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Alabama Recipes: Berry tasty

Don’t let summer go by without eating your fill of the season’s greatest gifts.

By Jennifer Kornegay | Food prepared and photographed by Brooke Echols

Alabama summers give us some intense, stifling heat, but balance the discomfort by also providing a few of Mother Nature’s sweetest treats: berries. Strawberries come first, actually in spring, when temps are usually still pleasant. June brings us bushes hanging heavy with frosted indigo blueberries. And by July, when the humidity hits close to 100 percent, the mercury rises to the tippy-top of weather thermometers, and we’re all cursing the swelter and begging for fall, summer makes a powerful peace offering. Its unrelenting warmth and strong sunlight ripen clusters of small red bumps into blackberries, the deeply hued yet delicately flavored fruits that always earn the season forgiveness in my book. While all berries make a delicious snack straight off the stem, bush or vine, they’re equally enjoyable when they lend their tastes to both sweet and savory dishes. Try some of this month’s reader-submitted recipes and see for yourself.


Cook of the Month

Angela Bradley,
Clarke-Washington EMC

Angela Bradley’s grandmother was an efficient woman. She figured out how to have her cake and her cobbler and still have plenty of energy left to eat them too! After whipping up different desserts for years, she decided to save some time and combine some of her family’s favorite flavors. The result was Red Velvet Berry Cobbler. “She always made red velvet cake, that was kind of her signature dish, but my daddy and I loved her berry cobblers,” Angela said. “One day, she decided to put them together.” She played around with her recipe until she got it just right, and that final variation is the one that Angela has used ever since. “It is really delicious and so convenient since it marries the richness of red velvet with the tartness of berries. Add some ice cream, and you’re set!”

Red Velvet Berry Cobbler

  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1¼ cup sugar, divided
  • 6 cups assorted berries
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons red food coloring
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1½ tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • 1½ teaspoons white vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1¼ cups all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Stir cornstarch and ½ cup sugar together. Add assorted berries in this mixture and place in a lightly greased 11×7-inch baking dish. Beat butter with a mixer until fluffy, add ¾ cup sugar, beating well. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each until well blended. Stir in food coloring and vanilla. Combine flour, cocoa powder and salt. Mix buttermilk, vinegar and baking soda in a cup; mixture will bubble. Add flour mixture to butter mixture alternately with buttermilk mixture. Begin and end with flour mixture. Beat on low speed until blended. Spoon batter over berries. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.


Homemade Blackberry Lemonade

  • 1½ cups sugar (I used half sugar, half stevia)
  • 7 cups water, divided
  • 1 cup blackberries
  • 1½ cups lemon juice, plus 2 tablespoons

In a medium sauce pan, combine 2 cups water and sugar and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Remove from stove and allow to cool down. Using a blender or food processor, puree 1 cup blackberries and 2 tablespoons lemon juice. In a large pitcher, combine water and sugar mixture and remaining 1 1/2 cups lemon juice. Using a fine mesh strainer, pour blackberry puree into strainer and stir contents into pitcher. Add remaining 5 cups water and stir. Serve with ice and fresh lemons and berries if desired.

Laura Tucker, South Alabama EC


Blue-Cassis Cake

  • ½ cup butter
  • 1 cup Crisco shortening
  • 2½ cups sugar
  • 3½ cups cake flour
  • 10 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups blueberries, local or in store

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray, grease and flour a bundt cake pan. Lightly dust berries with flour. Cream together butter, shortening, sugar and eggs. Gradually add dry ingredients and vanilla. Pour about 1-inch batter first in the pan, then alternate berries and batter. Bake approximately one hour. Test with long toothpick. Cool in pan.

Cassis Glaze:

  • ½ cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • ½ cup crème de Cassis liqueur (found in state liquor stores)

Mix all ingredients and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat, simmer for 10 minutes. Cool 3 minutes, pour 1/3 over cake in the pan and let stand for 1 hour. Remove from pan and cover. The next day, reheat glaze and brush or pour over top.

