Blueberry and Cream Cheese Hand Pies

Blueberry and Cream Cheese Hand Pies RecipeI know, I promised you the recipe for these lovely little hand pies a very long time ago.  My apologies!  I got distracted, and busy, and wrapped up into many other things that kept me from posting.  Did I mention that my computer went on the fritz?  Yes, that happened too.  Fortunately, I’m getting the recipe to you in plenty of time to make these little cuties for your upcoming Red, White, and Blue holiday celebrations.
Blueberry and Cream Cheese Hand Pies RecipeMy passion for pie runs deep.  Stellar pie makers can be found among relatives on both sides of my family, and over many generations.  Thanks to my Grandmother and Dad, I was invited into the process from the time I was a young girl.  I will assume that you are as fond of pie as I am, but if by some very ‘strange’ reason you aren’t, well then, these down-sized versions of an all-American favorite might just convert you.
Blueberry and Cream Cheese Hand Pies Recipe
Quite often, pie lovers fall into one of two categories.  Either they favor the crust, or the filling.  I fall squarely in the ‘crust is the reason to eat pie’ group.  I have made no bones about that here on the blog.  Yes, pie fillings have their redeeming qualities, however, my idea of a great pie is when the crust to filling ratio is weighted way in the direction of the crust.  Yay for hand pies, where the crust is the star!
Blueberry and Cream Cheese Hand Pies RecipeFrom time to time I have posted recipes for various hand pies here, like this one, and this one .  It would be difficult to choose my favorite among them all, but this Blueberry and Cream Cheese version stole my taste buds from that first flakey, juicy, creamy bite.  Hidden beneath a layer of ‘from scratch’ blueberry filling lies a blanket of lemon scented, cheesecake-like filling that takes these little gems to another level.  Imagine, if you will, a mini slice of blueberry cheesecake sandwiched between two sheets of golden brown, crunchy, flaky pastry.  Yeah, now you know what I’m talking about!

I definitely made my little pies with the 4th of July holiday in mind, but I most certainly won’t be limiting them to just one special occasion a year.  They are just too darn good for that.

Blueberry and Cream Cheese Hand Pies Recipe

 

Blueberry and Cream Cheese Hand Pies Recipe




Easy Cherry Jam

Cherry Jam RecipeWe are smack dab in the middle of Cherry season and I am jumping up and down with joy.  I cannot get enough of those meaty, juicy, little red orbs of deliciousness.  As I was wrist deep in red stains from pitting the cherries for this recipe, the thought occurred to me that if cherries were in season year-round, I would have a red nose.  Yep, I would be walking around looking like I was related to Rudolph.  You know how babies develop an orange nose when first introduced to carrots?  To test for allergic reaction when transitioning a baby to solid food, you feed them one food at a time for a number of days.  When testing carrots, little ones often ‘grow’ an orange nose. It’s the beta-carotene in the carrots that turns their little noses orange.  Similarly, it’s the particular flavonoids found in cherries that make them red.  Anyway…my point to all this is to say, if I could eat cherries year-round, I would most certainly have a red nose.  I just can’t get enough of them.
Cherry Jam RecipeCherry Jam RecipeAll that said, it shouldn’t surprise you to learn that my favorite jam is cherry.  I have a jar of this jam in my refrigerator at all times, with a back-up jar in my pantry.  When I walked into my Whole Foods market yesterday and came face to face with a huge display of organic cherries for sale, well the creative cherry juices got flowing and on the spot I decided I was going to take home enough for eating and some extra for making jam.
Cherry Jam Recipe
Cherry Jam RecipeThe recipe I developed for my jam is as simple as can be, but with an intensity of flavor that will wow you.  Short on time, I didn’t want to go the whole canning route.  Rather, I chose to make a small batch of ‘refrigerator jam’ that was finished in under an hour.  In lieu of a formally written recipe, I’m going to keep this real simple and just walk you through the process by which I created a 12 ounce jar of crimson cherry goodness.
Cherry Jam Recipe

My favorite way to enjoy this homemade jam is spooned atop a piece of goat cheese slathered toast.  It doesn’t get any better than that!

Enjoy!
Cherry Jam Recipe
Cherry Jam recipe developed by Mary Weinberg | siftingfocus.com




Whole-Grain Blueberry Muffins

Whole-Grain Blueberry Muffins  RecipeI’m a huge fan of muffins, and an even bigger fan of blueberries.  Based on those two facts, you would think I was also a fan of blueberry muffins.  Not so!  I have rarely met a blueberry muffin that was worth my time.  Here’s why.  Nine times out of ten, they usually amount to little more than an unfrosted yellow cupcake with blueberries scattered throughout.  No thank you! Continue reading




Dark Chocolate ‘Beer’ Cake with Sour Cream Caramel Frosting

Chocolate 'Beer' Cake w Sour Cream Caramel Frosting RecipeIt’s official!  I finally had my first beer –  in a cake that is.  😉  In all the hundreds of cakes I have eaten to date, not one had beer in it.  My Dad was an incredible cake baker, and although he was forever pulling one from the oven, I don’t ever remember him baking one with beer.  Which is ironic since my Dad loved his beer.  I vividly remember begging sips of brew from him as he enjoyed a can or two after a long day’s work at the factory.  Dad was a perfectionist when it came to the glass he used for his beer.  Not the shape, rather the cleanliness.  Once, he even gave me a demonstration on the proper way to clean a beer glass.  ‘You have to clean it really well with hot soapy water, then rinse it with cold water.  Cold water kills the suds.  Any soap residue left on the glass will make the beer go flat, and a great glass of beer has to have a nice head of foam’.  Those were his precise instructions. Continue reading




Salted Sesame Caramel Macaroons

Salted Sesame Caramel Macaroons RecipeAround this time of year, I start flipping through my ‘Passover’ file to get reacquainted with the recipes I have collected specifically for the celebration of Passover – most of them are recipes for desserts that don’t contain flour.   There are tons of great gluten-free sweets available these days but since I’m not gluten intolerant, I don’t usually give the subject much thought.  Occasionally a gluten-free recipe will show up here on the blog, but on average, flour is a constant in my everyday recipes.  So when faced with the question ‘ what to make for Passover dessert’, I’m always looking for something new and interesting. Continue reading