Berries Are For Good Eating!

Jan 05 2016 Published by under Uncategorized

Good-EatingSome of America’s most delectable confections owe their appeal to berries–which, thanks to their greater availability, may now be enjoyed for more than a month or two. All these fruit-filled desserts will be wonderful even when summer has slipped into fall.

Perhaps it’s the research that shows berries are high in the brain- and body-boosting antioxidants. Or the new cultivation techniques that now yield fruit from April to October. Whatever the reason, all of a sudden chefs around the country are brainstorming the berry.

At Magnolia Grill in Durham, North Carolina, pastry chef Karen Barker likes to pair strawberries and rhubarb. But instead of making the delicious pie we all know, she blends the two ingredients to make the light dessert consomme she serves after dinner. Chef Cory Schreiber of Portland, Oregon’s Wildwood Restaurant is equally inclined to give tradition a twist–he covers whole berries with creme brulee, after the custard is cooked but before it is cooled and broiled to caramelize the topping. Also in Portland, chef Greg Higgins, of the bistro that bears his name, regularly makes fresh berry vinegars and is keen on using huckleberries and gooseberries to make sauces for salmon.

Using berries in decorative ways keeps James Wagner experimenting. As executive pastry chef at the Mansion on Turtle Creek in Dallas, he often concocts what he calls vanilla berries. “You make a simple syrup with vanilla beans and pour it over a bucket of mixed fresh berries. When the hot liquid touches the fruit, it turns a beautiful pink, a lovely accompaniment to molten chocolate cake. The great thing about berries is that they are as pleasing to a plate as they are to a palate.”

Fresh Blueberry and Lemon Curd Tart

For the tart shell:

1 cup all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 stick (1/2 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into bits

1 large egg, beaten lightly

1 or 2 tablespoons ice water

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

For the lemon curd:

4 egg yolks

2/3 cup sugar

6 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/3 cup fresh lemon juice

1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon peel

3 cups fresh blueberries, rinsed and picked over

For the glaze:

1 cup apricot preserves, strained

2 tablespoons sugar

1 to 2 tablespoons dark rum or cognac, if desired

Lightly sweetened whipped cream as an accompaniment, if desired

1. Make the tart shell: In a bowl, combine the flour, sugar and salt. Add the butter and blend until mixture resembles coarse meal. In a small bowl, beat together the egg, 1 tablespoon of the water and the vanilla. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry and toss with a spoon until liquid is absorbed, adding additional water if needed. Form into a ball. Transfer to a lightly floured surface and, with the heel of your hand, gently knead the dough to distribute butter evenly. Form into a ball, wrap in plastic and chill for at least 30

minutes.

2. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into a round 1/8-inch thick. Fit it into a 9- to 9 1/2-inch tart pan with a removable bottom, trimming the edge with a rolling pin. Prick the shell with a fork and chill for 30 minutes.

3. Preheat oven to 400[degrees] F. Line the shell with parchment or wax paper, weight with dried beans and bake on a baking sheet for 10 minutes. Carefully remove weights and paper and bake 5 to 10 minutes more, or until golden. Let cool in the pan on a rack.

4. Meanwhile make the curd: In a heavy saucepan over moderate heat, combine the egg yolks, sugar, butter and lemon juice. Cook, stirring, until mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Do not boil. Strain custard through a sieve into a bowl and stir in the lemon peel. Cover with plastic, laying plastic directly on curd, and let cool. Chill until ready to use.

5. To assemble: Spoon curd into the pastry shell, smoothing into an even layer. Mound berries in the center.

6. Make the glaze: In a small, heavy saucepan over moderate heat, combine the apricot preserves, sugar and rum or cognac, and simmer, stirring, until sugar is melted and glaze is slightly thickened (2 to 3 minutes). Spoon or brush glaze over berries. Chill until ready to serve. Remove tart from pan and serve with lightly sweetened whipped cream, if desired. Serves 6 to 8.

Country Blackberry Lattice Pie

For the pie dough:

2 cups all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 stick (1/2 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into bits

4 tablespoons cold vegetable shortening, cut into bits

1/4 to 1/3 cup ice water

For the filling:

6 cups fresh blackberries, rinsed and picked over

1 cup sugar, or to taste, depending upon sweetness of berries

3 tablespoons cornstarch

1 tablespoon grated lemon peel

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons butter, cut into bits

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Freshly grated nutmeg to taste

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into bits

An egg wash made by beating

1 large egg with 1 teaspoon water and a pinch of salt

1 tablespoon sugar to sprinkle on lattice Vanilla bean ice cream as an accompaniment, if desired

1. Make the pie dough: In a bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add the butter and shortening and blend mixture until it resembles very coarse meal. Add 1/4 cup of the ice water, tossing with a fork to form a soft dough, adding more water if necessary. Divide into two balls, one slightly larger than the other. Wrap in plastic and chill 30 minutes.

2. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the larger of the balls into a round 1/8-inch thick, about 12 inches in diameter, and fit it into a 10-inch pie plate. The edge should overlap rim by about 3/4 to I inch. Cover with plastic and chill for 30 minutes.

3. Make the filling: In a bowl, gently toss together the filling ingredients. Let stand 15 minutes. Transfer to the lined pie plate and dot with butter.

4. Preheat the oven to 400 [degrees]F.

5. For the lattice: On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough into a 1/8-inch thick rectangle about 9 x 12 inches. Using a ruler and a pastry or pizza cutter, cut into 1/2-inch strips. Brush overhang of the bottom crust with egg wash and firmly press on the strips in a lattice pattern. Crimp the overhanging dough into a decorative rim. Brush the strips with the egg wash. Sprinkle lattice with the I tablespoon sugar.

6. Place pie pan on a baking sheet. Bake in lower third of the oven for 45 to 50 minutes, or until filling bubbles and crust is golden. Cover loosely with foil if crust begins to brown. Transfer to a rack, cool to warm. Serve with ice cream. Serves 6 to 8.

Red Raspberry and Wine Sorbet page 82

6 cups fresh red raspberries, rinsed and picked over

1 cup dry red wine

1 to 1 1/2 cups sugar, or to taste, depending on sweetness of raspberries Juice of 1 lemon, orto taste

Frozen raspberries and fresh mint sprigs for garnish, if desired

1. In a bowl, combine the raspberries, red wine, sugar and lemon juice, and let stand, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes. Transfer mixture to a food processor or blender and puree until combined well. Strain puree through a fine sieve into the cylinder of an ice cream machine and freeze according to manufacturer’s directions.

2. To serve: Scoop the sorbet into chilled serving dishes and garnish with the frozen raspberries and mint, if desired. Makes about I quart.

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