Aunt Mildred’s Fresh Berry Pie

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Fresh berry pie … now that spells summertime no matter what part of the country you live in.  Just about everywhere you can get fresh berries at this time of the year.  While the grocery stores all have some type of berries I suggest that if you have a farmers market where you live that is the best place to look for the freshest berries.  Strawberries have been wonderful this year and shortly we should be seeing some blueberries and fresh blackberries at the farmers market.

This pie recipe works for most types of berries or peaches.  In a pinch I start with a box of Pillsbury Pie Crust.  It really is good, fast, and easy.  I still have some peaches in the freezer from last season and I am going to thaw 1 cup of those and use for the mashed fruit.  I have found that I can use this peach mash over fresh strawberries, blueberries, blackberries or peaches.   This recipe is another hand-me-down from our neighbors Gaye and David.  The recipe originally came from David’s Aunt Mildred — and I thank both of them for sharing!


I was going to post a picture of the fresh berry pie, but I have this beautiful picture of David and Gaye when they were in our home at Christmas.  They are lovely people, inside and out. (The berry pie picture is posted on my home page)

Aunt Mildred’s Berry Pie Recipe

This recipe works for many types of berries and fruits such as: strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, or peaches.

  • 1 cup fresh berries or fruit, mashed
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons corn starch
  • Enough fresh sliced berries or fruit to fill pie shell (about 2 or 3 cups)

1. Bake piecrust and cool.

2. Fill pie crust level with clean ripe berries or sliced fruit.

3. Mix 3 Tablespoons corn starch in a bowl with 1/4 cup of cold water.

4. In a pot mix 1 cup of fresh berries/fruit with 1/4 cup of water and 1 cup of sugar.

5. Mash the pot of berries/fruit while bringing contents to a boil.

6. Boil for 5 minutes at a rumble (full rolling boil) stirring constantly.

7. Dump corn starch mixture from step 3 into pot of boiling berries/fruit all at once and stir until thickened (about 2 minutes).

8. Pour hot berry/fruit mixture over berries/fruit in baked piecrust.

9. Allow to cool/refrigerate for a few hours then enjoy.  Serve with a dollop of whipped cream!

Notes:

1. You can vary the amount of sugar depending on the sweetness of the fruit and to taste.

2. Sliced strawberries in the pie crust will give off juice and cause the pie not to set up so do not cut the strawberries into small pieces only in half.

3. You may want to stir the raw fruit from the piecrust into the pot of hot fruit right before dumping into the piecrust to fully coat the raw fruit and soften any unripe fruit. –  This is my preferred way because all the fruit gets coated.

4.  You may use 1 cup frozen fruit to make the mash. Just thaw and follow the recipe.

One of David’s favorite Bible verses:

Hebrews 13:6

“So that we may boldly say, ‘The Lord is my helper, and I

will not fear what man shall do unto me.’”

Sweet Potato Casserole

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I have made sweet potato casserole for about 10 years. My southern husband’s aunt gave me her “never fail” recipe and I began tweaking it here and there to make it my own.  Unfortunately what happened is that I never made it the same way twice – and that isn’t always a good thing 🙂

Recently, my friend Sue shared a Sweet Potato Casserole recipe with me from Cook’s Illustrated.  It is the best I have ever made!  I have stopped “tweaking” it and will follow this one – with one exception.  The recipe calls for nutmeg, and my sweet husband just doesn’t care for the spice, so I try and leave it out when I can.

This takes a little effort – but every bite will be worth it.  Not to mention the kudos from family and friends!  Be sure and take time to bake fresh potatoes rather than using canned.  The result of the roasted potatoes is unmatched.   And – you won’t miss the marshmallows – I promise!


Bon Appétit’!

Sweet Potato Casserole  Serves 10 to 12

7 pounds (6 to 8 medium) sweet potatoes

Streusel Topping

  • 5 tablespoons unsalted cutter, cut into 5 pieces and softened
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar (dark or light)
  • ¼ teaspoon table salt
  • 1 cup pecans

