Today’s recipe was inspired by this month’s Cook the Books Club Pick, Midnight at the Blackbird Cafe. It was an enjoyable summer read. Here is my Goodreads review.
Midnight at the Blackbird Café by Heather Webber
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This was a sweet book that hooked me from the beginning and kept my interest throughout.
It was enjoyable book but not without its issues.
Though rather predictable, I liked that all the characters ended up in a happy relationship.
I liked that the characters found healing.
I was irritated with Seely - her transformation was too much and too sudden.
While I liked Anna Kate, her motivations are a little confusing.
Finally Bow (who spells it that way??) and Jena...I wanted a bit more closure on their storyline to tie up some loose ends.
Overall, this was the perfect relaxing summer read. Just enough magical realism to make this fantasy fan smile plus a nice happy ending.
View all my reviews
In the book, Anna Kate takes over her late grandmother’s cafe, per instructions of her will. The cafe specializes in pies that cause the consumer to dream of a passed loved one and begin to heal.
Anna Kate struggles to make the pies up to her grandmother’s status until the finds the secret ingredient. Spoiler alert - it’s in my pie, so don’t read the recipe until you’ve read further unless you’ve read the book unless you’re ok with spoilers!
The secret ingredient is mulberries. And I have to be honest, I’ve heard of mulberries but wouldn’t know one if i saw it. I had decided immediately that I wanted to make a blackberry pie for this recipe, I just needed the time to make it!
Then, I was out of town at my aunt’s house. Just as I was heading to my car, she pointed to her tree and told me that she’s just found out that it was a mulberry tree and that the berries were ripe.
The very ingredient I never thought I’d find dropped right into my lap! I didn’t have much time, so I only picked a handful of berries (which, incidentally look like mini blackberries) , tossed them in a cup and drove 5 hours home.
The next morning, Dude and I rode our bikes to our local farmers market and what should I see, but fresh picked blackberries for sale! It was kismet, I was meant to make this pie right away.
Since I only had a handful of mulberries and since fresh picked blackberries were pricey, I decided to only buy 1 pint and make mini pies!
Hubs agreed that this was one of the best pies to date! Was the the mulberry syrup? I guess we’ll never know. I don’t, however, have Anna Kate's magic as we were not visited by any spirits in our dreams...
2 tablespoons mulberries
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon sugar
½ tsp salt
1 cup all purpose flour
6 tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut in small pieces
2-3 tbsp cold water
2 cups black berries
⅓ cup sugar
1 ½ tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon mulberry syrup
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon rum
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch of salt
To make the mulberry syrup, combine the mulberries, water, lemon juice, and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring frequently until the berries are cooked and broken up. Strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve and set aside.
To make the crust, whisk together the flour and salt in a medium sized bowl.
Using a pastry cutter or two forks, cut the butter pieces into the flour until it forms pea sized crumbles.
Beginning with 2 tablespoons of water, sprinkle the water over the flour and butter mixture and lightly mix until it forms a ball. Add additional water if necessary.
Split the dough in half. Roll into 7-inch circles that fit two 5-inch mini pie plates. Reserve excess dough for decorations.
To make the filling, mix together all of the filling ingredients and pour into the prepared pie crusts.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Decorate the tops of the pies as desired with excess dough (I went with a blackbird theme - observant readers will notice that there are indeed 4 & 20 blackbirds on one of the pies). Bake for 45-60 minutes or until the crust is browned and filling is bubbly. Cool completely before serving.