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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.

 

Sweet Cream Biscuits

A biscuit recipe is like a fingerprint in the South; everybody has their own, so no two are alike! Well, that’s not entirely true. But, Southern cooks will tell you that their biscuit recipe is the best because it’s likely been passed down for generations. The basics of a biscuit are all the same. You take a flour and add some fat and liquid. From there you can add just about anything you want to make it sweet or savory, or maybe you keep it simple and let a slice of country ham or a spoonful of jam or honey add some extra flavor. Biscuits come in all shapes and sizes and are the answer for a quick breakfast to a simple and traditional solution for dessert.

We love just about every variety of biscuit. Flaky buttery layers get us just as excited as a tender biscuit with lots of airy pockets to hold butter. And, they don’t take as long as it may seem to make. Have you ever been intimidated by the thought of making homemade biscuits and resorted to popping open a tube in the past?  (Truth be told, almost all of us saw our grandmother’s do that once or twice! If you never witnessed it, look for a  dent in the edge of the counter in grandma’s kitchen, cause that’s where she would bang the tube against it to get it to burst open.) Well, scratch-made biscuits really don’t take any more time to make, you just may end up with a little flour in places you never intended.

Self-rising flour is a time-saver in this two-ingredient biscuit recipe. The leavening – baking powder – is already in the flour. The cream acts both as the liquid and the fat, making these biscuits rich and flaky. And easy!

Sweet Cream Biscuits

Makes about 14 2-inch biscuits

Prep: 10 minutes

Bake: 10 to 14 minutes

Ingredients:

2 cups Old Mill Self-Rising Flour

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

1 1/4 cups heavy cream

Extra flour as needed for rolling

Directions:

  1. Place a rack in the center of the oven, and preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Place the flour and sugar in a large bowl and stir to combine. Pour in nearly all the cream, and stir with a fork until the mixture comes together. If needed, add the rest of the cream to get the dough to pull together. It will be sticky.
  3. Sprinkle a work surface with a couple tablespoons flour, and turn the dough out onto the flour. Press with floured hands until the dough is 1-inch thick. Fold one half of the dough over the other like closing a book, then press down to 1-inch again, and cut into 2-inch rounds with a floured biscuit cutter. Press together scraps to make additional biscuits. Place biscuits about an inch apart on baking pans, and place in the oven. Bake until golden brown, from 10 to 14 minutes. Serve warm with butter.

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 Old Mill Unbleached All-Purpose Flour

2 tablespoons  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 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.