I'm praising the wonderful and geographically elusive olallieberry. I say oh-la-la, some say oh-la-lee. What I love about these berries is that they taste like a cross between a blackberry and a rasberry-- a little tart, and very juicy. They make incredibly delicious pies, crisps and jams.
A few years ago, my husband and I spent a weekend in Cambria, California. Linn's restaurant is known for growing olallieberries and for including plenty of bakery treats made with these berries. We took a lovely drive to one of their farm, and we purchased one of their berry plants.
Yesterday, I decided to check on how our one and only olallieberry plant (it's actually a vine) was doing...
Yes! We have berries!
I picked two of the ripest looking berries and rinsed them. My hubby and I tasted one and smiled. They were sweet and tart!
June is, typically, when olallieberry season begins-- but I got a jump start on it. Here's my secret-- I freeze them. They freeze exceptionally well, because I found my last stash of last year's olallieberries. Score! I decided to make an olallieberry crisp because they're so easy to make.
I'm always on the lookout for a new and improved version of making fruit crisps. I know that oats are a must. I leave out the nuts, since my son isn't crazy about them. Otherwise, I'd use walnuts or pecans. As for the filling-- I'm still undecided if I prefer flour, tapioca or cornstarch as my thickener. I settled on a recipe from Gourmet Magazine:
I use white sugar, brown sugar, old-fashioned oats, butter, cinnamon, fresh grated nutmeg & salt and lemon juice (for the berries).
I fine that olallieberries can be a bit tart, so I don't skimp on the sugar. This time I used flour as my thickener.
I add ice cold butter and cut it into the dry ingredients.
My dish is buttered, the berries are added and then an even topping of the crumb mixture-- and pop this wonderful quick dessert in a 350F oven for about 25 minutes.
Bubbling goodness! If you don't have olallieberries, this crisp topping works well with any kind of berries, pears, peaches... use your imagination.
I am about a 30 minute drive to Gizdich Ranch, where we can pick our own olallieberries. While our miniature vineyard of these berries have fruit, it's not enough to satisfy how much we love them. I'm heading up there within the next two weeks. I promised myself that I was going to learn to make my own jam, and this is it! I already the utensils to do this, so stay tuned. My husband absolutely loves these berries, so he's going to enjoy pies, tarts, turnovers and jam.
I doubt he'll ever tire of that. I wonder-- has anyone been able to find these outside of the Western United States? I sure hope so. They are terrific!
Happy Memorial Weekend!