Category Archives: Bakery

Old-Fashioned Blackberry & Peach Crisp

 

When summer blackberries and blueberries arrive in the mountains, well, it’s a signal that summer is really here. If you didn’t know from the heat and the lines in front of the Creamery, you surely know summer is here when berries come into season.

Berries used to grow wild in vacant lots and along fences, and you had to brave the chiggers to wander into those weeds to pluck wild blackberries. You can still find them, but most of the berries we are eating here in the Smokies are grown by local farmers.

A great way to use them is this easy pie called a crisp. No crust is needed. You just pile the fruit and sugar into a baking dish or iron skillet, and then top with a crumbly mixture of oats, flour, sugar, and butter. It bakes up into a heavenly rite of summer passage – something to enjoy with vanilla ice cream.


Old-Fashioned Blackberry & Peach Crisp
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Appalachian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
An old-fashioned favorite, using fresh berries and fruits of the season.
Ingredients
  • 1 teaspoon soft butter for greasing the skillet
  • 4 cups fresh blackberries
  • 3 cups sliced fresh peaches
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • 1½ cups light brown sugar
  • 1½ cups flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
  • 1 cup Old Mill Thick Table Rolled Oats
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Rub a 12-inch cast iron skillet with the butter. Toss the fruit with the sugar to combine, and turn the fruit into the skillet. Set aside.
  3. Make the topping: Place the brown sugar, flour, salt, and cinnamon in a mixing bowl and stir. Scatter the butter over the top and cut into the dry ingredients with two dinner knifes until it forms coarse crumbs. Fold in the oats. With your hands, crumble this mixture over the top of the fruit. Place the pan in the oven.
  4. Bake until the topping is golden brown, and the fruit mixture is bubbly, about 40 to 45 minutes. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.

 

Who doesn’t love Fudge Pie!

Here in the Smoky Mountains, we love a good fudge pie. Popular throughout the South, fudge pie was first baked in the early 1900s and is a testament to America’s love of chocolate and fudge. The pie was once a fudgy pudding poured over a baked pie crust and topped with meringue. And every cookbook, diner, and bakery in America had its own version of the fudge pie in the 1930s and 40s. After World War II, fudge pies turned simple and home-baked. Most often, they were a brownie-like batter poured into a pie pan and baked without a crust. That was the allure. They were easy, loved by all, prize-winning, and could be taken to friends or shipped to family away from home. But it was later, in the 1970s, that fudge pie really came into its own. The brownie batter was poured into a pie crust, often topped with pecans, baked just until crusty around the edges and the consistency was a cross between a brownie and a chocolate souffle. Fudge pie was the hit at church suppers, family reunions, and bridge parties.

When Associated Press food editor Cecily Brownstone wrote about fudge pie in 1971, she said it was the American man’s most favorite pie, more popular than apple pie! Obviously, fudge pie has survived the years because it tastes so good! Up here in East Tennessee, where black walnut trees grow, many good cooks like to add chopped black walnuts to chocolate recipes. In other parts of the South, cooks prefer the sweet taste of pecans. Regardless of how you top it, with the ease of our Old Mill Brownie Mix, you can create this American favorite pie in no time.

Old Mill Fudge Pie

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 30 minutes

Serves: 8

1 9-inch frozen pie crust, thawed and unbaked

1 package (15 ounces) Old Mill Fudgy Brownie Mix

2 large eggs

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

1/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts, if desired

1. Place a rack in the center of the oven, and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prick the pie crust a few times on the bottom with a fork. Set aside.

2. Place the brownie mix, eggs, and melted butter in a large bowl, and stir with a wooden spoon until smooth, about 50 strokes. Pour the batter into the pie crust, and scatter the nuts on top, if desired. Place the pan in the oven.

3. Bake the pie until the top puffs up, the nuts have lightly browned, and the edges are firm, about 30 minutes. Remove the pie to a rack to cool at least 30 minutes before slicing. Serve warm with ice cream.

A Taste of Spring!

The first week of spring here in the Smoky Mountains brought us a couple of snowy days, but now that the weather’s warming up, we’re all coming down with severe cases of spring fever. And one of the best cures we know of is cake! So for our last entry for March – which is also National Flour Month – we offer you our Blueberry and Lemon Cornmeal Cake. Lightened with ricotta cheese and brightened with fresh berries and lemon juice, the batter features not only our freshly ground cornmeal, but also Old Mill’s all-purpose Plain Flour. It makes a simple but stunning addition to an Easter buffet or any other spring or summer occasion. Come autumn, you can easily turn this versatile recipe into a holiday cake by substituting fresh cranberries for the blueberries, similar to our Cranberry Orange Cornmeal Cake we offer online. This cake also freezes well, so if you like to do all your baking at one time and give home-baked items to friends and family, this will be a hit!

