Haskap Berry Hand Pies & A Long Table Dinner, imagine a sunny warm day and time in the countryside picking and learning about a berry you knew very little about and falling in love with it so much that a beautiful juicy tender flaky hand pie is made with the same passion and enthusiasm that the grower has for this unusual but very tasty berry.
Song of the day: "I Want You to Want me" by Dwight Yoakam.
Haskap Berry Hand Pies & A long Table Dinner takes us on a journey into the world of Haskaps, from where it came from to how it is grown, finishing off the wonderful experience wanting to showcase this amazing superfood with a delicious, easy to eat, delectably juicy and sweet hand pie.
Haskaps are a berry with origins in Japan and Russia making its way to North America through passionate growers wanting to introduce this berry to everyone. At first, you think what an unusually shaped berry it is. The look of a blueberry comes to mind but the shape is elongated and the feel of this berry is so tender and velvety soft. Naturally, I wanted to taste it, and what flavors came to mind was a combination of blueberries and raspberries. I loved that it is so plump and juicy and so so sweet. My creative mind began working instantaneously as did with Nicoletta and a plethora of recipe ideas came to the forefront with Nicoletta going to work right away with the Haskap berries we had picked right off the bush. A Haskap jam was made too! I am working on a beautiful mole inspired by Rick Bayless, and Andrew's passion for growing this berry.
I wanted to go back and introduce you to Andrew the Man behind this Haskap berry. When you meet him, you immediately feel his passion and excitement for what he is doing. His eyes bright and a gaze into his fields tells you right away that he has a passion for growing Haskaps and an admiration for others who are doing it also. His drive has taken him to 20,000 plants or thereabouts and he is growing wanting to plant another 8,000 or so plants in the Fall, around late September allowing the plants to spread some roots before the freeze of winter sets in. I think we can safely say that Andrew is ambitious and he is truly growing this berry in a most natural and organic way. We can truly say that because we experienced his orchard first hand and it is a beautiful sight to see! There is so much to learn in life, I highly recommend checking out Rosy Farms and having a wonderful conversation with Andrew about this amazing super berry called Haskap which got its name from the ancient Japanese Ainu people, and whose meaning is 'berry of long life and good vision'. It is also known as the "Honey Berry" in our neck of the woods.
Nicoletta and I really enjoyed ourselves at Rosy Farms and the long table dinner which was prepared by Melanie The Nomadic Wife. As you can see in the pictures, the food table was incredible and beautiful featuring fruit and vegetables in their most natural form, and of course the star of the evening, the Haskap berry. I have to hand it to Mel, she did a beautiful creative job with the meal and want to give a shout out to all that helped her including Bri. Highlights of the meal: an amazing red beet hummus infused with haskap, an incredible Hascap perogy, Taiwanese tea eggs, and to finish the savory side of things an amazing pizza dough with haskap powder in the mix. All that needed cooking was done on the BBQ. I loved the rusticness of the kitchen, it was truly an experience of stepping back in time and the table made of wood pallets really set the mood for the feast that we shared. Thanks, Mel, for your passion and creativity. We were also blessed with some beautifully prepared Haskap cocktails and liquor tasting thanks to Aga @herbologie, with spirits provided by @blackdiamonddistillery. The evening ended with a delectable surprise: a Haskap inspired doughnut thanks to @frickindelights which we got to take home. The most memorable part of the day was jumping into Andrew's Mazda and driving down the orchard to pick some Haskaps. There is no better way to learn and experience food than seeing and feeling where it grows. Also, we met so many incredible people and made some new friends, one who helped us pick berries, Kaelin The Ruby Apron, a big thanks for sharing the experience with us and also for the abundant supply of Haskaps which you can see from our full basket in the picture and that was not all, a few paper bags came home with us too! This is food, it brings people, stories, memories, and sharing together with a few laughs in between. I think a great mix for a wonderful recipe called life!
Inspired by a farm feast dinner, a rolling hills orchard, and a man with a vision and a passion to see it through, Haskap Berry Hand Pies!
I know you may be thinking, Nicoletta is the baker, is Loreto converting? No no, lol. Nicoletta and I shared this post: she made the recipe and I wrote this post as I am not short on words and love to write about our experiences and I so loved these Hand Pies that she made. Nicoletta sure did these amazing Haskap berries justice.
I have to say when I see Nicoletta working dough I see in her that same passion as I saw in Andrew's eyes. It is in these moments that you are grateful because you can truly witness a person loving what they do and I feel blessed and grateful that I get to experience in the full sense of the word Nicoletta's amazing baked goods. I am not saying that because she is my wife, I am saying that truly because what she does with dough -and berries- is an amazing thing! I call her the "dough whisperer".
Look at all that juice just dripping out of the seems of this hand pie, is that not tempting, don't you want to grab one and bite in? Well, I did, and the experience was amazing. The tender, buttery, flaky deliciousness of the pastry was heavenly. Light and melt in your mouth good. Then these pockets of Haskap wonder oozing, tantalizing my taste buds with a sweet/tart dichotomy in a most pleasant balanced way allowing the haskap berry to shine, and I have to say these Haskap Berry Hand Pies are just too damn cute! Nicoletta, you really have a talent for baking and I am so grateful for it, thank you for allowing me to be a part of your world!
I want to thank everyone for giving us a wonderful day filled with so many jewels, and a big thanks to Andrew and Bri for being such wonderful hosts and making us feel like a part of their Haskap family, and for inspiring us to create and truly enjoy Haskap Berry Hand Pies & A Long Table Dinner!
Let's do it again some time, and for all of you reading this, give Haskaps a try, you will truly be inspired! Stay tuned for some more interesting and amazing Haskap recipes!
Song of the day: "I want you to want me: by Dwight YoakamPrint
Two more recipes featuring haskaps, here: