One of the best things about summer is that it's berry season. These rich colored gems are perfect in everything from cakes to ice cream, from pies to tortes. They add snap and sweetness , livening up any recipe.
Famed chef and pastry chef , Yotam Ottolenghi wrote about them in today's New York Times Food section. He only discovered them when he was a young man and cycling through the Netherlands and Belgium to Paris. He did have fruit growing up, mostly from trees. namely figs, pomegranates, lemons and dates, but berries growing on low to the ground bushes were a novelty to him. His interest was piqued by famed chef Rowley Leigh. Chef Leigh did with berries what Middle Eastern chefs do with herbs - use them in absolute abundance,They need to be the building blocks of the recipe.Chef Ottolenghi's own recipes include berry infused icings and butter creams. he studs them in cakes and tarts, mixing them with those fruits of his childhood. Lemon is probably one of the best partners for berries, as its'tartness and simplicity marries the sweetness and layered complexity of any berry.
This is obvious in the his recipes. There is a blueberry, almond and lemon cake, perfect for any summer get together, from birthday to barbecue. He combines a cup and a half of fresh blueberries with both lemon juice and lemon zest. Lemon glaze finishes it off, so the cake, which is more of a pound, is not overwhelming with the taste of blueberries. Almonds also temper this , in the form of flour. His other recipe also marries nuts and berries. This time he uses pistachios and raspberries.The crust also has a taste of lemon to it, along with white wine vinegar. The filling combines a heaping cup of raspberries with two and a half cups of raw, shelled pistachios. He roasts and mashes these , until they're almost like a nut butter. Eggs are then added for body and then it's placed in the pastry shell. The raspberries are then sprinkled over the filling and baked.It comes out kind of like pistachio marzipan
Take advantage of berry season. Use those ripe. rich gems in such treats as tarts and cakes. Enjoy their,earthy sweet, flavor..