Tag Archives: berry

Summer Berry Spritzers and a Mojito



~ Blackberry, Lime and Mint Spritzers~

It’s summertime and the living is easy. And what better way to enjoy the sultry season than with a refreshing, thirst-quenching drink? During this window of time when berries are prolific, I like to make a syrup which I add to drinks.  Depending on the mood or time of day, I’ll stir a few spoonfuls of the vibrant, tangy syrup into icy glasses of Prosecco or sparkling water. If we’re feeling extra festive, I’ll muddle a jigger-full with mint, lime and rum and call it a mojito. The following recipes call for blackberries, but raspberries are a great substitute. And if you’re lucky enough to have a bunch of black currants growing in your garden, then go for it.

Blackberry Syrup
Makes about 1 cup.

12 ounces blackberries
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1/2 cup granulated sugar

Combine all of the ingredients in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until blackberries soften and release their juices, about 10 minutes. Cool. Purée in a food processor, then strain through a fine-meshed sieve. Discard the seeds.

Blackberry Spritzers
Makes 1 

Ice cubes
1 part blackberry syrup
2 parts sparkling water, white wine or Proscecco
Lime wedge and mint leaves for garnish

Fill a wine or cocktail glass with ice. Add syrup and sparkling water. Stir. Garnish with lime and mint.

Blackberry Mojito
Makes 1 

1/2 lime, cut in 4 wedges
2 sprigs mint, plus extra leaves for garnish
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) blackberry syrup
Crushed ice
1.5 ounces white rum
Sparkling water
1-2 blackberries for garnish

Muddle 2 lime wedges, mint sprigs and syrup together in a sturdy highball glass. Fill the glass with crushed ice. Pour rum over ice. Top with sparkling water to taste. Garnish with whole blackberries, remaining lime wedges and mint.

 

Labor Day Dessert: Iced Meringues and Cream with Berry Compote

meringue berry tastefood

Celebrate Labor Day with this airy and luscious dessert.  Slabs of frozen whipped cream folded with crumbled meringues are served with a compote of the season’s freshest berries. It doesn’t get easier or lighter that this, a perfect last hurrah to summertime.

Iced Meringues and Cream with Berry Compote

Prepare the cream at least 8 hours before serving and eat within one day – which shouldn’t be difficult. Feel free to mix up the berries to your taste. Serves 8.

Iced Meringue Cream:
3 ounces meringues (about 10 [2-inch] meringues), divided
2 cups heavy cream
3 tablespoons sifted confectioners sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Compote:
3/4 pound fresh berries, such as raspberries, blackberries, strawberries
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Lightly oil a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan. Line with plastic wrap, leaving a 3-inch overhang on all sides. Crumble 1/3 of the meringues, leaving large chunks intact, and spread over the bottom of the pan.

Beat the cream in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment until traces of the whisk appear. Add the sugar and vanilla and continue to beat until soft peaks form.

Crumble the remaining meringues and gently fold into the cream. Pour into the pan and spread the cream evenly on top. Cover with the plastic overhang, then cover the pan entirely with another piece of plastic wrap. Freeze for at least 8 hours and up to 24 hours.

Prepare the compote: Combine the berries, sugar and lemon juice in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook until the sugar dissolves and the berries break down and release their juices, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and cool completely.

To serve, remove the frozen meringue cream from the freezer. Unwrap the plastic and invert the cream onto a serving platter. Remove remaining plastic. Cut into serving slices and serve with the compote.

Summer Berry Tian

~ Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries: summer in a dish ~

This berry tian highlights the ease of summer in its simplicity of ingredients and preparation. The season’s best fruit – strawberries, blueberries and raspberries -are blanketed with a cardamom-infused custard and baked, resulting in a refreshing and delightful dessert. Tian is a french word for a shallow earthenware casserole, often gratineed, an appropriately simple and elegant name for this dish. Enjoy warm or chilled.

~
Summer Berry Tian (2 ways)

This recipe results in a thick liquid custard filling, begging for a spoon. For a more souffle-like consistency, add the optional egg whites. Makes 4 – 6 ounce tians.

6 ounces raspberries
6 ounces blueberries
8 ounces strawberries, hulled, quartered
Zest of one lemon
4 eggs, separated
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
1 cup heavy cream

Preheat oven to 350 F. (180 C.) Butter four 6-ounce shallow ramekins. Sprinkle with a little granulated sugar, tapping out excess. Place ramekins on a baking tray. Arrange raspberries, blueberries and strawberries in one layer in ramekins. Sprinkle with lemon zest.  Whisk egg yolks and sugar in a bowl until light and fluffy. Stir in cardamom and cream. (If using egg whites, beat in a bowl of an electric mixer until firm. Stir 1/4 of the egg whites into the egg yolks and mix to combine. Gently fold in remaining egg whites).
Pour egg mixture over fruit. Bake in oven until golden brown and custard is set on top (it will still wobble when jiggled), about 30 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on racks. Serve warm (not hot) or chilled. Garnish with extra lemon zest.