Blueberry and Lemon Cornmeal Cake

Makes: 12 to 16 servings

Ingredients:

Butter for prepping the pan

2 cups Old Mill Plain Flour

1 cup Old Mill Yellow Cornmeal

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

7 ounces (1 3/4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

3 large eggs

1/4 cup Old Mill Pure Maple Syrup

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Grated zest of 1 lemon (1 teaspoon)

Juice of 1 lemon (2 tablespoons)

1 container (15 ounces) whole milk ricotta cheese, about 2 cups

2 1/2 cups fresh blueberries, divided use

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

Directions:

  1. Place a rack in the center of the oven, and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9-inch springform pan with butter, and place the pan on a baking sheet and set aside.
  2. Place the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt in a large mixing bowl, and stir to combine. Set aside.
  3. Place the butter in a large mixing bowl and beat on medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy, 30 seconds. Add the sugar, and beat on medium until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until each egg is incorporated, about 20 seconds each. Add the maple syrup, oil, and the grated lemon zest and juice. Blend on medium speed until well combined, 45 seconds.
  4. Turn about a third of the dry ingredients into the batter and blend on low until just incorporated. Add half of the ricotta cheese and blend. Add another third of dry ingredients and blend, then add the rest of the ricotta, and finally the rest of the dry ingredients, blending just to incorporate. Fold 1 1/2 cups of the blueberries into the batter, and blend on low speed to break up the berries a bit, about 30 seconds. Turn the batter into the prepared pan. Scatter the remaining cup of blueberries on top of the batter, and sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar. Place the baking sheet with springform pan in the oven.
  5. Bake until the cake is well browned, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 1 hour and 15 to 20 minutes. After 1 hour, gently cover the top of the cake with foil to protect it from over-browning. Remove the cake from the oven, and let the cake cool in the pan 20 to 25 minutes. Run a knife around the edges of the pan, and unfasten the sides of the pan. Let the cake cool completely before slicing, about 1 hour. Slice and serve with vanilla ice cream.

 

Waste not, want not

 

 

“Waste not, want not” has been the Old Mill mantra from the time it was built in 1830.
In its early days when local farmers brought the grains they grew to be milled, they would “pay” the miller with 25 percent of the ground grains. The rest could be used as feed for livestock, or like we do today, it could be used to make whiskey.

“Flours we grind are 100% – Nothing fresher or better anywhere!” Chuck Childers, Head Miller (left)

The Old Mill still carries on that same pioneering ingenuity. Each day, our head miller, Chuck, and his assistant, Delmar Maples (pictured above on right), have to make sure they have enough of the right grains for what’s needed to supply our restaurants, bakeries, and stores, without overproducing. Because the grains are ground fresh with no pesticides or preservatives, they must be packaged and used right away before they spoil or lose their “flour power.” They must be stored carefully, away from sunlight and heat. Chuck advises customers to avoid leaving it in a hot car and, once home, wrapping them airtight and storing in the freezer until ready to use.

Some flour is simply a byproduct of a process, such as grinding grits. When the grits are passed through the sifter to separate the grit from the hull, a dust falls to the bottom of the sifter: Corn Flour. Again, waste not, want not. It’s a great alternative for anyone looking for a gluten-free option in cooking. We use it in many of our signature breading mixes and in our restaurants.

Our Old Mill Restaurant uses over 30,000 pounds of Self-Rising Flour each year, while the Pottery House Cafe bakes mostly with Whole Wheat Flour. The Farmhouse Kitchen and our Creamery like our Plain Flour for cookies, pie dough, pastries and even ice cream cones.

Chuck tells us that he is a big fan of the delicate cookies our General Store manager, Ginger, bakes with Corn Flour. And he’s not the only one, we all love it when she bakes several batches and brings them into work!

Here’s the recipe to try for yourself!

Lemon Corn Flour Meltaway Cookies

Ingredients:

1 1/3 cups Old Mill White Unbleached Flour

1/2 cup Old Mill Yellow Corn Flour

4 tablespoons cornstarch

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 teaspoons grated lemon zest (from 1 large lemon or 2 small)

Directions:

Place the flour, corn flour, cornstarch, and salt in a mixing bowl and stir to combine. Set aside. Cut the butter into tablespoons and place in a large bowl. Add the confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, and lemon zest. Blend on low speed until creamy. Add the flour mixture and blend on low until smooth. Turn half of the batter out onto a long sheet of waxed or parchment paper and roll into a 1 1/2-inch-wide log. Repeat with the remaining half of the dough on a second sheet of waxed or parchment paper. Wrap the logs well and chill at least 2 hours.

When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Remove the logs of dough from the fridge, and cut into 1/4-inch slices. Place about 12 to a baking sheet, and bake until they just turn golden brown around the edges, about 11 to 14 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Repeat with the remaining cookie dough. Makes about 5 dozen cookies.

Note: You can omit the step of rolling the dough into logs and chilling. Instead, roll the dough out thinly and cut into rounds, then bake.

Chuck and Delmar say it’s National Flour Month all 12 months of the year here at The Old Mill! With the grits, cornmeal, mixes, and flours, they bag over 700,000 pounds of freshness every year. It’s a rare trade, and one they take very seriously. However, if you get into a conversation with them, then all seriousness goes out the window!

“We could tie a Miller’s Knot with our eyes closed and one hand behind our back at this point!”  ~ Chuck