We're off and rolling out pie dough this week on
Rose's Alpha Bakers.
Rose created an elderberry pie with equal amounts of blueberries
in The Baking Bible.
Elderberries grow across North America, Europe, Western Asia
and North Africa.
Not one store in my town carried fresh elderberries
even though the city is surrounded by them.
This is the elusive elderberry bush. By the size of the trunk it must have been well over
a hundred years old. It is also a protected species but the park ranger said
"Just don't be conspicuous."
Yes, an undercover elderberry caper.
There were many Western Elderberry bushes, tall as trees, growing along the river.
The tangled bush had delicate elderberry flowers, new green elderberries,
ripe elderberries and dried elderberries from last year.
It finally dawned on me there was more than one elderberry bush in the mayhem.
Most had a white color over the dark blue/purple
which I learned is the "bloom" when the berries are ripe.
Had I known, I would have only picked whitish ones.
The bloom doesn't wash off.
They are tiny little things. The smallest berry I have ever seen.
They easily came off the stems.
After all that, they didn't fill the required two cups
but weighed exactly the right amount.
Gotta love grams!
Blueberries are at the peak of the season.
The berries, cornstarch, water and sugar brought to a boil.
Lemon juice stirred into the thickened berries.
Poured into Rose's cream cheese pie crust and off to the oven.
And here it is!
The flavor is very mild.
I realize wild elderberries may differ in intensity
from cultivated elderberries.
The ratio of sugar to berries may need a bit of adjusting.
I also miss the punch of lemon zest that Rose's
other berry pies have.
A day later, however, the flavor intensified.
It is a delightful pie.
This has certainly been a learning experience.
I had no idea I lived in the midst of elderberries.
It never occurred to me why
an award winning restaurant serving French cuisine
near Yosemite, is so named.
is the adjoining five star accommodations
which translates to Castle Elderberry.
I just thought it was a cute name and
put it on my wish list of places to go one day.
While searching around for elderberries, I came across
an elderberry walking tour and taste testing with elderberry ice cream and scones
but alas, it was filled up.
I have to say, it made me realize how urbanized I am.
It's a bit daunting to be out in the "wilds" wondering if I
was picking the right thing.
And yet, it felt hauntingly eerie being on land where Native Americans
gathered elderberries for centuries.
They understood the berries many medicinal properties.