I KNOW, I know – for someone like me who, all my life, has recommended the use of foods in their local season, to think of writing about raspberries in March needs explanation.
This morning, on searching in my freezer for something else, I came upon a large box of frozen raspberries, which I had forgotten about.
They originate from the excellent Ryefield’s Farm Shop on the Black Isle and I remember buying a quantity of raspberries last September then having to go away unexpectedly, and freezing them. But I have plans for these berries.
At this time of year, they will be made into two of the three following recipes – the first, one of my most favourite of ALL warm puddings, baked raspberry and lemon pud. This simple and do-aheadable pudding consists of a light soft lemon sponge top with, beneath, a lemon curd-like sauce containing the soft raspberries. Served with crème fraîche or whipped cream, it is a comforting winner of a pud. I shall incorporate a few raspberries into a baked dark chocolate pudding, for which my recipe is second to none – but I hasten to say that this recipe was given to me by a Macdonald from North Carolina, so I can claim credit only for the inclusion of raspberries within it. Raspberries and dark chocolate are as good a taste combination as are raspberries with lemon.
And I could make a good raspberry sauce, to be served warm, over vanilla ice-cream. This sauce has a hint – a very mere hint – of cinnamon, as well as grated lemon in it. Raspberries that have been cooked release a different flavour to fresh raspberries, every bit as delicious, just different. I can’t think of a better way to use up my frozen berries.
Baked lemon and raspberry pudding
• 1lb/450g raspberries
• 3oz/85g butter, softened
• 8oz/225g caster sugar
• 6 eggs
• 2oz/55g plain flour
• Finely grated rind of 3 lemons
• Juice of 2 lemons
• ½ pint/285ml milk
• Pinch of salt
Thoroughly butter a wide, shallow ovenproof dish. Put the raspberries – thawed – over the base of this dish. In a bowl, beat the softened butter, gradually adding the caster sugar. Separate the eggs and beat the yolks, one at a time, into the butter-sugar mixture. Beat in the sieved flour then, with a flat whisk, stir in finely grated lemon rinds and juice. If the mixture curdles, do not worry, it all comes right in the end. Stir in the milk – it will be a very sloppy mixture.
Whisk up the egg whites with a pinch of salt and, again with the flat whisk, fold the whisked whites thoroughly through the lemon mixture. Pour this over the raspberries in the ovenproof dish and put the dish into a roasting tin, with almost boiling water coming halfway up the sides of the dish, in a moderate heat, 350F/180C/Gas Mark 4, for 45-50 minutes – the golden brown top of the sponge should feel firm to the touch. This pudding reheats at a lower temperature. Serve it warm.
Baked dark chocolate and raspberry puddings
• 4oz/110g butter
• 4oz/110g dark chocolate
• 2 large eggs plus 3 large egg yolks
• 3oz/85g caster sugar
• 2 teaspoons self-raising flour, sieved
• 8oz/225g raspberries, thawed if frozen, divided evenly between the six buttered and sugared ramekins
Thoroughly butter six fairly large ramekins and dust out each with granulated sugar. Put them on to a baking tray.
Put the butter, cut into bits, and the broken up dark chocolate into a bowl over a pan containing very gently simmering water just until the butter and chocolate melt. Mix them together, and take the bowl off the heat.
In a large bowl whisk together the eggs, yolks and caster sugar, whisking until the mixture is very pale and greatly increased in volume. This will take 5-7 minutes’ whisking. With a flat whisk, fold in the sieved flour and the chocolate/butter mixture. Mix thoroughly, and then divide this chocolate mixture evenly between the ramekins, pouring it on top of the raspberries. Gently fork the raspberries through each ramekin – so they are suspended in the chocolate. Bake the ramekins on their metal baking tray in a hot oven, 420F/220C/Gas Mark 7, for 9-10 minutes. Serve immediately, each dusted with a teaspoonful of icing sugar. Serve with vanilla-flavoured whipped cream.
• 1lb/450g raspberries
• Finely grated rind of 1 lemon and its juice
• A pinch of ground cinnamon, as much as can be held between your thumb and first fingertip
• 4oz/110g icing sugar
• 1 barely rounded teaspoon arrowroot – this thickens while leaving the sauce jewel clear, as opposed to cornflour, which thickens cloudily.
Put the raspberries into a saucepan with the finely grated lemon rind and juice, the pinch of cinnamon and the icing sugar. Heat over moderate heat, until the juices run from the raspberries, and stir, as the sugar dissolves in the juices.
Then, in a small bowl mix some hot juices into the teaspoonful of arrowroot, mix this back into the contents of the pan and stir until the sauce bubbles gently. Let it cook for a minute, take the pan off the heat, and serve the sauce warm with either vanilla ice-cream, or with peeled and cored pear halves.