Danish Red Berry Soup with Cream

Berry Soup and Cream
A few reasons why I like Denmark:

1.  I arrive in Copenhagen with a terrific sore throat and low grade fever.  My 83 year-old father-in-law sizes up my condition and states that a shot of Gammel Dansk (schnaps) will cure me.
2.  Shortly thereafter, I speak on the phone with my sister-in-law who happens to be a surgeon in a nearby hospital.  She hears that I am under the weather, and tells me that there are studies that support drinking red wine or rum or Irish coffee in reasonable amounts (her words) to offset a virus.
3.  I go to the doctor-on-call to have a strep test, and he takes a swab, acknowledges there is definitely something going on in the back of my throat, and says that in Denmark they do these tests only to decide whether it is absolutely critical to take an antibiotic to cure an ailment.  Result:  I have a virus, therefore no antibiotics.  (I personally support this philosophy.)  He then suggests rest and prescribes red wine with dinner.
4.  I return to my father-in-law’s house, and my 10 year-old daughter is helping him make dinner, cleaning potatoes, while he fries homemade frikadeller (meat patties) which are his singular specialty in the food-making department to serve us, his guests, for dinner.  She then tells me she would like to pick all the ripe gooseberries, raspberries, black currants and wild strawberries in his rambling garden and make Rød Grød med Fløde or Danish Red Berry Soup for our dessert.  She then adds that the berries will help to heal my cold, because that is how things work.  I agree with this, too.

Red Berry Soup
Danish Red Berry Soup with Cream 
Rød Grød med Fløde
Serves 4-6

2 1/2 lbs. mixed summer berries, such as strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, red and black currants
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Whipped cream or crème fraiche
Mint leaves for garnish

In a heavy medium-sized saucepan combine berries and sugar.  Heat over medium heat until sugar dissolves and berries release their juices, about 15 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Stir in lemon juice. Cool and refrigerate at least 2 hours and up to 8 hours before serving.  Serve with whipped cream or crème fraiche. Garnish with mint leaves.

Note: Any combination of berries may be used.  Depending on the combination and acidity of the berries, additional sugar may need to be added. Try to include black currants, if you can, as their firm texture and astringency add extra complexity to the sweet soup.

Red Berry Soup with Cream

100_1693

As if the Danish language was not hard enough to learn.

For us well-intentioned foreigners who have attempted to have a go at the language, there is an inside joke among our Danish counterparts when it comes to testing our purported linguistic skills.  Simply put, it is saying the expression “rød grød med fløde” which means “red berry soup with cream.”  Rest assured, if you wish to humor your Danish friends and family or fill an awkward lull at a Danish party, all you need to do is say this phrase. It never fails, in a Groundhog-Day sort of way. Your hosts will double over in laughter with tears streaming down their cheeks. Conspiratorily winking at each other, they will properly repeat the words to you and coax you to try again, eagerly awaiting the results.  Easily amused is all I have to say.  So, what is it about this phrase that never ceases to delight?  Suffice to say, that if you can even get your mouth around the correct sound for an “Ø”, you will stumble miserably when you try to pronounce the “D”, which when done properly in Danish, actually sounds as though you are saying the letter “D” with a mouth full of, well, red berry soup.
With that said, the upside is that even if the phrase is difficult – if not embarrassing – to pronounce, the dessert itself is sheer delight.  A traditional Scandinavian summer dessert, Red Berry Soup makes use of the region’s prolific berry season: strawberries in the beginning followed by raspberries, black currants, red currants, blackberries and blueberries.  Any combination of the berries are cooked with sugar, then chilled and served with whipped cream or crème fraiche.  Sometimes lemon or vanilla is added, or even chopped almonds for a more toothsome texture.  Every home has its own version.  The result is a fresh, simple and delicious dessert making use of what the Nordic summer season has to offer – as unfailing as the response I get whenever I say rød grød med fløde.

Red Berry Soup with Cream  – Rød Grød med Fløde
Serves 4-6
2 1/2 lbs. mixed summer berries, such as strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, red and black currants
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Whipped cream or crème fraiche
Mint leaves for garnish
In a heavy medium-sized saucepan combine berries and sugar.  Heat over medium heat until sugar dissolves and berries release their juices, about 15 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Stir in lemon juice. Cool and refrigerate at least 2 hours and up to 8 hours before serving.  Serve with whipped cream or crème fraiche. Garnish with mint leaves.

Note: Any combination of berries may be used.  Depending on the combination and acidity of the berries, additional sugar may need to be added. Try to include black currants, if you can, as their firm texture and astringency add extra complexity to the sweet soup.