  Use a small serrated knife to cut away the protruding part on the inside of each "shell" to make a space for the pearl. 

Step 2:  Roll a small piece of fondant into a ball for the pearl.  Optional:  Use a soft bristled paint brush to brush on some Super Pearl luster dust.  


Step 3:  Use a small dab of icing to attach the pearl to the inside of one shell.  Optional:  Use a dab of icing to attach candy eyes.  To add a sugared edge to the top shell, dab outer edge with icing, then sprinkle with sanding sugar.

Step 4:  Dab a small amount of icing along the back seam of the bottom shell.  Set top shell in place.

I got a little carried away and made sea stars out of fondant too.
 Here's my formula for Edible "Sand"


  • Graham Crackers (5 full crackers), crushed to a fine meal
  • 2 Tablespoons raw sugar (grocery store)
  • 1 teaspoon black Sugar (Wilton)
  • 1 teaspoon white sanding sugar (Wilton)

Put ingredients in a bowl and mix.  That's it.  The different colors and textures of sugar mimic the look of the different types of rock, shell and glass that are found in real sand.

here's a little something extra... 

GIVEAWAY
Donsuemor has generously offered to give one lucky Rook No. 17 reader
a 16-pc variety pack of their gourmet Madeleine cakes.
Enter below.  Good luck!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

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