A berry sweet memory short story about growing up in the South. I mean way down South. Growing up we had a huge tree in our backyard that we loved to climb on but we especially loved when it gave us delicious berries–moras (mulberries)!
This was the same tree that housed my sisters and I for most part of the spring and summer months during our outdoor escapades. I used to love eating those berries sometimes so much I thought I would spew ’em out- but I don’t recall that ever happening. This weekend as I was going to my car, I happened to glance down the sidewalk and noticed that two houses down I could see the neighbors mulberry tree shedding berries all over his sidewalk (what brilliant person decided it was a good idea to plant a mulberry tree right by a sidewalk?). That was just ridiculous! As you can see.
So poor neighbor-guy despises the tree and the mess it has created (I don’t blame him) but I certainly can’t stand the thought of him chopping that fruit bearing tree down, (which is what he plans to do). Obviously he doesn’t know what fond memories those trees and berries hold for me! I don’t hesitate on asking random strangers for fruit from their trees if I see it’s going to waste. I hate waste!!! [Several years ago I drove past this house almost everyday and finally decided to stop and ask them if I could collect the persimmons that were just dropping on the ground and going bad. I moped when she told me they ate them – when I knew full well she didn’t and she just wouldn’t share. Shame on her! Well, that wasn’t the case with my neighbor…so off I went.
After collecting some and indulging on several on my way back home, I popped several of ’em!
Each juicy little bite had me remembering so many sweet memories and the fact I hadn’t had mulberries in ages. So what do you do with several cups of fresh berries?
How about mulberry pies? My kitchen soon turned into a mini-pie heaven.
(adapted from an old blackberry turnover recipe)
- 2.5 cups flour
- 2 Tbs. sugar
- 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
- 3/4 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into 12 pieces
- 6 oz. cold cream cheese, cut into 6 pieces
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1-1/4 cups mulberries, washed and drained
- 1 large apple, peeled, cored, and diced small
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 1.5 Tbs. unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp. ground allspice
- 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
- 1 large egg yolk mixed with 1/2 t. Mexican vanilla for a tasty little egg wash
- Sugar crystals
Put the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor. Add the butter and cream cheese and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal, 8 to 10 pulses.
Add the cream and pulse, pausing to scrape the bowl once or twice, just until the dough starts to come together, 8 to 10 pulses more. Do not over-process. Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface, gather it together, and pat it into a ball. Wrap it in plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 3 days.
When ready to bake, position racks in the bottom and top thirds of the oven and heat the oven to 400°F. Line 2 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment.
In a medium bowl, lightly toss the berries, apple, brown sugar, flour, allspice, and salt until combined.
In a small bowl, beat the egg yolk with the vanilla and 1/2 tsp. water.
I used my handy little pie press (as shown above)! Spoon 2 rounded Tbs. of the filling into the center of each before pressing and sealing. Place on parchment lined cookie sheet. Lightly brush the top of each pie with egg wash and sprinkle with a scant 1/2 tsp. granulated sugar. With the tip of a paring knife, cut a steam vent in the center of each one.
Bake until pies are browned and the filling is bubbling, 25 to 30 minutes, swapping and rotating the baking sheets’ positions about halfway through baking. (Don’t worry if juice leaks out.)
Transfer the sheet to a cooling rack and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Then loosen the pies with a spatula and cool completely on the sheets. These pies are best the day they’re made…just sayin’!
I had Boo go over and take neighbor-(I wanna chop the tree down)-guy, some mini pies in hopes that he would love them and say he wouldn’t be choppin’ down the mulberry tree after all but he was still cursing the tree :(
I decided to just thank the good Lord for my 4 cups of fresh moras and it turned out that reminiscing with every bite of this goodness was good for my soul~