Everyone loves foraging don't they? What's to not like?! A great walk or hike with benefits, I love eating my way through my exercise lol. The Coastal Range and central foothills of Marin County in California above San Fransisco are peppered with treasures; berries in the late summer and then the mushrooms, pretty much in the same areas. I've gotten salmonberries, blackberries, slipperberries, teeny strawberries, and huckleberries.
Huckleberries are the most prolific in my neck of Marin; the Pt Reyes / Inverness area. As I'm rather new to this tribe I have just learned that the rule is no sharing specific areas, that is a big no-no. So off you must go to seek your pirate treasures yourself, which is very fun indeed!
A field guide is a good idea to avoid eating look-alikes and to learn to recognize the bushes and vines. The huckleberry has a tiny flared crown at the tip like a blueberry does, the plants have very firm waxy small leaves that tend to shelter the berries. The low hanging fruit is very popular with my dogs, they love to gather with us. A good idea is to run a string through a quart tub to hang around your neck to catch the berries, and, so you don't, as I did, spill your hard-earned stash reaching for high branches. Plus with the bucket held for you by the string you can use two hands to gather the teeny berries, honestly, it's so meditative and peaceful - the very definition of fruitful as well!
Both of these recipes are scrumptious whether you forage wild berries or buy them.
Ricotta Huckleberry Crepes
These are glorious, not too sweet, wholesome & super easy to make. Wild berries are wonderful, but if you haven't got them you can still use this recipe with any other type of berry or ripe fruit.
These are perfect for sweet or savory fillings, just pop everything into the blender & whirl, voila!
Into the blender in this order;
1 cup water
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1.5 tsp. sugar
Give it a whirl, scrape down the sides and re-blend just to mix, don't over beat it or cause bubbly foam. Holds well several days in the refrigerator, but may need to be thinned with a bit of water.
Heat over a medium flame a small 7 or 8" saute pan or a crepe pan. Pour a 3-inch pool of batter into the center and swirl the pan to spread the batter into a 6 or 7-inch circle. Once the edges start to firm and can be lifted start loosening the crepe from the pan and flip it over just long enough to firm up the other side, not looking for a lot of color; just firmness. I separate them with paper towels or wax paper squares to stack & hold warm, perhaps under a clean dish towel.
For the filling blend together;
15 oz ricotta
1 cup fresh huckleberries or blueberries or 2 ripe pieces of fruit, diced
For the sauce;
2 cup huckleberries or any other
2 Tbl. sugar
In a small saucepan smash the berries a bit with sugar while heating on medium-high for 3 or 4 minutes, then set aside, keep warm. If you use blueberries you may want to thicken the sauce a bit with a heaping teaspoon of cornstarch dissolved first in a tablespoon of water, stir that in after the berries have gotten saucy and let it boil a few minutes to thicken.
Fill and roll the crepes & top with the sauce.
Wild Berry Drop Scones
Drop scones are an old UK type of small pancake. They taste different though, less cakey, I really love them. This version is a take on the one Queen Elizabeth shared with US President Dwight Eisenhower and another recipe from an old tea fare cookbook from the London Ritz Hotel.
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
1/8 tsp. salt
2 Tbl. sugar
Separately whisk together, then add to the dry ingredients;
6 oz. milk
2 Tbl. melted butter
3/4th cup huckleberries or small blueberries (optional)
Heat a griddle or large cast-iron pan to medium-low heat. Coat with a bit of butter and pour on large spoon fulls of batter making small pancakes. When bubbles start to appear and edges firm & color, flip them over and cook the other side.
Lynette La Mere, Pure Joy Catering Executive Chef
(Crepe photos by Lucas Oliver Oswald)