Wednesday, August 10, 2011

UnRecipe: Attack of the Razzies

I've mentioned this many times on this blog, to the point where the Betty Ford Clinic may have to get involved -- I'm addicted to sales, coupons and the like when I'm grocery shopping. So when I see a screamin' good deal like buy one package of fresh raspberries and get two free, I lose my mind for a little bit, and when I come to my senses, the fridge is freakin' full of raspberries. It's like The Lost Weekend or alien abduction-related missing time, with only the fruit to bear witness to whatever madness was put forth...

Getting razzed by raspberries - Photo by Wasabi Prime

This is not a bad problem to have, a wealth of raspberries. I'd argue it qualifies under the "First World Problem" header, as I'm sure many folks around the world would rather have a surplus of food versus none at all. Hence the greater pressure to make sure not a single berry went to waste. If you've ever bought these heavenly delicate, velvety, thimble-like berries, you'll know they mold if you just look at 'em sideways. I've literally bought a little container of raspberries on Monday and then have to throw them out by Wednesday because somehow there was one bad berry that just threw the rest into ruin, even in the chill of a crisper drawer. So my objective was clear -- aside from eating them as a tasty snack, which I did in spades, how else do I take advantage of this summery yet fragile fruit, and extend the enjoyment of them beyond the typical shelf life?

Berry overload? Easy, have dessert and a cocktail - Photos by Wasabi Prime

Dessert reigns supreme for raspberries. I made use of a seeded raspberry puree for a salad dressing, but I enjoyed the fruit best when it was made into a fluffy clafouti or mixed with white chocolate and churned into a creamy ice cream. I made a fairly large batch of raspberry puree, which made for really lovely cocktails, as well as a zesty topping for coffee cake. I can thank Martha Stewart for inspiring the clafouti; I get her Everyday Food magazine and while the recipe called for peaches, clafouti is perfect for any fruit, especially delicate berries, since it's got a great textural combination of souffle and custard, cradling the fruit nicely and allowing it to keep its shape during the baking process. I like pies and crumbles, but it's nice to enjoy a baked fruit dessert that lets you maintain the integrity of the fruit, and clafouti is a perfect fruit-celebratory baked treat. While I don't have the exact recipe on-hand, here's one from St. Martha of the Holy Busybody's website, for a basic raspberry clafouti.

As for keeping raspberries the longest, frozen desserts are probably the best way to keep them around. You can freeze the berries on their own, but knowing they'd just turn mushy, I just went for the ice cream gusto to finish off the last bit of berry goodness and keep them preserved like Han Solo in Carbonite. I'm not a big white chocolate fan. I feel like it's some big marketing scam to call it chocolate because it's just sugary sweetness without the complex, smoky, bittersweet goodness of real chocolate. I know, I know, there's cocoa butter in it, but I rarely seek it out. However, I admit that raspberries and white chocolate are a stunning pair and I had some leftover baking white chocolate, which I incorporated into a sweetened, eggy custard and eventually churned into ice cream, adding the raspberries in the last part of the churn. I kept the seeds in, as I think half the charm of raspberries is that pleasant crunch, a reminder that this was real fruit, not just some fruit-flavored jelly. Creamy ice cream with fresh fruit flavor -- not a bad way to enjoy the last few bites of berry goodness.

And then there were none. The crisper drawer for fruit is no longer brimming with raspberries. It's almost a little lonely in there. I only need to wait until the next shopping trip madness takes over and some other seasonal fruit takes over our refrigerator. Stay tuned...

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  1. Fluffy clafouti or mixed with white chocolate and churned into a creamy ice cream? My kind of thing! Lovely post, Denise!

  2. mmm!!! Haagen Dazs used to make the BEST white chocolate raspberry ice cream! This is the best thing I have seen since then! Thanks, Denise!

  3. hi, just posting to let u know i'm still lol-ing at 'First World Problems.'


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