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Berry good time of year to live in Oregon

At last week’s farmers’ market in Corvallis, the berries were bountiful. From gigantic loganberries and big fat blueberries to elegant raspberries and marionberries.

I found myself going from booth to booth at the market seeing just how many varieties there were, plotting my approach to take advantage of their abundance. Out of the corner of my eye I spotted chef Brian Parks lugging an armload of fresh greens, presumably back to Bellhop, the new restaurant he and co-chef/business partner Ian Hutchings opened a couple weeks ago (bellhopcorvallis.com) on Madison Avenue, between First and Second streets. I asked if I could tag along if I promised I wouldn’t interrupt their lunch prep.

Well, not only did I interrupt meal preparations, I almost got away with one of the gorgeous three-berry pies Parks had just finished filling. These beauties were sitting on the back counter, awaiting the final glistening touch — a Lemon Pelligrino glaze! Below the mountain of fresh and juicy fruit, explained Parks, was a cream cheese-styled filling.

That pie was so inspirational I thought you all would love to have a few similar recipes to celebrate our incredible berry bounty before it goes away for another year.

Triple Berry Pie with Cream Cheese Filling

Crust:

1½ cups all-purpose flour

¼ teaspoon salt

4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces

¼ cup well-chilled vegetable shortening

¼ cup ice water (you won’t need all of it!)

Filling:

6 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

¾ cup confectioners sugar

¼ teaspoon lemon zest

1½ cups heavy cream

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups marionberries (or boysenberries, blackberries, or hulled and quartered strawberries)

1 cup raspberries

1 cup blueberries

Prepare the crust: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a bowl, combine flour and salt. With a pastry blender or two knives, cut in the butter and shortening until crumbly. Add 3 tablespoons of the ice water and mix with a fork just until dough forms a ball (you may need to add a splash more water). Form the dough into a disk, then wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes. On a floured surface, roll out into an 11-inch round. Fit the pastry into a 9-inch pie pan and crimp the edge. Refrigerate for 10 minutes.

Line the crust with foil and fill with pie weights (or rice or dried beans). Bake for 6 minutes, then remove the foil (and the weights) and bake until lightly golden, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from oven and cool.

Meanwhile, prepare the filling: Using a mixer (hand-held or stand mixer), beat the cream cheese with the sugar and lemon zest on high speed until light and fluffy. Reduce the speed and blend in the cream and vanilla, scraping down sides of the bowl. Continue beating until well blended and fluffy.

In a separate bowl, gently mix the berries. Spoon two-thirds of the cream cheese mixture into the crust, spreading it out to be smooth and even. Spoon two-thirds of the berries over the cream cheese mixture. Mound the remaining cream cheese mixture into the center and then top with remaining berries. Chill up to 4 hours.

Three Berry Oven Preserves

Makes about 5 cups.

This is a recipe I developed after a morning at the farmers’ market a few years ago. It’s very simple to make and produces a very soft-style preserve, which works equally well as a topping for ice cream or even creme brule or custard. If you don’t feel like processing the jars in a boiling water canner, simply ladle the jam into appropriate sized containers and refrigerate or freeze.

2 heaping cups raspberries

2 heaping cups marionberries

2 cups blueberries

2¼ cups turbinado sugar (see note; I use “Sugar In The Raw” brand)

2 cups granulated sugar

1/3 cup fresh lemon juice

In a large bowl, combine the freshly rinsed and drained raspberries, marionberries and blueberries. Add the turbinado sugar, granulated sugar and lemon juice. With very large spoons or rubber spatula, gently toss the berries with the sugar to evenly distribute the sugar. Before the juices begin to run, divide the berry/sugar mixture between two 9x13-inch glass baking dishes. Bake in preheated 450-degree oven for 15 minutes, stirring halfway through when the mixture begins to bubble and foam around the edges. Reduce the temperature to 350, stir the fruit again and continue baking for 20 minutes.

Remove the baking dishes from the oven and let stand until they have cooled slightly and the fruit has stopped bubbling. Carefully scrape both dishes of jam into a bowl. Once in the bowl, it is easier to ladle the preserves into individual containers for storage in the refrigerator or freezer.

For long-term storage at room temperature: have 5 half-pint canning jars washed and ready for filling when the jam is through baking. After the jam has been poured into a bowl, but while it is still hot, ladle into clean and hot canning jars, leaving ¼-inch head space. Wipe jar rim with a clean damp cloth. Attach lid. Fill and close remaining jars. Process in a boiling-water canner for 10 minutes (at 1,000 to 3,000 feet, process for 15 minutes; 3,000 to 6,000 feet, for 20 minutes; above 6,000 feet, for 25 minutes).

NOTE ON TURBINADO SUGAR: This is a less processed sugar than white granulated sugar. The crystals are larger and crunchy, unlike brown sugar, which is soft and smooshy. The brand most people are aware of is “Sugar In The Raw,” which many folks like to use in coffee and tea. You’ll find turbinado sugar in the sugar section of most well stocked supermarkets.

Fresh-Frozen Oregon Berry Puree

Equally delicious over ice cream and under cheese cake. Use fruit that is ripe and colorful for its variety. Do not use overripe or moldy fruit. Two pounds raspberries or blackberries will yield approximately 3 scant cups of seedless puree.

Gently wash fruit in colander; drain well, then place in a large, heavy pot. Crush the berries with a potato masher. Heat to a boil to soften the pulp, stirring often to prevent scorching, then remove from heat. Work the berry pulp through a sieve or food mill into a large bowl. Discard the seeds.

Sweeten to taste (if desired) with granulated sugar, and add 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice per 3 cups of puree (this is both a flavor and color enhancer).

To freeze, choose from the following options:

  • Pack into freezer containers, leaving ¾-inch head space for pints and 1½ inches for quarts.
  • Spoon the puree into ice cube trays and freeze. Once frozen, release the cubes from their trays, pack into recloseable freezer bags and store in freezer. Remove the cubes as needed and return the rest to the freezer.

 When ready to use, simply thaw

Berries Romanoff

Serves 4

2 cups marionberries or other caneberry, such as blackberries, Loganberries or raspberries

Sugar to taste

2 cups vanilla ice cream, softened

1/3 cup orange-flavored liquor (such as Grand Marnier, Harlequin or Cointreau)

1 cup heavy cream, whipped

Whole berries for garnish

Gently smash the berries with a potato masher or back of spoon, leaving about one-third of the berries whole. Sprinkle with granulated sugar to taste. Place the ice cream in a large bowl; stir to soften and smooth out the ice cream. Reserve one cup of the berries and stir the rest into the softened ice cream, along with the liqueur. Gently fold in the whipped cream. Quickly divide the reserved cup of berries among 4 dessert glasses (clear glass is the most elegant because you will be able to see the layers). Spoon the cream mixture into the glasses. Top each serving with one or more whole berries and serve.

Cherry-Berry Clafoutis

Clafoutis is a simple dessert; a rustic pudding-like offering that originated in France.

4 tablespoons butter

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 large eggs

1 cup half & half

¾ cup granulated sugar

½ cup flour

2 tablespoons dry sherry, or brandy or orange juice

¼ teaspoon salt

1 pint of pitted sweet cherries (such as Bing, Van, Lambert or Rainier)

1 pint of fresh berries (such as raspberries, marionberries or blueberries)

2 tablespoons brown sugar

Vanilla ice cream (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350. Lightly grease an 8-inch round or square cake pan. Melt the butter over medium heat and gently cook until it turns golden brown. Remove from heat and whisk in the vanilla. Let cool.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, granulated sugar, flour, sherry (or brandy or orange juice), salt and cooled butter. Layer the cherries and berries in the pan. Sprinkle and lightly toss them with the brown sugar. Pour the prepared batter over the fruit and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until puffed and lightly browned. Let cool slightly. Serve warm, with vanilla ice cream, if desired.

— Recipe from “Wildwood, Cooking from the Source in the Pacific Northwest,” by Cory Schreiber

Jan Roberts-Dominguez is a Corvallis food writer, artist, and author of “Oregon Hazelnut Country, the Food, the Drink, the Spirit,” and four other cookbooks. Readers can contact her by email at janrd@proaxis.com, or obtain additional recipes and food tips on her blog at www.janrd.com