Recipe For Health
from the kitchen of the MSU Residence Halls
Featured Food: Blackberries Yield: Serves 6-12Learn more about Blackberries


  • 1 ball (16 oz.) frozen pizza dough, thawed in refrigerator overnight
  • 1 t. canola oil
  • ½ c. mascarpone cheese
  • ½ c. Neufchatel cheese
  • 2 T. honey
  • 1 T. ground cinnamon
  • ½ t. nutmeg
  • 2 to 3 medium peaches
  • 1 pt. fresh blackberries
  • 2 t. minced fresh mint
  • 1 T. orange zest


Preheat baking stone in 350°F oven.

Place thawed dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Let dough rest for 10 to 20 minutes until it reaches room temperature. Shape dough into 14-inch round; pinch the edge of the dough to form a ¼-inch lip around the pizza resembling a tart shell. Lightly dust a baker's peel with flour. Slide dough onto the peel; brush dough with canola oil. Slide dough from the peel onto the hot baking stone (if you do not have a peel and baking stone, place the dough on a lightly oiled baking sheet or pizza pan) and cook in 350°F oven until the crust is set, 8 to 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, beat together the mascarpone, Neufchatel, honey, cinnamon and nutmeg; set aside.

Rinse, remove pit (remove skin, if desired) and rough cut peaches; set aside. Rinse blackberries and drain on paper towel; set aside.

After pizza is cooked, with the bottom of the crust crisp, remove from oven and let rest for 2-3 minutes. Then spread cheese mixture on the dough, and arrange peaches and blackberries over cheese mixture. Finish pizza with minced fresh mint and orange zest. Cut and serve.

Learn More About Blackberries

I wonder why makers of electronics choose fruit names for their inventions. The innocent blackberry is a perfect example. What possible connection could lead a marketing team down this thorny path? Perhaps they wanted to take a bite out the business plan of another electronics company with fruit-as-a-name. In the end, the best reason I could come up with is aggregation. Both blackberries, the fruit and the phone, are all about connectivity.

The blackberry is an aggregate fruit, that is, each berry is composed of many smaller fruits or drupes. Blackberries grow on prickly shrubs known as brambles. Their spiky thorns are so wicked that blackberry brambles have been used for centuries as hedges to keep intruders out. In the interest of picking versus protecting, plant breeders have cultivated thornless blackberry varieties.

Picking tasty blackberries is straightforward so long as you remember their first name—black. Select berries that are fully black, plump and firm. Unripe blackberries, those with even a hint of red or purple, will not ripen once they are picked.

Bring home only what you can use within a day or two. Blackberries are delicate and will mold quickly at room temperature. They will keep in the refrigerator for a day or two depending on their freshness. Give them a quick rinse with clear water but not until you’re ready to eat them.

Blackberries have some features that let you tell them apart from black raspberries. A black raspberry is small with a bluish waxy coating and a hollow center; the core stays on the plant when the berry is picked. A blackberry, on the other hand, is big and shiny with an edible white core in its center.

Tart blackberries pair perfectly with sweet peaches in pies, tarts, crisps, cobblers and as topping for ice cream. Spread the word on your electronic device!

Peggy Crum MA, RD

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