It is well into fall, and for the past few months I have been gathering, preserving, drying and freezing wild foods in preparation for the winter. The other day I arrived home from a foraging trip with some wild apples and a pocketful of barberries. It was a friend’s birthday and I decided to make him some pastries. After weeks of processing acorns and feeding them to my mill, I had several bags of acorn flour in the freezer. Since I’d use any excuse to do some baking, I decided to make some Autumn fruit newtons.
Back in the beginning of October I had gathered about a gallon of Autumn olives, which I had bagged up and put into our freezer. I thawed some of them out to then add to the barberries and apples for making the filling. I also had a bag of hickory nuts that I had gathered from a particularly generous tree. I mixed my fruit ingredients together in a pan, added a little water and some organic sugar and cooked it up until it had reduced down to a thick consistency. Next, I made my pastry dough using a mixture of acorn flour and all-purpose flour (to help bind it). Even with the binding all-purpose flour, it was still quite challenging to wrap the pastry around the filling without some cracking, but I soon had a tray of newtons ready to go into the oven.
It felt good to make a batch of tasty, wild fruit-filled pastries, using flour that I had made myself. Finding foods in nature can be most gratifying, feeding both the body and the soul.