berry u-pick

patrick’s mountain grown berry farm

I hardly think that the dead of winter is the time for a bright and sunny post like the one you are about to scroll down through.

But as things rarely turn out as planned, and I tend to run a bit behind seasons with my posts anyway, I thought I’d chance a few “What the…” comments.

I also thought it might brighten someone’s cold and dreary day.


fresh blackberries

summer fruit

clockwise from top right: champagne currants, boysenberries, raspberries, loganberries, red currants, blackberries, marionberries

pasrty cream

You might want to bookmark the recipe for Minted Watermelon-Berry Pops for the summer ahead. Lemon-Basil Cream and Dark Berry Tarts can be enjoyed year round.

Thanks to our modern agricultural practices, there’s no shortage of out-of-season fruits and vegetables in supermarkets.

But if I were you, I’d go with the flow. Even citrus would do as long it’s fresh and healthy. Stay away from glazes and powdered sugar and whatever else you might think of to put on top of the fruit because they do nothing but taint its original flavor. The cream is sweet enough to dilute the acidity of tart varieties.

Basil is such a summer telltale sign, so skip it if you tailor this recipe to a different season. Dried basil is also an option but remember that the flavor of dried herbs is about three to four times stronger than fresh herbs. So for every one tablespoon fresh chopped basil, use 1 teaspoon dried whole or crumbled.

paleo dessert

lemon-basil cream and dark berry tarts

summer dessert

The coconut crust is soft and crumbly. Very shortbread-y. I had a couple without filling to quench my sweet tooth on a number of afternoons. So yum!

Paired with dairy-free cream, these tarts can help people that have food allergies with dessert ideas.


blackberry dessert idea

The recipes below are missing gram measurements. I will take care of it as soon as possible. E-mail me with any questions for now.

berry farm in placerville, california

fresh red berries

apple hill in placerville, california

simple summer treat

red currants

red berry sauce

red berry compote

milk pudding with red berry compote

milk pudding with red berry compote

cooking with berries

herbs and berries

watermelon popsicles

minted watermelon-berry pops

cooking in summer



Recipe for Olga’s Original Lemon-Basil Cream and Dark Berry Tarts*



For the tart bases:

1. 1/3 cup (35 g) coconut flour

2. 1/3 cup (35 g) arrowroot starch

3. 1/2 cup (40 g) moist shredded coconut

4. 1 1/2 tablespoons raw cane sugar

5. 1/4 teaspoon kosher sea salt

6. 90 g solid coconut oil, cold, broken into small pieces

7. 1 (60 g) duck egg

8. 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

For the lemon-basil cream:

1. 1 can (403 ml) unsweetened full-fat coconut milk

2. Juice and zest of one medium lemon; zest removed in large strips

3. 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon raw cane sugar, divided

4. 1/4 teaspoon kosher sea salt

5. 1 cup tightly packed fresh basil leaves, muddled

6. 5 duck egg yolks

7. 1 tablespoon arrowroot starch

8. A few drops of lemon extract, optional

For the assembly:

1. 3 cups mixed dark berries, such as blackberries, boysenberries, marionberries


1. To make the tart crust: Place flour, starch, shredded coconut, sugar and salt in a food processor. Pulse until combined. Add cold coconut oil pieces; pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. In a small bowl, whisk together duck egg and vinegar. With processor on, slowly add egg mixture, processing until a soft and slightly sticky dough forms. Collect dough onto a ball, cover tightly with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. Take it out and divide into 4 equal parts. If dough is too stiff to handle, let it sit at room temperature for a few minutes. Press each piece of dough into a 4 x .75-inch tart mold with a removable bottom, starting from the bottom and working your way up the sides, until dough is evenly distributed and about 1/8 inch thick. Use a fork to poke holes all over each tart base. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 375° F and bake tart bases for 14-16 minutes or until crust edges are golden brown. Let cool completely before removing from molds.

