blackberry ginger smoothie

blackberry ginger smoothie | theclevercarrot.com

Hibiscus flowers and blackberries inspire early mornings smoothies…

We recently visited Long Island’s North Fork, something we do every summer to pick berries at our favorite farm. I’ve previously mentioned that my kids are master berry pickers and this year proved to be no exception. It was cute to watch Dillon teach his younger brother the art of foraging. You can only pick the black ones, not the red ones… he would scream (kids have no volume control). But Jake listened without protest. Before I knew it, we had oodles of berries spilling out of our woven baskets.

My mind was brimming with recipes….

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winter berry smoothie

Winter Berry Smoothie | The Clever Carrot

My freezer needs a serious makeover.

I don’t know about you, but my freezer is jammed packed with stuff from a million years ago. Open at your own risk (bombs away!!)

During a recent excavation I stumbled upon a lost treasure; frozen summer berries.

Summer Berries | The Clever Carrot

Luckily for me, my kids love to pick berries. Every summer I take them to Patti’s Berries & Bunches and they clean the place out. We come home with bushels of juicy strawberries, blackberries, and raspberries. Whatever they don’t eat gets stashed away in the freezer and is usually forgotten about.

Until today…

Winter Berry Smoothie | The Clever Carrot

For this smoothie, I puréed handfuls of frozen berries with apple cider- that’s my secret ingredient. Apple cider sweetens the drink ever so slightly and is a nice compliment to the berries. I also left out the dairy.

I can’t even begin to tell you how energized I felt after drinking this. I was so revived and refreshed, that I proceeded to empty out the dishwasher, vacuum the stairs, and fold a mountain of laundry in record time. Then I re-organized my closet.

Summer Berries | The Clever Carrot

If your freezer looks anything like mine, I feel for you. It’s like the black hole. But who knows- maybe you’ll stumble upon a packet of frozen berries yourself. Sometimes all you need is a little smoothie to beat those winter blues.

winter berry smoothie
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 1 c. mixed berries, frozen
  • 1- 1¼ c. apple cider
  • Honey or agave syrup to taste
Instructions
  1. In a blender, combine the frozen berries and apple cider.
  2. Process until smooth, adding extra juice if it seems a little too thick.
  3. Add honey or agave syrup to sweeten if necessary.

blackberry nectarine tart

Blackberry Nectarine Tart

My little ones are master berry pickers.

We spent the day at Patti’s Berries & Bunches and they somehow managed to clean the place out. I have hundreds of juicy blackberries to use up. I’ve also been trying to master a flaky, all-butter pie crust so I decided to marry the two in a blackberry nectarine tart.

I’ve never been good at making pie crust. Why? I’m too impatient to follow directions. I bake like I cook- I throw in a little bit of this, a little bit of that, and hope it all works out. But it doesn’t. Baking is precise and you have to follow the recipe. Through trial and error (mostly error) I’ve finally come up with a pie crust recipe that works.

blackberry nectarine tart

I will spare you all of the technical details here, as I now realize that homemade pie crust deserves it’s own post. But I will say that this crust is incredibly tender, flaky and buttery. I could eat it by itself.

As for the fruit, the blackberries burst in the oven and their juices become thick and syrupy. The nectarines bathe happily in this syrup mixed with a layer of apricot jam smeared onto the base.

You can make this dough in advance, or assemble the whole tart and chill until ready to bake. Serve at room temperature or slightly warm with a dollop of vanilla ice cream.

* Pie crust inspired by ‘The Pie and Pastry Bible’ by, Rose Levy Beranbaum.

blackberry

blackberry nectarine tart
 
Author:
Serves: 6
Ingredients
Pastry:
  • 1½ c. all purpose flour
  • 8 tbsp. (1 stick) salted butter
  • ¼ c. blond cane sugar
  • ⅛ tsp. baking powder
  • 1½ tsp. cider vinegar
  • 1½-3 tbsp. ice water
Filling:
  • 2 ripe, but firm nectarines
  • 1 pint of fresh blackberries
  • 2 tsp. blond cane sugar
  • 2 tbsp. apricot jam
  • 1 tsp. cornstarch
  • 1 large zip loc bag
Instructions
  1. Pre heat your oven to 400 F. Adjust the oven rack to the lowest level and place a pizza stone or cookie sheet inside.
  2. Make the pastry: Divide your butter into 5 tbsp. and 3 tbsp. Cut into ¾ " cubes. Refrigerate the 5 tbsp. of butter and freeze the other 3 tbsp.
  3. In a food processor, blitz the flour, sugar and baking powder to combine. Add the chilled 5 tbsp. of butter and pulse 10-15 times until you have moist looking crumbs, and no large chunks of butter visible.
  4. Then add the frozen 3 tbsp. of butter and pulse 3 times. This time you want the butter in large pieces (see notes).
  5. Add the cider vinegar + 1½ tbsp. of ice water. Pulse 3-4 times. Unplug the food processor. Pinch the mixture between your fingers. If it sticks together, you're done. If not, add more water ½ tsp at a time until it comes together when pinched.
  6. At this point you will not have a ball of dough, just a lot of crumbs. This is what you want. Tip the mixture into a large zip loc bag and seal it. Using your hands, knead the dough until it comes together. Flatten into a disk and chill for 30 minutes.
  7. Make the filling: Holding the nectarine upright, slice off the sides. The reddish area closest to the pit tends to be bitter, so you want to avoid this. You should be able to get 4 sides from each nectarine. Then thinly slice them and add to a large bowl.
  8. Toss in 8-10 blackberries depending on size. Sprinkle in the sugar and cornstarch and give it a mix. Set aside.
  9. Remove your pastry from the zip loc bag and place it between 2 sheets of parchment paper. This will make rolling the dough very easy.
  10. Roll your dough into a 12" circle. Use a ruler or dinner plate to help guide you. Don't worry if it's not a perfect circle. Cut off any scraggly bits of dough to get an even circle. Chill for 10 minutes.
  11. Spread the apricot jam in the center leaving a 2" border. Pile in your fruit. Gently fold over the edges, turning the dough as you go (it's still on the parchment paper so you're really just turning the paper). Slide the parchment onto your pre heated stone or cookie tray.
  12. Bake for 45-60 minutes, rotating half way through cooking time. If the top is browning faster then the bottom, cover loosely with foil.
  13. When finished, remove from the oven to cool. Scatter with some extra blackberries over the top.
  14. Serve at room temperature or slightly warm with a dollop of vanilla ice cream.
Notes
*Butter left in large chunks creates a flaky crust. *Dough can be chilled for 3-5 days, or frozen up to 3 months.