Saturday, June 11, 2011

An exceptional sort of hot.

It is summertime, and although the living isn't exactly "easy," I couldn't be happier with the warm weather. I am sure I am not special in that I prefer summer to winter; but here in our little corner of Georgia, summer is an exceptional sort of hot.  The high 90's begin in June, and seem to stay until November (Thanksgiving is always in shorts).  The air is muggy and stale, with no cool breeze or (heck) even warm breeze to provide momentary relief.  When I made plans to move here, a man I knew (who had lived here before) cautioned, "Take whatever temperature it is here, add 10 degrees, remove the breeze, and that is the summer there." Since he had a reputation for being a jerk, I believed that comment to be typical from his jerky "Old White Man Says" soul.  However, when we pulled up to our new house in August that year, the thermometer outside read 110 degrees, and we proceeded to unload our trucks.


Four years later, I am somewhat used to my 94 degree run, my car seats seething with the summer sizzle, and spending most afternoons indoors with a very active 3 year-old.  We turn our thermostat up to 80 (78 if we get too hot), sit in our underpants, and try not to use the oven past 10AM.

One of the pleasures of summer is all of the ripe and juicy berries, and this week blackberries were the theme.  The texture of blackberries are a little off for me, with every little juicy capsule bursting it's innards in a noisy succession, "pop, pop, pop, pop."  I can eat one or two, but the third one always weirds me out.  I do not mind them in cobbler, tarts, bars, coffee cake (when the oven does the exploding for me), or curd, as I learned this week.

I had a good cup of blackberries left over from last week's bounty, and as I hate to throw things out, I pureed them with the intention of putting the resulting goo in the freezer.  After sieving out all of the seeds, I tasted it, and was surprised at how tart it was. Immediately I pulled out some eggs and a lemon, and started making Blackberry Curd.

The result is so thick and creamy, and the perfect shade of violet.  As I had some pumpkin left over from winter, I decided to fill Pumpkin Cupcakes with it.

I pulled the remaining frosting from my Rose Cake out of the freezer, whipped it up to high-heaven, added 2 tablespoons of the curd (for color), half a slab of cream cheese and half a stick of butter.  I also threw in two cups of confectioners sugar, and then whipped and whipped until it almost had the consistency of whipped cream.

I was out of piping bags, so I slopped that frosting right on there, all willy-nilly.

I topped them with a sprinkle of cinnamon, a cinnamon stick, and a little blackberry.  So sweet!

Finally, a cross-section.  See that gorgeous purple deliciousness?  See the orangeyness (a word) of the pumpkin?  What a delightful pair!

If you have any pumpkin laying around, do make this recipe- which I will post later today (I hope) as I need to get ready for my run.

Love you all, and hope you have a great weekend!

Rachel Bee

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