by Malgorzata Wolak Dault
I adore raspberries. In the midst of summer, the beauty of a few of them, nestling in the palm of my hand, juicy and fragrant when just picked from the raspberry bush in my garden, makes me ecstatic. I can only collect some of them because the rest belong to my birds, especially the Robins, who are even more crazy about them than I am. They guard them carefully and pick the ripest ones, waiting patiently for the other raspberries to catch up..
It is in Early spring that I begin to long for them. Because the fresh berries are not yet available, I usually start preparing my first fruit reduction from frozen berries. It's easy to make, aromatic, fragrant and colorful-- a bulwark against gray skies. Of course, you can use any berries (like blueberries, strawberries or blackberrie). When you come to cook the mixture, It is also worth noting that you can stop the process at any desired stage of cooking, moving first from a light fruit stew to a little thicker reduction to the point where, ultimately, the prolonged cooking will turn the mixture into jam. In order to create a deeper color for my raspberry reduction and lend it a certain tartness, I add the juice of one pomegranate.
This is what I do. First, I put 2 cups of frozen raspberries to a saucepan, adding approximately 1/4 cup of sugar. Then squeeze the juice from both half a lemon and a small orange and pour it on the raspberries. Next cut the pomegranate in half horizontally, and squeeze as much of its juice as you can from it and sieve it onto the raspberries.. Now, the mixture is ready for cooking. Using a medium heat, bring the mixture to boil, then reduce the temperature to low and mix further, cooking the raspberries to the desired consistency, remembering that after the mixture cools, it will be a little thicker than you may have expected. I do not bother sterilizing jars. I just transfer the finished raspberry redaction into a ceramic bowl, cover it tightly and keep it in the fridge.
I like to use the fruit reduction with biscuits, on yogurt, on ice cream and cheese cake. A few days ago, I drizzled some onto a chocolate cake--where it was sublime!.
The Raw and the Cooked, MYTHOLOGIQUES is a new column on the culture of eating and cooking, with contributions by various authors. The column name is borrowed from the title of a book by Claude Levi-Strauss. It is spontaneous, a little amusing but serious at the same time.