Summer Foraging Recipe: Elderberry-Blueberry Jam with Chia Seeds

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…

A New Holiday Recipe Favorite: Cranberry Apple Slab Pie

I am so excited to share this recipe!
It's Visions of Sugarplums,
Mom's Apple Pie
and a Norman Rockwell holiday
all rolled into one perfect pastry.

I developed this recipe for Cranberry Apple Slab Pie for my advanced culinary arts class because, well, we had some leftover fresh cranberries in the fridge and the students were craving something sweet.

Although I love baking, I'm not really a "sweets person" (not to be confused with "sweet person".  I hope those that know me find me sufficiently sweet).  What I mean is that I can pass right on by most pies, ice creams and pastries.  This little beauty, however, stopped me dead in my tracks.  The buttery puff pastry and cream cheese filling balance out the sweetness of fruit filling.  With every bite, you experience sweet, tart, creamy, buttery, and flaky.  Serve with vanilla bean ice cream for ultimate bliss.

Cranberry Apple Slab Pie

(Makes 2 pies, 6-8 servings per pie)

  • 2 large Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1/3" slices, then cut in half.
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries, washed and dried
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 Tablespoons sour cream
  • 2 Tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 2 sheets frozen puff pastry
  • 1 large egg, beaten for egg wash
  • Raw sugar for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 400°F.  Line a baking sheet (1/2 sheet) with parchment paper.

Step 1:  In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat.  Add sliced apples and cranberries.  Cook, stirring occasionally until apples are soft (approx. 5 minutes).  Reduce heat to medium-low and stir in sugars, flour and cinnamon.  Continue to simmer, stirring occasionally for an additional 3 minutes.

Step 2:  With an electric mixer (or in a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment), beat together cream cheese, sour cream and powdered sugar until smooth.  Set aside.

Step 3:  Lightly dust a clean work surface with flour.  Roll puff pastry with a rolling pin, just slightly to smooth out the creases.  Cut in half so that you have identical left and right sides (pictured below).  Repeat with second sheet of puff pastry.

Step 4:  Place two pieces of puff pastry on the prepared baking sheet.  Dock with a fork (as pictured above).  Divide the cream cheese filling between the two pastry sheets and spread down the middle of each, leaving a 1" border (as pictured below).  Divide the fruit filling between the two pastry sheets and spread on top of cream cheese, maintaining the 1" border.  Using a pastry brush, brush egg wash around the border.

Step 5:  On the remaining two sheets of pastry, brush a 1" border of egg wash on each.  Then, top the filled pastry with one of the remaining sheets, egg wash side down, so that the egg-washed borders meet.  Use the tines of a fork to gently crimp the edges of the two sheets together, taking care not to press all the way through.  Repeat with the second pie.  

Step 6:  Brush each pie with remaining egg wash, then sprinkle with raw sugar.  Using a very sharp knife, cut 6-7 slits in the top of each pie (as pictured below).

Step 7:  Bake at 400°F for 18-20 minutes, or until puffed and golden brown.  Cool pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes.  Serve slices warm with vanilla bean ice cream.  It also makes a delicious cold breakfast pastry.



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