Blackberry Ice Cream

Swirls of local blackberry sauce ripple through this cinnamon-scented ice cream.  A touch of mascarpone in the ice cream base makes it extra creamy and velvety!

Blackberry ice cream recipe with cinnamon and mascarpone

Today we celebrate my little fish by licking cones of homemade Blackberry Ice Cream!  Everett completed his first set of swim lessons at the old Vancouver Aquatic Centre, and this mommy could not be more proud.  Coincidently, this was his first ice cream cone too.  Cheers to you, big boy!

Blackberry ice cream recipe with cinnamon and mascarpone
Blackberry ice cream recipe with cinnamon and mascarpone

When I signed Everett up for swim class several months ago, I bet the parks department didn’t anticipate all the anxious thoughts that came flooding to my brain.  By the time this mommy remembered to sign up, every single class at the “nice” pool had an over-flowing waitlist and all that was left was a combo class at the oldest pool in town.  I was seriously kicking myself over this and couldn’t believe how far behind I was compared to all of the other “good moms."  How could I forget to sign up?  What else have we been missing out on?  It’s bad enough we never enrolled in baby sign language, and now my poor babe is stuck in the least-popular class in the whole city…

When I signed Everett up for swim class several months ago, I was hit with a wave of emotions.  If I sign him up now, will he be a world-class swimmer?  Will he hate every minute of it or will he want to head to the pool every day?  If we don’t sign up this year, will he ever stand a chance at becoming the next Michael Phelps (minus the drug use, of course)?  If we start too early, will he burn out and hate swimming all together one day?  Again, I bet the parks department didn’t anticipate all the anxious thoughts that came flooding to my brain just from filling out an entry form…

Being a parent is one crazy ride.  A majority of my days are filled wondering how my parenting skills today will affect his future.  That’s a lot of pressure to put on a first-time mom, let me tell you.  Like, if we don’t take swim lessons this summer, will he be afraid of the water his whole life?  Okay, I know that’s an extreme, but it does make you think.  What if it does come down to those early lessons in order for him to be on a collegiate team later in life?  I mean, those child prodigies must start their vocations around this age, right?  And if not a swimmer, I wonder what else my curious, creative, thoughtful boy will become?  Will he take after his father, grandpa, and great-grandpa and be interested in numbers and computers?  Will he want to be like daddy and start coding classes soon?  Or will he want to explore his creative side and pick up music or photography like Uncle Ryan?  He already pretends to cook with my in the kitchen, so I wonder if he could be a chef?  Or will he want to do something completely different from all of us and become a doctor or pilot or even a bear whisperer?  I look into his big, dark eyes and think, “the world is yours, baby boy.”

Blackberry ice cream recipe with cinnamon and mascarpone

Last week, this other mother tagged me in the most touching Instagram comment.  Posted below an image of a young girl holding a copy of my book, it read, “My daughter and I enjoy reading and dreaming through this book…Loving learning about baking and teaching my girl it’s never too late or too early to learn a new skill.”  Reading this quote brings tears to my eyes!  And you know what, she is absolutely right.  All this worry over what activities we sign our kids up for, or if they get on the wait-list for the top pre-school or not, or how one swim class at 18- months will look on their college application and I didn’t even start baking until I was 20, haha.  My own mother enrolled me in all of the right classes and I went to the best schools, but I didn’t event pick up a camera and set-forth on my current career until age 28.  And it’s not just me, Vera Wang didn’t design her first dress until she was 40 and Julia Child didn’t release her first cookbook until age 49!  Instead of worrying if the class I enrolled Everett in was the best/worst in town or if starting too early or too late will have a dramatic effect on his entire future, I should just focus on what inspired me to sign him up in the first place: for the experience.

When I look around at the other mothers and caregivers trying to change a wet baby out of a wet diaper in the family locker room, I know everyone else is there for the same reason.  We are all trying to do our best for our kids.  It might be the old, crappy pool and our kids probably won’t remember a thing from this summer, but damn it if we aren’t trying our best!  In no way is it "fun" for us moms to drag out littles down to the pool twice a week, convince them that the water is fun and safe, dunk them underwater against their will, then struggle to change our squirmy babies (and ourselves) into dry clothes and make it home in time for nap.  But every time Everett jumps off the edge of the pool into my arms or finds even just a second of peace during his dreadful backfloats, then I know it was a good idea that I signed him for swim lessons all those months ago….

Congrats to you, kiddo!  You did it!

On a side note, I’d LOVE for you all to take a few minutes to fill out this READER SURVEY.  It is super quick and easy, I promise!  This way, I can make sure that I am creating and sharing the kind of content YOU want to see.  Thank you!