Terri Conwell, Baldwin EMC


Scrumptious Blueberry Shortcake

  • 4 cups blueberries
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons chilled butter, cut into pieces
  • 3/4 cup 2% milk
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine first 3 ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook 3 minutes, until berries begin to pop, stirring frequently. Set aside. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups. Place flour, baking powder, and salt in a food processor; pulse 3 times to combine. Add butter to processor; pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. Place mixture in a large bowl; add milk, stirring until moist. Turn mixture out onto a lightly floured surface. Press mixture into a circle; cut into 8 wedges. Place wedges 1-inch apart on a baking sheet. Combine egg white and 1 tablespoon water in a small bowl. Lightly brush tops of wedges with egg white mixture; sprinkle evenly with sugar. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack. Pour whipping cream in a medium bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until soft peaks form. Add powdered sugar, beating until stiff peaks form. Split shortcakes horizontally; spoon 1/3 cup berry mixture over each bottom half. Top each with 1 1/2 tablespoons whipped cream; cover with shortcake tops.

Robin O’Sullivan, Wiregrass EC


Strawberry Cheesecake Lush

  • 1 package Golden Double Stuff Oreo Cookies
  • 6 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1, 8-ounce block cream cheese, softened
  • 1, 16-ounce container whipped topping
  • 1, 8-ounce container whipped topping
  • 2, 3.4-ounce packages instant cheesecake pudding mix
  • 3 cups cold milk
  • 4 cups fresh sliced strawberries (I use two 16-ounce containers)

Crush cookies, add melted butter and press in 9×13-inch pan. Refrigerate while preparing remaining layers. Beat powdered sugar, cream cheese and 1 cup of whipped topping with a mixer and spread over cookie layer. Mix pudding and 3 cups of milk, add 1 cup of whipped topping to pudding mixture and spread over previous layer. Slice strawberries and spread on top of layers. Cover with remaining whipped topping. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Carol England, Joe Wheeler EMC


Blackberry and Peach Cobbler

  • 8 ounces melted butter, plus 4 tablespoons
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour             
  • 2 cups sugar                              
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder                       
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt                                     
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups sliced peaches
  • 1 cup blackberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a 9-inch cast iron skillet, melt four tablespoons butter. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt and whisk together. Add the eggs, vanilla extract and remaining 8 ounces melted butter. Mix with rubber spatula until all ingredients are combined. Pour the batter into the skillet and top with the fruit. The fruit will be heaping and that is fine. Bake for 45 minutes to one hour, until the batter is completely cooked and has a cake-like consistency. The cobbler can be served warm or at room temperature with whipped cream or ice cream, if desired.

Bonnie Daugherty McGee, Clarke-Washington EMC


Blueberry Pizza

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 cup pecans, chopped
  • 3/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1, 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cups sifted powdered sugar
  • 1, 8-ounce container whipped cream
  • 4 cups blueberries
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 4 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 4 tablespoons water

Combine first three ingredients, add butter and stir until well blended to make crust. Press crust mixture into a 12-inch pizza pan. Bake at 375 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool crust in pan on a wire rack before beginning the rest of the recipe. Beat cream cheese at medium speed until creamy. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating until smooth; fold in whipped cream. Spread over cooled crust. Whisk together cornstarch and water in a small bowl and set aside. Mash clean blueberries in a medium sauce pan; stir in 1 1/3 cup sugar. Bring to a boil over medium heat; boil two minutes. Stir cornstarch mixture into hot blueberry mixture. Return to a boil, stirring constantly; boil one minute. Cool. Spread over cream cheese mixture. Refrigerate.

Rená Smith, Tallapoosa River EC


Coming up in July… Tomatoes!

Recipe Themes and Deadlines:

August: Summer Salads, June 8

September: Cheese, please!, July 8

October: Pies, August 8

Editor’s Note: Alabama Living’s recipes are submitted by our readers. They are not kitchen-tested by a professional cook or registered dietician. If you have special dietary needs, please check with your doctor or nutritionist before preparing any recipe.