This recipe is a story of failure, perseverance and triumph. Pretty dramatic for a couple of desserts, but somehow it seems perfect for the 4th of July.
When I stopped at a local stand to pick up the blackberries for this recipe, I was a little confused. All I saw were raspberries, and these gigantic things that I thought were boysenberries. I finally asked the guy working there, and he said no, those are blackberries. Even he thought they were enormous.
Since I'm sharing two recipes today, and there are a few steps to each, let's get started. We'll start with the sugared pansies, since those need a day to dry.
I've never made sugared flowers before, but it turns out they're pretty easy. You just need some edible flowers, granulated sugar and an egg white. If you're concerned about the raw egg, I read somewhere that you can use simple syrup. I didn't try it, but I'll bet it works.
Whisk the egg white just enough to make it a little frothy. Using a small brush, paint the egg whites onto flower.
Sprinkle with the sugar. I tried to grind mine a little finer with my food processor, but I didn't feel like it made much of a difference. If you want a less grainy texture you could go with superfine sugar, but I felt like this suited the rustic galette and crisp.
Lay the flowers on a wire rack to dry.
I originally planned to only use the pansies, but when I realized I had red and white roses blooming, it seemed perfect for the holiday. I also tried some mint, but didn't use it this time. I'm saving those, because these will last for a few months.
Let these dry for at least a day. The pansies are thinner and will be ready, but the roses needed an extra day. They want to stick to the rack a bit, so I just gently shifted mine a couple of times throughout the day.
The other component that requires a little pre-planning is the whipped cream, because it's going to need plenty of time to cool.
Combine 1 cup of heavy cream and 1/4 cup loose and lightly chopped lavender flowers and/or leaves in a small saucepan. Be sure the version you're using is safe to eat.
Heat over low until it just starts to simmer. Remove from the heat, cool and strain out the lavender. Pour the cream into a container. Store in the fridge for several hours or, even better, until the next day.
Once all that prep work is done the day or two before, you're ready to make the dessert. The first is a galette, which I think is French for "you can't screw this up."
1 premade rolled pie crust
3 cups blackberries
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
juice from 1/2 lemon
zest from 1/2 lemon
Combine the berries, sugar, cornstarch, juice and zest in a bowl.
Lay out the pie crust on a baking sheet. I like to use a silicone mat underneath. Pour the blackberry mixture in the center, leaving about 4" to the edge. When you stop to take photos, the juice starts to get away from you.
Fold up the edges all the way around. You can dab a little water inside the folds if you're having trouble getting it to stick.
Brush the crust with the egg white and sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Bake at 350 degrees for about 40 - 45 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown. A pizza cutter works great for slicing this into wedges.
To make the whipped cream to go on top, just pour the cream into a cold mixing bowl, add 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar and whip on high for about a minute, or until stiff peaks form.
Now for the crisp, and this is where the drama kicks in. My daughter's husband has Celiac, and so I planned to make him a gluten free galette, using the pie crust mix I had in the pantry. Well, I underestimated how long I'd had that mix, and it had turned. I'd already mixed up the berries, so I had to quickly formulate a Plan B.
This is what I used:
5 cups blackberries
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
juice from 1/2 lemon
zest from 1/2 lemon
1 cup gluten free oats
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup gluten free flour
1/2 cup cold butter
Combine the berries, granulated sugar, cornstarch, juice and zest. Pour into a casserole dish.
Combine the remaining ingredients in a bowl. Cut the butter in with a pastry cutter or a fork until it is crumbly. Spread it evenly over the berries. I like my crisp with extra crisp.
Bake at 350 degrees for 50 - 60 minutes, or until the filling is bubbly and the crisp is browned.
By the way, this is also fabulous with the lavender whipped cream and sugared flowers.
Have a safe and happy Independence Day!