Cook | Summer fruits are berry good in dessert

It has been a buggy summer for my family. We’ve experienced aggressive mosquitos, and my 6-year-old spent all week at camp rescuing suicidal ladybugs from the swimming pool. Recently we stopped at a “u-pick” berry farm along Highway 1, and while the coastal bugs were not visible to us, they were in the berries, or so the Torah tells us: “And every swarming thing that swarms upon the Earth is a detestable thing; it shall not be eaten” (Leviticus 11:41).
Berries in particular are objects of caution. Bugs camp out in crevices, and even with great care it’s hard to tell if you’ve washed them all away. This means you ought to expect some serious berry cleaning if you embrace the summer’s bounty. Alternately, you could seek out frozen berries with a hechsher, or kosher certification.
The recipes below were made with 8 pounds of olallieberries from the u-pick. Olallieberries are a cross between loganberries and youngberries, each of which is a combination of a blackberry and another berry. Who knew you could go so far down the genetic rabbit hole on one single bramble bush? If you’re a purist and roaming the Bay Area woods this summer, blackberries make a fine substitute in either recipe.

Peach and Olallieberry Cobbler

Serves 10-12
Cornmeal Crust (yields 2)
21⁄4 cups flour
3⁄4 cup finely ground cornmeal
1 Tbs. brown sugar
1 tsp. salt
2 sticks unsalted butter (cold or frozen), cut in pieces
1⁄2 cup ice water (plus extra as needed)

Fruit Filling (for 1 cobbler)
4 cups peaches, diced
3 cups olallieberries
1 Tbs. flour
1 Tbs. brown sugar
1⁄4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1⁄8 tsp. ground cardamom
1⁄8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 egg, lightly beaten

In a large bowl or electric food processor, combine flour, cornmeal, brown sugar and salt. If using an electric food processor, pulse in frozen butter until mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. If mixing by hand, cut in cold butter until pieces are no larger than peas. Add in ice water and pulse or mix until dough just holds together. Divide mixture in half, form into 2 disks about 5 inches in diameter, handling as little as possible. Wrap each separately in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 10 minutes. Dough can be held wrapped in fridge for up to 5 days.
When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine peaches, berries, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, cardamom and pepper in a large bowl. When ingredients are well combined, transfer to 9-inch, preferably glass, pie pan. (If making both pies, double the filling ingredients.)
Roll dough disk out between 2 lightly floured pieces of wax paper until 1⁄8-inch thick and 9 inches in diameter. Lay dough over fruit — do not fasten dough to rim of pie pan. Instead tuck over fruit, covering it completely inside the pie pan. Paint crust lightly with beaten egg. Bake for 30-32 minutes until golden brown.

Olallieberry Blondies

Serves 12-16
1⁄2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1⁄2 cup white granulated sugar
1⁄2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
3⁄4 tsp. vanilla
1 cup flour
1⁄2 cup almond meal
1⁄2 cup rolled oats
1⁄2 tsp. baking soda
1⁄2 tsp. salt
1 cup olallieberries
1⁄3 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease 8-inch-square baking pan. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars. Stir in egg and vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine flour, almond meal, rolled oats, baking soda and salt. Add dry ingredients to large bowl. Stir until just combined. Stir in berries. Turn into prepared baking pan. Scatter chocolate chips over the top. Bake in preheated oven 28-32 minutes until set. Cool, slice, serve.

Josie A.G. Shapiro won the 2013 Man-O Manischewitz Cook-Off, is the co-author of “The Lazy Gourmet” and works at the JCC of San Francisco. Her columns alternate with those of Faith Kramer. Her website is

Josie A.G. Shapiro

Josie A.G. Shapiro won the 2013 Man-O-Manischewitz Cookoff and is the co-author of “The Lazy Gourmet.”