by Eric Wharton
My Recipe Book, constantly being added to
I'm your huckleberry.
— Doc Holliday, "Tombstone"
Once, at the end of the day while working woods construction in the inland empire (the Pacific Northwest not southern California), my co-workers and I were riding along when someone shouted, "Huckleberries!" Immediately, the driver came to a sliding halt and everyone piled out, picking clean the huckleberries growing alongside the road. We all came away with our hard hats filled with huckleberries as dessert for our individual evening meals.
Several species of huckleberries are indigenous to the Pacific Northwest and mountains of Montana and Idaho, growing in various habitats such as mountain slopes, forests, or lake basins. Huckleberry was one of the few plant species to survive on the slopes of Mount St. Helens when the volcano erupted in 1980, and today exists as a prominent mountain-slope bush.
Huckleberries hold a place in archaic American English slang as well. The phrase "a huckleberry over my persimmon" was used to mean "a bit beyond my abilities." The phrase, "I'm your huckleberry," made popular in modern times by the film Tombstone, is a way of saying that one is just the right person for a given job. The range of slang meanings of huckleberry in the 19th century was broad, also referring to significant persons or nice persons.
Butter Crunch Crust: (or use pre-made pie crust)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup finely chopped nuts
1/2 cup cold butter
1 8 oz package cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup whipped cream or 1 cup whipped topping
1/2 cup sugar
41/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/2 cup water
2 cups fresh huckleberries (can used blueberries}, divided
11/2 teaspoons butter
In a bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar and nuts. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Spread on baking sheet; bake at 400° for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Remove from oven. While mixture is still hot, press into a 9-in pie plate forming a pie shell. Cool completely.
For cheese filling, beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until smooth; gently fold in whipped cream. Pour or spoon filling into cooled crust; refrigerate.
For topping, combine the sugar, cornstarch and salt in saucepan. Stir in water until smooth; add 1 cup berries. Bring to a boil. Cook and stir for 1-2 minutes or until thickened. Add butter and remaining berries. Cool; pour over filling. Top with additional whipped cream if desired.
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