Filling

  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 teaspoons table salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 4 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1 ½ cups half-and-half
  • For the sweet potatoes: Adjust oven rack to lower middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Poke sweet potatoes several times with paring knife and space evenly on rimmed baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Bake potatoes, turning them once, until they are very tender and can be squeezed easily with tongs, usually about 1 to 1 ½ hours.   Remove potatoes from oven and cut in half lengthwise to let steam escape; cool at least 10 minutes.  Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees.
  • For the streusel: While potatoes are baking, butter a 9” x 13” baking dish. Pulse flour, brown sugar, and salt in a food processor until blended, about four 1-second pulses. Sprinkle butter pieces over flour mixture and pulse until crumbly mass forms, six to eight 1-second pulses. Sprinkle nuts over mixture and pulse until combine but some large nut pieces remain, four to six 1-second pulses.  Transfer streusel to medium size bowl and return empty work bowl to processor.
  • Once potatoes have cooled slightly, use spoon to scoop flesh into large bowl; you should have about 8 cups. Transfer potato flesh to food processor. (A Kitchen Aid mixer or hand mixer will work as well.)
  • For the filling: Add melted butter, salt, pepper, vanilla and lemon juice to potatoes in the food processor and process until smooth about 20 seconds.  It is okay to process a little less and leave some chunks.  Adds some character to your casserole!  Taste for sweetness: because natural sugar levels in sweet potatoes vary greatly depending on variety, size, and season, it’s important to taste the filling before adding sugar.  If the filling is bland, add up to 4 tablespoons sugar; if the potatoes are naturally sweet, you may opt to omit the sugar altogether. ( I don’t ever add sugar, we prefer the taste of the potato without any added sugar) With processor running, add egg yolks and pour half-and-half through feed tube and process until blended, about 20 seconds.
  • To assemble and bake casserole:  Pour filling into prepared baking dish and spread into an even layer with a spatula. Sprinkle with streusel, breaking up any large pieces with your fingers.  Bake until topping is well browned and filling is slightly puffy around the edges, 45 to 50 minutes.  Cool at least 10 minutes before serving.

My Notes:

  • To serve 4 to 6 people, halve all ingredients and bake the casserole in an 8- inch square baking dish for 35 to 40 minutes.
  • If you can find them, Beauregard, Garnet, or Jewel sweet potatoes have the best texture for this recipe
  • The potatoes can be baked up to 2 days ahead. Scrape flesh from the skins and refrigerate in an airtight container.
  • Sweet potatoes are great with turkey or chicken, but really just delicious with ham!

Romans is one of my favorite books of the Bible and contains many life verses for me.  Romans 8 is a chapter I read often.  I encourage you to click on this link and you can read this verse or many more!

Romans 8:31-32   “If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all – how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?”

Mom’s BBQ Ham Balls

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Today I was thinking back about recipes that have been a “must learn how to make” in our family.  BBQ Ham Balls is such a recipe.  I think as kids we always thought is was Swedish ham balls, but somewhere along the way mom corrected that notion and said the original recipe was called BBQ Ham Balls.

When I was growing up, this was our “holiday” meal.  Mom added scalloped potatoes, Jell-O salad and vegetables to the meal.  When my brothers left home and got married, I remember both of them asking for this recipe. To this day, it is a family favorite in all of our homes!

Mom’s Barbecued Ham Balls


1 lb. ground ham

1 ½ lb. ground pork

1 cup cracker crumbs

2 eggs beaten

1 cup milk

Mix above ingredients and make into small meatballs, about the size of a golf ball.  Place side by side in baking dish.

Sauce:

3/4 cup brown sugar

½ cup water

½ cup vinegar

1 tablespoon dry mustard

Bring sauce ingredients to a boil.  Pour over ham balls in a shallow pan.  Bake at 325 degrees uncovered for 2 hours.  Over-baking dries liquid up fast.

Meatballs can be made up and frozen. When ready to use – just make the sauce and pop it all in the oven!

Deuteronomy 29:29  “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever.”

Cauliflower really doesn’t have to be dull …

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This little recipe is a wonderful way to take rather plain cauliflower and give it a summer dress of color and flavor!  It is fast, easy and fun!  I have made it without the onion and it is good either way.  So, if you have a family member who just won’t eat onion, leave it out.  Otherwise give it a try as is – it will be a keeper in your recipe box!

TANGY CAULIFLOWER – MICROWAVE

One head cauliflower


2 tbsp. water

Topping:

1/2 c. mayonnaise or salad dressing

1 tsp. finely chopped onion

1 tsp. prepared mustard

1/2 c. shredded cheddar cheese

  • Leave cauliflower whole.
  • Remove leaves and core center.
  • Place in round glass pie plate. Add water and cover with wax paper. Microwave on high power 8 to 10 minutes.
  • Combine mayonnaise, onion and mustard. Spoon over top of cauliflower and sprinkle with cheese.
  • Microwave on medium high power 1 to 2 minutes to melt cheese.
  • Let stand 2 to 3 minutes. Cut into wedges and serve.

1 Peter 5:5

All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

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