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Everything is Coming up Cherries at The Old Mill in February

George Washington’s birthday, the cherry tree, and National Cherry Month are good excuses to bake up an Old-Fashioned Cherry Crumble from The Old Mill. What’s a crumble? Sort of a crisp, except with bigger, crunchier, more crumbly pieces of oat and brown sugar topping. And underneath? Cherries and sugar cooked down to sweet, delicious goodness.

While fresh cherries aren’t in season in February, you can buy them canned or frozen to create this easy dessert. To kick up the fresh cherry flavor, add a quarter cup of dried cherries. It’s a winter pie-baking trick borrowed from the pages of early frontier cooking. Smoky Mountain cooks dried local apples slices and then used the fruit in baking throughout the year. Dried fruit, whether cherries, apples, or peaches, has a powerful flavor, and dried cherries add intensity to this recipe.

It’s the easiest pie on earth – no crust – just a crumbly, crunchy, heavenly mixture of brown sugar, butter, oats and cinnamon on top of the sweet-yet-tart cherries underneath. Serve warm in bowls with vanilla ice cream.

The Old Mill is so crazy about cherries, we are sampling Chocolate Moonshine Cherries the whole month of February at our Distillery. They’re a perfect Valentine’s Day gift! In the Farmhouse, Liz has been baking up fresh Cherry Handpies and we are sampling out a variety of cherry dips,  cherry cobbler in a jar, and even cherry Sweet Fire Pickles. In the Old Mill Restaurant, we’re offering our Chocolate Cherry Moonshine Preserves at breakfast, and at the Candy Kitchen, we’re making a white chocolate bark with, what else? Cherries!

Here is our recipe. And, we cannot tell a lie, this is so good!

Old-Fashioned Cherry Crumble

Makes 8 servings

Prep time: 20 minutes

Bake time: 38 to 42 minutes

Ingredients needed for pie:

4 cups pitted sour cherries (see Notes)

1/4 cup dried cherries, if desired (see Notes)

4 to 5 tablespoons granulated sugar

 

Crumble Topping:

3/4 cup The Old Mill Unbleached All-Purpose Flour

2 tablespoons The Old Mill Whole Wheat Flour

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold unsalted butter

1/2 cup The Old Mill Thick Table Rolled Oats

1/4 cup chopped pecans

Vanilla ice cream, for serving

Directions:

  1. Place a rack in the center of the oven, and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Set aside a 9-inch deep-dish pie pan. If you are using our Farmhouse Collection Pie Plate or Pottery Pie Plate, like we do, do not preheat your oven and add about 5 minutes to the baking time.
  2. Drain the cherries and place in a large bowl with dried cherries and sugar. Toss to combine, and set aside.
  3. For the topping, place the flours, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl and stir to combine. Or, place in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse to combine. Cut the butter into 1/2-inch size pieces and distribute over the top of the bowl. Cut the butter into the flour mixture with two knives or a pastry blender until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. (Or, if using a food processor, pulse until combined.) Stir in the oats and pecans. Work the mixture with your hands until it comes together into loose pieces. Set aside.
  4. Turn the cherries and any juice that might have seeped from them into the reserved pan. Cover the cherries with the topping, using your hands as needed to distribute it over the top. Place the pan in the oven.
  5. Bake until the crumble is golden brown and the filling is bubbling around the edges, 38 to 42 minutes. Remove to a rack to cool 20 minutes before serving warm in bowls with ice cream.

Notes: If fresh sour cherries are available, by all means, use them in this recipe. If you are baking this out of season, however, you can use canned or frozen, thawed cherries. Drain cherries well. The dried cherries add flavor, and they soften as the crumble bakes.

The Pottery House Cafe & Grille’s Warm Collard Green & Artichoke Dip with Fried Pork Rinds

February 4 isn’t just Super Bowl Sunday – it’s also National Pork Rind Appreciation Day, and here in the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains, we’ve created one easy, delectable snack that commemorates both. Cooked Southern greens, artichoke hearts, and flecks of sweet red pepper brighten up a warm, cheesy dip that pairs perfectly with the Pottery House Cafe & Grill’s salty-rich pork rinds seasoned with our own blend of barbecue seasonings. These pieces of dried pork skin, minus most of the fat, are deep-fried until they puff up and crackle like popcorn. The sound is amazing when they come out of the fryer and they are still crackin’ and poppin’ when they are served, on our handcrafted pottery, as an appetizer in the Cafe’. They’re addictive just as they are, and are perfect for serving with any dip where you might serve tortilla chips.

These pork rinds are sold online as well as at The Old Mill Farmhouse Kitchen and The Old Mill General Store adjoining the 200-year-old working grist mill on the Little Pigeon River, one of the most photographed mills in the country and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Today our flint-granite French Buhr stones crank out 1,000 pounds of meals, grits, and flours a day that are sold online and appear in many of our home-cooked specialties served at The Old Mill Restaurant and the Old Mill Pottery House Cafe & Grille. All are part of our Old Mill Square, which also includes a candy kitchen, craft distillery, creamery, gourmet shop, and gift store featuring pottery crafted by artisans on the premises.

