They’re here at last — berries. And they’re everywhere. Stand by for an avalanche of blueberries, blackberries, strawberries and raspberries. Eat them on morning cereal. In muffins. In salads. In desserts, both homely and fancy. Total berry indulgence.
They’re here at last — berries. And they’re everywhere.
Stand by for an avalanche of blueberries, blackberries, strawberries and raspberries. Eat them on morning cereal. In muffins. In salads. In desserts, both homely and fancy. Total berry indulgence.
Use the best and brightest in fresh, uncooked recipes. When they start to soften after a few days, use them in frozen yogurt or a pudding. Not the Jell-O variety but the recipes of frugal early American cooks.
Knowing the season to be short and refrigeration not yet invented, rather than let the berries go bad, early Americans combined them with other ingredients for an extra treat.
The frozen berry yogurt below needs only four ingredients and is easy to put together. Make it a day ahead to be sure everything has solidified in the freezer.
To prepare berries, hull strawberries. You don’t need a special tool for that, just give the leaf section a v-shaped cut with a sharp paring knife. Then, put them in a colander and hold under running water for 20 seconds.
MIXED BERRY PUDDING
This was passed along by a friend, and I have not tried it yet. As it is uncooked — there is no custard to hold the ingredients together — I think it would be easier to scoop it with an ice cream scoop rather than slicing or cutting in squares.
2 pints strawberries, hulled and quartered
2 pints blueberries
2 pints blackberries
2 pints raspberries
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 loaf Portuguese bread or brioche, sliced
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1. Line a 9- or 10-inch springform pan with plastic wrap and place on a rimmed oven sheet.
2. Make a sauce by combining the berries, 1 cup sugar, the vanilla extract, and 1/4 cup water in a pot. Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer, stirring to dissolve sugar, 7 minutes. Set aside.
3. Spread bread slices with butter; cut bread into large cubes. Mix remaining sugar and ground cinnamon together and sprinkle over bread.
4. Drizzle about 1/4 cup of berry sauce to cover the bottom of springform pan. Add a single layer of bread cubes to cover the bottom. Pour about 1-1/2 cups berry sauce over the bread. Repeat the layering and sauce twice more. Pour remaining sauce over the top.
5. Cover the top with plastic wrap. Weight the pudding down with a plate on top so that the bread is covered by the sauce. Chill for at least 1 hour and up to 2 days before uncovering the pudding. Invert the springform pan on to a plate; release the sides, and remove the plastic and the pan bottom. Scoop into ice cream bowls. Add whipped cream and fresh berries on top. Makes 6 to 8 servings.
SUMMER BERRY YOGURT
4 cups mixed strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup frozen orange juice concentrate
2 cups plain Greek yogurt
1. Puree all the berries in a food processor. Place a strainer over a large bowl and pour the mixture to strain out the seeds, working in batches and tapping the rim to shake the liquid through it. Tap the rim of the strainer and stir the berries with a spoon to push through the strainer. Discard seeds; pour the puree back into the processor.
2. Add the sugar, orange juice concentrate and yogurt; process until smooth and combined.
3. Pour the mixture into an 8-by-8-inch baking pan. Freeze until solid, about 3 hours.
4. Break it up into chunks; process again until smooth. Pour it back into the baking pan. Return to the freezer until it is the consistence of ice cream, about 4 hours. If it gets too hard to scoop, put it in the refrigerator for 15 to 30 minutes. Leftovers store up to 3 days in the freezer. Makes 8 servings.
Linda Bassett is the author of “From Apple Pie to Pad Thai: Neighborhood Cooking North of Boston.” Reach her by e-mail at KitchenCall@aol.com. Read Linda’s blog at LindABCooks.wordpress.com. Follow Linda for quick recipes on Twitter at @Kitchencall.