Monday, May 25, 2009

Olallieberry Crisp - (what the heck is an Olallieberry?)

 Sometimes, geography defines what products are exclusively available in limited regions. For example, we Californians cannot find Hellman's mayonnaise on our grocery store shelves (though I've seen been enlightened that it's called "Best Foods" west of the Rockies). On the other hand, we have something very special-- and, as far as I know, it's a special berry that is mostly available in California. It might grow in the western United States of Oregon and Washington, but I'm not 100% sure.

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!



Olallieberry, on Foodista

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15 comments:

Donna-FFW said...

Ive never even heard of these berries. I LOVE your topping on that crisp. I will haveto try with another fruit, Im thinking peaches?

Simple Simon said...

Your olallieberries look very similar to our Northern Oregon Marionberries, which are only native to this area. They are a cross between blackberries and boysenberries and are delicious. We have a couple months to wait though, until they are ripe enough to make a delicious cobbler. I am envious of you!

cindyquiltsOR said...

We have Olallie berries in the northern part of the Willamette Valley.

My dad lives about 25 miles from me and has them in his garden. They are pretty much a bramble type vine and he keeps his tied.

Monica H said...

Never heard of them but they are very pretty and your crisp looks fantastic. I hope your vine does well this summer and yields you many berries.

I bet summer peaches would be delicious as well!

T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

I love making crisps - a great way to use the fruit of the season. And I learned something new today, since I've never been introduced to the olallieberry. Not even sure I'm pronouncing it right!

Netts Nook said...

My Grandmother use to speak of olallieberry and she was from southern Idaho. Sounds yummy to me.

Stacey Snacks said...

Deb,
I love the photos...they look like antique postcards.

Kristen said...

I have heard of these berries, a long time ago (I grew up on the west coast, and we often vacationed in California)...the crisp looks very delicious :o)

SJ said...

Nice post. I love olallieberries, good thing I live in Northern California! I believe you can also find them in Scandinavia.

Culinary Wannabe said...

These sound so good! I love berries and have them around all the time to snack on. I bet the cobbler was delicious!

♥Rosie♥ said...

Olalliebery is a new one on me but tasting between a blackberry and raspberry you certainly are very lucky to have these. Your cobbler really looks delish!

Sweet Bird said...

Oooh! We had these growing all over the place where I grew up in Washington State. Between these and blackberries we had many a berry feast.

I miss wild berries now...

unconfidentialcook said...

Are they mulberries--they look exactly like them? How delicious was that crisp? Yum!

Claudia said...

Those berries look like the thimbleberries we have here growing wild. I also freeze my mulberries until there's enough to do something with.

Adele said...

Those pictures of the olallieberries make me homesick! (I grew up in madera, just outside of fresno!) My dad was a master at growing olallieberries and I remember going out an picking them for my mother and helping her make jam... Oh, those memories! Thanks for the walk down memory lane!