You can also purchase our Warm Collard Green Dip with Pork Rinds, ready to heat and serve, at our Old Mill Farmhouse Kitchen. But if you can’t get by, try our recipe below!

One of our chefs, Danielle Speelman, visited WBIR’s Live @ 5 @ 4, a local news show, to cook this for them. She always does an amazing job! We are so fortunate to have so many talented and passionate people with us here at The Old Mill. If you would like to watch the video, just click here!

To round out your Super Bowl spread, check out some of our other Old Mill products:

Warm Collard Green and Artichoke Cheese Dip with Pork Rinds

Makes 10 to 12 servings (about 4 cups)
Prep: 20 minutes
Bake: 25 to 30 minutes

1 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped collard greens, thawed and drained well (see Note)
1 can (14 ounces) artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup (4 ounces) grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 rounded tablespoons finely minced red bell pepper
1 teaspoon seasoning salt, or pick up our Zapp Seasoning in the Farmhouse Kitchen
1/2 cup shredded mild Cheddar cheese
Mean Green Jalapeno Hot Sauce or Pickled Jalapeno Mix pepper slices for serving
2 bags (2 ounces each) The Old Mill Pork Rinds, for serving

1. Place a rack in the center of the oven, and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

2. Place the collards in a colander or sieve set in the sink, and press down with a large spoon to press out all the water. Turn the drained collards in a large mixing bowl. Add the artichoke hearts, cream cheese, Parmesan, sour cream, mayonnaise, red pepper, and seasoning salt. Stir to combine well. Spoon the dip mixture into a 5- to 6-cup souffle dish or an 11- by 7-inch glass baking dish. Scatter the shredded cheese over the top. Place the pan in the oven.

3. Bake the dip until it is bubbly, about 25 to 30 minutes. Remove the dish from the oven, and serve warm with hot pepper sauce or pickled jalapeno peppers, if desired, and pork rinds.

Note: If you are using fresh collard greens, wash them well, drain and finely chop. Place about 5 cups fresh collards in a saucepan with chicken stock or water to cover. Simmer until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain well and let cool. Measure out 1 packed and generous cup of collard greens to use in this recipe.

Throw a Southern Biscuit Bar Party

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We can’t think of a more delicious — or easy to execute — party. With our buttermilk-rich biscuits and a variety of sweet and savory fillings,  guests will feel at home and they’ll enjoy getting creative.  There is something on the table for every biscuit lover; in our test kitchens, some delicious concoctions have been put together.  Try layering slices of country ham in a hot biscuit, slathered with our fresh-tasting Apple Butter or homemade jam made from fresh-picked local strawberries — or crispy fried chicken strips coated in the best ever Fried Chicken Breading, drizzled, Southern-style, with Sourwood Honey. We’ve also smothered a piece of fried chicken  in creamy Pepper Gravy to fill a biscuit, and made to-die-for fried-green tomato-biscuit BLT’s using our Fried Green Tomato Breading for the T’s.  In our heads, the biscuit combo world is unending.

A biscuit bar is perfect for a shower, late morning wedding, pre-graduation ceremony gathering, or celebration brunch with family and friends.  It’s an easy way to entertain up to about 30 people.  Here are some ideas for setting it up and making sure your food stays hot throughout the party:

  • Make the biscuit dough ahead and freeze before you bake.  Roll and cut them out as directed, then place the cutout biscuits on a baking sheet and freeze several hours.  When they are frozen solid, pop them into a freezer zip-top bag and return to the freezer for up to 1 month.   Remove the number of biscuits you need to serve and place them on baking sheets;  keep in the refrigerator until just before you want to bake them. Add up to 5 additional minutes of baking time to the recipe directions.
  • To keep fried chicken cutlets or fingers coming out hot and crisp during the party, fry them 30-60 minutes ahead and keep on a wire rack in a 250°F oven until you are ready to replenish the plate.  To prevent fried green tomatoes from getting soggy after cooking, stand them up on their edges using a wire rack placed on a baking sheet.  This one you’ll have to contrive, standing the slices against each other in the slots of the rack. Keep in the low oven with the chicken.
  • Pan-fry the country ham slices 1-2 hours ahead,  stack and wrap in foil, and keep warm in the oven with the chicken.
  • Make the gravy before serving, and keep a piece of plastic wrap over the pot, under the lid, to keep it from drying out as it sits.
  • Arrange all the serving dishes on the table, along with serving spoons, forks, ladles, plates, and napkins.  Tag them with sticky notes reminding you what foods will go into them. Add the hot foods to the table right before serving.
  • Fill the serving bowls with condiments up to 2 hours ahead and cover with plastic wrap.  Remove the plastic right before serving.

If you make the biscuits, we’ll provide the fixings. Let us make the mix for you with our Old Mill Biscuit Mix; or bake one of our recipes for buttermilk biscuits.  And let us know when you throw a Biscuit Bar Party;  we’d love to see pictures and hear how yours was a hit!

Old Mill Biscuits >>

Buttermilk Biscuits >>

Self-Rising Buttermilk Biscuits >>