Posts Tagged ‘cobbler’

Clove Currants

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The native clove currant, Ribies odoratum, grows beautifully in my area. It is sturdy, healthy, drought-tolerant, will tolerate some shade, suffers from no bugs or diseases, and is reasonably attractive, especially in spring when covered with thousands of tiny yellow flowers that have a soft pleasant scent. I haven’t found them growing wild in my area but I have a bush that was planted by birds; they grow that easily, and start to bear within three years.  I have several large bushes and would have planted more if not for one major disadvantage: I thought the fruit tasted awful.  The fruits, like most berries, are relatively low-carb for fruits and probably contain a good set of antioxidants, but eating things prescriptively rather than for pleasure is just not my style.

But sometimes plants just have to hang around my yard until I learn to use them well. This year, after living with clove currants for five years, I finally figured out (duh) that the fruits are not ready to eat when they turn black. Don’t grab those first black shiny fruits. Leave them on the bush for another couple of weeks. Taste every few days, and when they taste sweet and spicy (still very tart but with a balance of acid and sweetness) they’re ripe. The fruits actually get a little smaller as they ripen, and some will look a bit wrinkled. Don’t worry. Don’t use any that are dry and shriveled, but a little loss of turgor just intensifies the flavor.

I enjoy eating a handful in the garden when I make my morning rounds, but my favorite use for them is in cobbler. If you are low-carb, use my recipe for red, white, and blue cobbler, using clove currants alone or adding in some frozen wild blueberries to make up the fruit volume if you don’t have enough clove currants. Work the sweeteners into the fruit with your fingers, crushing the fruits a bit as you go. If you eat sugar and flour, just use your own favorite cobbler recipe. Be sure to grate a little fresh nutmeg into the fruit mixture to bring out the spiciness.
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The fruit clings to the stems and often has a little wiry “tail” clinging to the blossom end which has to be removed, so harvesting them is a bit tedious. I wait until early evening and then sit comfortably under the bushes with a bowl, pulling off stems and tails as I go so that fruits that hit the bowl are ready to use. I eat a few along the way. The laborer is worthy of her hire, after all.

I’ve been thinking of other ways to use them, and I think that they might be good in sauces for meat and game. I can recall reading a British recipe for a blackberry sauce for venison, and along those lines I plan to try using clove currants for a sauce for roasted pork. But right now they are going into cobbler or disappearing straight down my greedy gullet.
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I also have a couple of bushes of Golden currant, also known as wax currant, but they are slower to bear and I haven’t had enough fruit to experiment with yet. More on that later.

 

Red, White, and Blue Cobbler

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The tart or pie cherry is a pretty yard tree all season, and gorgeous in full fruit, with the glowing colors of a Russian enamel. This year my pie cherry tree bore heavily for the first time, and after making a new supply of tart cherry liqueur (no sugar this time,) I made a few cherry cobblers.
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First, catch your cherries. They need to be the bright lacquer-red pie type, not the darker sweet cherries, which will turn a rather dreadful color if you try to cook them.
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Next, pit enough of them to make 1 1/2 cups of pitted cherries. This will serve 2 gluttons or four normal people. I have a pitting device from OXO that pits four at a time, but it’s still tedious work. Be certain to run your clean fingers through the pitted cherries several times to find any pits that you missed, so that no teeth are cracked later.
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If you eat sugar, it’s very simple from here on. Add a handful of wild blueberries or (from my yard) fully ripe clove currants or serviceberries  for the blue element, sweeten to taste, and make your favorite biscuit dough but sweeten it a little more than usual. Put the cherries and berries in a buttered 7 inch tart pan, top with artistic globs of the biscuit dough, and bake at 375 until the dough is done and browning attractively. If you eat low-carb it’s a little more complicated but not much. Sweeten the cherry mixture to taste with half erythritol and half Sweet Perfection oligofructose, working the sweeteners in with your fingers so that they don’t cake, and add a teaspoon of vanilla extract. Make the topping as follows:
1 1/2 cups almond flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup of Swerve sweetener confectioners type
1/3 cup Sweet Perfection oligofructose
1/4 cup butter, cold
2 egg yolks
Combine all the dry ingredients in a bowl and stir well with a fork. Work in the butter, cutting it in with the fork until the largest remaining butter pieces are the size of baby peas. Add the egg yolks, working them in with a fork until the mixture is fairly well amalgamated. Drop on top of the cherry mixture in the small buttered tart pan, pat it out just a bit with your fingertips (it will be sticky and messy,) and bake at 375 until the dough is cooked through and coloring. This dough doesn’t brown evenly as sugar-containing doughs do, and you have to watch carefully so that it doesn’t burn. Serve hot with low-carb
vanilla ice cream.
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Happy Independence Day!
The gorgeous image of a cherry branch second from the top was on a Google page and I can’t find an attribution for it. If anyone knows who the photographer is, please let me know so that I can give credit.