2. To make the cream:  In a medium saucepan, combine coconut milk, lemon juice and zest and 1/3 cup sugar. Place over medium heat until small bubbles form around edges of pan, stirring occasionally to dissolve sugar. Do not let it boil.  Remove from heat and add muddled basil. Cover and let steep at least for an hour or longer for a more intense basil flavor. In a medium heatproof bowl, whisk remaining sugar, salt and arrowroot starch. Add egg yolks and whisk them into dry ingredients, making sure that ingredients are thoroughly combined. Strain milk mixture through a fine-mesh sieve and discard lemon zest and basil.  Return milk mixture to saucepan and scald again. Reduce heat to medium low. Pour about 1/2 cup hot milk into yolks, whisking continuously. Slowly pour yolk mixture into hot milk in saucepan. Continue to cook on medium low, stirring constantly. Cook until custard thickens to a pudding-like consistency and you see large bubbles popping on the surface. Whisk for a few more seconds and then remove saucepan from heat. Stir in lemon extract and then pour cream through a strainer into small bowl. Stir to push through strainer. Press a piece of plastic wrap tightly up against the surface of cream and chill completely.

3. To assemble the tarts: Fill a tart base with about 1/3 cup of the lemon-basil cream and top with berries.

Makes 4 4 x .75-inch tarts


Recipe for Olga’s Original Minted Watermelon-Berry Pops**


1. 1/4 cup water

2. 1/4 cup honey

3. A large handful of fresh mint, muddled

4. 2 cups mixed dark berries, such as boysenberries, blackberries, marionberries

5. 2 cups watermelon, coarsely chopped

6. 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

7. A few drops of peppermint extract, optional

8. Pinch of salt


1. In a medium saucepan, combine water and honey. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally to dissolve honey. Remove from heat, add muddled mint and let steep until completely cool. Strain and discard mint.

2. In a food processor, combine watermelon chunks, berries and lemon juice. Puree fruit and force through a fine-mesh sieve to remove seeds. Stir in the cooled syrup, salt and a few drops of peppermint extract. Pour into popsicle molds, insert sticks and freeze until solid.

Makes 6 4-ounce pops


Recipe for Milk Pudding with Red Berry Compote, adapted from Honey & Co.: The Cookbook by Itamar Srulovich and Sarit Packer


For the milk pudding:

1. 3 cups whole milk, divided

2. 1 cup heavy cream

3. 1/4 cup arrowroot starch

4. 3 tablespoons honey

5. 3 tablespoons raw cane sugar

6. Pinch of kosher sea salt

For the red berry compote:

1. 2 cups red berries, such as strawberries, raspberries, red currants; half or quarter strawberries if necessary, so all berries are uniform in size

2. 2 tablespoons raw cane sugar

3. 1/4 cup water

4. 1 1/2 teaspoons arrowroot starch


1. To make the pudding: Whisk arrowroot starch and 1 cup milk in a medium bowl; set slurry aside. Heat cream, honey, sugar, salt and remaining 2 cups milk in a medium saucepan over medium heat, whisking occasionally, until mixture just begins to boil, about 8-10 minutes. Whisking constantly, gradually add reserved slurry and cook, still whisking, until pudding thickens and comes to a boil, about 1-2 minutes. Scrape into large bowl and cover with plastic wrap, pressing directly against surface. Chill until cold, at least 4 hours.

2. To make the compote: Put prepared berries, sugar and water into a small saucepan and cook over low heat until sugar dissolves and juices run. Remove berries with slotted spoon and set aside. Whisk arrowroot starch with a little cold water and set aside. Increase heat to medium and bring berry juices to a boil. Whisking constantly, slowly add slurry and cook, still whisking, until slightly thickened. Remove from heat and return berries to the saucepan. Let cool completely before serving.

3. To assemble the pudding: Whisk chilled pudding until smooth and creamy. Divide among bowls; serve topped with warm red berry compote and mint sprigs.

Makes 8 servings

* and **  developed at an altitude of 4500 feet above sea level