Wild Raspberries

I’m a shameless dork when it comes to picking wild raspberries. That’s me in the hooded net shirt. After the year that I came running back to the house with half a bucket of true beauties (the raspberries were comically huge that year, and the deerflies were uncommonly vicious …) and a maze of throbbing pink welts dotting my shoulders, my body shaking from the shock of that many deerfly bites all at once, I finally got smart.

Anyway, I’m too busy cooking to write this week! Raspberries, haricots vert and cucumbers all need picking. Kimchi and creme de cassis (made with black currants) are bubbling away in the pantry. Fermented pickles, cherry tomato confit and preserved eggplant are in the hopper. And I need to start freezing raspberries in earnest. I love them dropped into lightly-whole-wheat pancakes.

But here’s a quick recipe, if you find some nice raspberries: I dropped some onto my pie crust scraps, sprinkled them with sugar and baked at 400 until lightly golden. So delicious. Hank crushed them in his mouth, proclaiming it “good red tandy.” Raspberries=red candy.

And then I had to make pannacotta, because I like a neutral custard with the intense wild berries. I made this one with half-cream/half-yogurt and a touch of honey for flavor, and then sprinkled all of it with Thomas Keller’s chocolate walnut dentelle. The crunch is crucial. I’ll post the recipe after it appears in next week’s Star Tribune.
(recipe after the jump)

Here it is:

YOGURT PANNA COTTA

Serves 8.

• 11/2 tsp. gelatin

• 1 tbsp. cold water

• 11/2 c. cream

• 1 tsp. vanilla extract

• 2 strips lemon peel

• 1/3 c. sugar

• 2 tbsp. honey

• 11/2 c. whole milk yogurt

• 2 c. wild raspberries

• 2 tbsp. powdered sugar

Directions

Mix the gelatin with cold water in a small bowl and let sit for 5 minutes.

Heat the cream with the vanilla extract, lemon peel, sugar and honey until steamy. Turn off the heat and let steep until warm.

Whisk the gelatin into the warm cream until dissolved. Add the yogurt and stir until smooth. Pass the custard mixture through a fine mesh sieve into a large liquid measuring cup. Divide the mixture among 8 small custard cups and refrigerate until set, about 4 hours.

Pick through the wild raspberries, discarding bits of leaf and stem. Wash briefly only if they appear dirty.

Pick out 2/3 cup of the least beautiful or softest raspberries, and mix in a bowl with the powdered sugar, smashing with a fork until puréed. Let sit 20 minutes, and pass the mixture through a fine mesh sieve set over the bowl of remaining raspberries. Discard seeds and mix the raspberries and sauce together gently.

To un-mold the panna cotta: Run a thin knife around the circumference of the custard to loosen it, and dip the bottoms of the custard cups into hot water. Turn the cup upside down in the middle of a shallow bowl or plate and remove the cup. If the custard doesn’t come out, dip it again into the hot water. Serve with the raspberries and sauce.

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