Blackberry Ice Cream Recipe with cinnamon and mascarpone
slightly adapted from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream

2 cups whole milk
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon corn starch
¼ cup mascarpone, softened
½ teaspoon cinnamon
pinch sea salt
1 ¼ cup heavy cream
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons corn syrup
1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped out
Blackberry sauce (recipe to follow)

In a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together 2 tablespoons milk with the cornstarch to make a slurry and set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the mascarpone, cinnamon, and salt.  Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, heat the remaining milk, cream, sugar, corn syrup, and vanilla bean seeds.  Heat over medium-high and bring to a boil for about 4 minutes.  Remove from the heat.

Meanwhile, practically fill a large mixing bowl with ice and water to create an ice bath.  Set aside.

Slowly temper in a small amount of the hot cream into the cornstarch mixture.  Add everything back to the saucepan and whisk to combine.  Place the saucepan back over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, and bring back to a boil for about a minutes, or until slightly thickened.

Remove from the heat and gradually whisk the cream mixture into the mascarpone mixture.  Place the bowl over into the ice bath and refrigerate until cold.  Mean while, make the blackberry sauce (recipe to follow).

Once cold, pour into an ice cream machine and churn the ice cream according to the manufacturer’s directions.

Once done, pack and layer in the ice cream with the blackberry sauce into a loaf pan or other freezer-safe container.  Cover with a piece of wax paper and freeze until solid.


Blackberry Sauce
1 ½ cups fresh blackberries
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar


Place the berries and sugars in a saucepan.  Heat over medium-high until the mixture registers about 220 degrees F on a candy thermometer, stirring occasionally.  Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.

Place a mesh sieve over a mixing bowl.  Strain the seeds from the blackberry sauce and discard.  Refrigerate the sauce until cold.

Black and Blueberry Pie

Ripe, juicy blackberries and plump, local blueberries sweeten up this classic summer pie.  Each slice is overflowing with berries surrounded by an all-butter, flakey crust.

Blackberry and Blueberry Pie Recipe

I had so much fun making this Apricot Raspberry Pie last month that I had to turn around and make another.  Thanks to a generous donation from the BC Blueberry Council last week, I knew exactly what I was going to try next, the Black and Blueberry Pie from Four and Twenty Blackbirds

Blackberry and Blueberry Pie Recipe
Blackberry and Blueberry Pie Recipe

When I tell you how excited about my newfound love for pie is, I am not joking.  After the success of my lattice adventure and first all-butter crust experience, I quickly went out and bought the Four and Twenty Blackbirds Pie Book.  Over the past few weeks, I’ve been pretty enamoured by the Elsen sisters and their pie journey.  I know I am like 3 years late to the party, but I’ve gone as far as to question my entire being and wondering why I don’t have a sister to start a pie shop with, toyed with the idea of opening my own (then quickly remembered what it was like to run a cake shop), but most accurately, I have drooled over each and every one of their recipes. 

The photos in the book are absolutely gorgeous – not too trendy or overly styled - and the anecdotes make you feel like you are hanging out in their Brooklyn kitchen.  In fact, the next time I make it back to NYC, you bet it will be on the top of my list of places to eat.  No, Four and Twenty Blackbirds is not super new or anything, but I have fallen behind on all the hip, new places to dine in New York.  In my ripe old age of 32, I’ve completely fallen out of touch.  Even here in Vancouver, I can’t hardly keep up with the ever-changing food scene – not that could wait for a table with a toddler even if I knew where to go. 

Back in the day, my mom and I spent each of my college spring breaks in NYC bakery hopping and seeing the most current Broadway show.  I’m talking about a time where people were still discovering that the a line-up in the West Village led to delicious Magnolia’s Bakery cupcakes and the hottest ticket in town was for the original cast of “Wicked.”  I would have already scouted out the newest bakery or cake shop to check out and booked tickets to the latest shows before the winter quarter was over.  And as soon as I was done with finals, we would take the red-eye Jet Blue flight to NYC.  We would spend our mornings shopping or brunching at Sarabeth’s before sliding into our orchestra seats to see the amazing dancers of “Movin’ Out” or snag a last-minute ticket to “Rent,” because “Rent” live was always a good idea.  We would tour the art galleries uptown, then head back to Canal Street to barter over handbags.  Always a city girl at heart, I felt hip, cool, and totally "alive" (although using those words probably means that I wasn’t, lol).

Blackberry and Blueberry Pie Recipe
Blackberry and Blueberry Pie Recipe

To say I was lucky is a total understatement.   I was always grateful for our trips, but looking back now, I bet I didn’t know just how good I had it.  Of course the time spent together bonding was priceless, and for my mom, it meant her daughter wasn’t off partying somewhere else during spring break, but those years were truly unforgettable.

I wouldn’t say I took those trips to NYC for granted, but sometimes I wish I could go back to experience each moment to its fullest.  I won’t be hopping on any red-eyes any time soon, yet I yearn for just a few days to eat my way around the city.  I know I sound ridiculous, but I’ve totally missed out on the rise of pastry phenomena like Momofuko Milk Bar, Dominique Ansel, and Four and Twenty and as a dessert blogger I feel that it is my duty to go, lol.   Even before Everett was born, I wish we had made it for one last girls trip...  

