A few weeks ago, I blogged about picking up berries in the hedge rows – free wild food… well.. free as in “spend no cash”, but after several hours in the delightful mugginess and bugginess characteristic of a Virginia summer, the numerous scratches that you have collected – not matter how careful or layered you were – and the (relatively) meager harvest, you understand why berries seem so expensive when you buy them. And those are the cultivated ones that grow meekly and obediently in rows and trellises. Wild berries are … well… wild in how they grow – and you do have to keep an eye out for snakes and bears. It’s always amazing the things some people will do for wild berries!
So I froze berries by the bag full and jubilantly made wild blackberry sorbet & wineberry sorbet.
Then I read about Sugar High Friday on FoodBlogga where bloggers and non-bloggers alike are invited to make a dessert featuring berries and send it to the organizer. The round-up is the brain child of Jennifer at the Domestic Goddess. I am very new to the blogosphere – having had high speed internet only very recently and just discovering all those neat food blogs out there. I am still struggling with a lot of the technical blog stuff, but I can cook (or so I’d like to think). While dessert is not necessarily my forte, I’ve got berries: besides the aforementioned wild blackberries and wineberries, the garden is currently producing a few late blueberries, day-neutral strawberries, the odd raspberries and alpine strawberries (neither of which by the way is a berry, botanically speaking; but that will be a post for another time). Mmm… I hope Jennifer meant “Berries” as cooks and gardeners would mean it – not as botanists…
[Update August 4, 2008: Stop by FoodBlogga where Susan posted today pictures and links to 82 desserts all featuring berries, some very simple and some quite elaborate – but all looking simply delicious.]
Anyway, why not try to make a dessert, a COOL dessert – as it’s way too hot to do any real baking around here – that I could send in? A dessert good enough for a festive occasion but simple enough to assemble on any week night – as all the components – except for the fresh berries – can be made days (or even weeks) in advance. It’ll give me a topic for a post and will make my friend Margaret happy since she asked me to post a sorbet recipe using berries. Voila! I love it when I can accomplish several things at once! (Margaret: do note, you are getting TWO new sorbet recipes, two herbal syrup recipes that may be used in ice-teas and cocktails AND the dessert is fat free if you omit the toasted almonds and the whipped cream)
And so Peachy-Wild Berries Jubilee was born.(It did not stay alive very long: hands kept trying to grab it as as was trying to take “one more picture”… and if you can pronounce the name 3 times very fast, you get to eat the jubilee).
Peachy-Wild Berries Jubilee
Yields: 4 Jubilees
Cold part (make in advance):
– 4 scoops minty wild blackberry sorbet, about 2 cups (recipe blow)
– 4 scoops lavender wineberry sorbet, about 2 cups
– 4 scoops white peach sorbet, about 2 cups(may substitute peach ice-cream)
– 1 cup mixed berries such as blackberries, blueberries, small or alpine strawberries, wineberries, marrionberries, currants etc;
– 2 Tablespoons sugar
– 2 Tablespoons peach liqueur (preferably homemade)
– 2 Tablespoon red currant jelly (you could use strawberry or raspberry jam or other red berry jam or jelly, but warm up and strain to remove lumps or seeds)
– 4 Tablespoons slivered almonds
– 4 fresh mint sprig
– Optional: Freshly whipped cream (if you must!)
Wash and hull the berries. Toss with sugar and liqueur. Set aside to macerate for 30 minutes or until the sugar starts to draw a little juice from the berries. Then add the currant jelly and toss gently so fruit is evenly coated.
Use 4 attractive dishes to prepare your dessert: plate or shallow footed bowl or sundae dish. Cool the dishes in the freezer for 30 minutes while the berries rest.
Toast the almonds until they are slightly fragrant (either in the oven or stove-top.)
Remove dishes from freezer. Spoon berries (and their juice) at the bottom of the dishes. Set one scoop of each sorbet on top, set in a pleasing pattern. Sprinkle one tablespoon of almond on each dish. Add afew more berries and juice on top. Top with 1 Tablespoon or more of freshly whipped cream, if desired. Pinch off the tip of the mint sprig and use it to decorate the jubilee. Serve immediately.
Recipe for: Minty Wild Blackberry Sorbet
Yields about 1 pint
– 6 cups wild blackberries
– 2 Tablespoon lemon juice
– ½ cup water
– ½ cup sugar
– A few sprigs of fresh mint (preferably spear mint), chopped
– Additional lemon juice to taste, as necessary
You may want to prepare the minty syrup and the berry purée the night before to ensure they are thoroughly cold before putting them in the ice-cream maker.
Berry Purée: process berries, and the lemon juice in the blender until you have a smooth purée. Strain the purée through a fine sieve to remove seeds. Set aside purée. Put water in bowl, dump the seeds in the water, swish around to try to remove as much pulp as possible from the seeds. Strain again saving the now purple water a.k.a Blackberry Wash.
Minty Syrup: Put Blackberry Wash & sugar in small sauce pan over high heat, stirring until sugar dissolve. Bring to boil and boil for 30 seconds. Remove from heat, add the chopped mint, cover and let steep until cool. Thieve the syrup, pressing on the mint to extract as much liquid as possible. Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.
Mix the Minty Syrup and the fruit purée thoroughly, taste and add a few drops of lemon juice if desired (the mixture should taste sweet and tart as the same time). Process in your ice-cream maker following manufacturer’s directions.
Recipe for: Lavender Wineberry Sorbet
Yields about 1 quart
– 1 cup water
– 1 cup sugar
– 1/8 cup food-grade lavender flowers, preferably fresh but dry will do (make sure they are food grade)
– 6 cups wineberries
– 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice – or more to taste
– 2 Teaspoons Triple Sec (or Kirsch or Framboise)
You may want to prepare the lavender syrup the night before to ensure they are thoroughly cold before putting them in the ice-cream maker.
Make Simple Lavender Syrup: In small sauce pan, bring water & sugar to boil stirring until sugar is dissolved. Boil 30 seconds. Remove from heat, add the chopped mint, cover and let steep until cool. Thieve the syrup, pressing on the lavender to extract as much liquid as possible. Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.
Measure ¾ cup lavender syrup plus 2 tablespoons. Put in blender with all remaining and purée until smooth. Strain through fine thieve to remove seeds. Taste and add lemon juice or additional syrup as desired. If you like your sorbet on the sweet side – and depending on how tart your batch of wineberries is – you may use up to 1 cup syrup total. Process in your ice-cream maker following manufacturer’s directions.
Recipe for: White Peach Sorbet was posted on July 21 under the post name Very Cool Peaches
Recipe for: Home-made Peach Liqueur was posted on July 19 under the post name An Orgy of Peaches