Lucky for people like me or anyone else that is in a point in their lives where they are a bit more anchored down with their families, careers, etc, there are fabulous cookbooks that make you feel like you are part of the experience.  I bet a pie made by the hands of the Elsen girls themselves tastes 10X better; at least I can still try my hand at one of their recipes in my own home across the continent.  Now if only we could get a version of "Hamilton" broadcast to all of use that can’t hop over to NYC in the near future, then I’d be a little more content “stuck” on the west coast, hehe.

Blackberry and Blueberry Pie Recipe

Black and Blueberry Pie

All-Butter Crust
adapted from Hummingbird High

2 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 cup + 2 tablespoons very cold butter, diced
½ cup cold water
¼ cup ice
1 tablespoon apple cider or white vinegar
1 egg
splash milk
turbinado sugar, for sprinkling

1.  In a large bowl, stir together the flour, salt, and sugar.  Place the ice in the water and set aside.

2.  Cut in the cold butter with a pastry cutter or by hand, rubbing the pieces of butter between your thumb, index, and middle fingers.  Once the pieces are no longer lager than about a peanut, begin to flatten the pieces of butter in sheets between your palms.  Be careful not to over-work the butter or let it get too warm.

3.  Working with only a couple tablespoons at a time, add in about 6 to 8 tablespoons of the water along with the vinegar.  Stir together using a wooden spoon or even just a clean hand in the bowl.  The dough should appear fairly shaggy and not sticky.  Once you can squeeze a few pieces together and they hold, the dough is done being mixed.  Do not over-mix.

4.  Divide the dough into half and shape each piece into a disk.  Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least a couple of hours, or overnight (preferably).

5. Once ready, bring one disc out of the refrigerator and allow to rest for about 10 minutes.  Liberally flour the work surface and begin to roll out the dough, working from the center out – rotating the dough after each roll.  Roll the dough until about ¼ inch thick and about 12 to 13 inches in diameter. 

6.  Gently roll the dough around the rolling pin and transfer to a 8 or 9 inch pie tin.  Fit the dough into the bottom of the tin and up the sides, allowing for about an inch of overhang.  Trim with kitchen sheers and place back in the refrigerator.

7.  For the braided top, repeat step 5.  Using a ruler and a paring knife, cut 18 strips, about a 1/2-inch wide.  Braid in groups of three and place on a baking sheet or cutting board and place in the refrigerator, along with any leftover dough.

8.  Meanwhile, make the filling (recipe to follow).

9.  Fill the chilled pie crust with the filling (fruit and juices).  Remove the braids from the refrigerator and place on top of the filling. Allow for some excess dough on the end of each strip, then trim.

10.  Fold all of the excess dough around the edges under itself and crimp using your thumb and index finger (see NOTES).

12.  Return the pie back to refrigerator for at least 15 minutes.  Meanwhile, pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.

13.  Just before heading into the over, create an egg wash by whisking together a whole egg and a splash of milk.  Brush the egg wash over the entire top of the crust and sprinkle with turbinado sugar.

14.  Place pie on a baking sheet and bake for about 40 to 45 minutes, or until golden brown.  If the top begins to brown too quickly, cover with foil.

15.  Allow the baked pie to completely cool before slicing and serving.

Blackberry and Blueberry Pie Recipe

Black and Blueberry Filling
adapted from the Four and Twenty Blackbirds Pie Book

4 cups fresh blueberries
2 cups fresh blackberries
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons corn starch
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt

Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl.  Allow to macerate for about 15 minutes before pouring into the chilled pie shell.

Blackberry and Blueberry Pie Recipe

Baker’s Notes
      I hardly ever make pie, so I didn’t have a go-to pie crust recipe on hand.  I relied on this all-butter crust from my pie-making pal Michelle of Hummingbird High.  Be sure to check out her post all about pie for more information.

      Speaking of great pie tips, check out Adrianna’s pie post on A Cozy Kitchen.

      When in doubt, keep that butter COLD!!  Be sure to refrigerate the pie dough between each step.  Keep the butter cold will help prevent the baked crust from shrinking.  Don’t quote me on this, but cold butter should also make for a more flakey crust as it helps keeps gluten formation in the flour to a minimum (please forgive me, as I may have just made that up…).

      Feel free to adjust the amount of sugar in the filling slightly to adapt to the ripeness of the fruit.

      Allow the pie to cool completely before slicing.  Like, really.  Multiple hours (at least 2 to 4 hours).

-    For this particular pie, I folded the excess crust from around the edges up and IN towards the center.  After watching pie videos on Erin McDowell's Instagram, I noticed she folds excess dough UNDER before crimping.  So much prettier!

A big THANK YOU to the BC Blueberry Council for their generation donation of fresh, local berries!