Vail baking: Raspberry cream a versatile desert
Vail, CO Colorado
VAIL, Colorado –Light, cool, smooth, and refreshing – frozen raspberry cream is a lovely dessert for warm weather in Colorado’s Vail Valley.
The raspberries provide an appealing sweetness that sings of summer, but what makes the frozen cream memorable is its unexpected texture – it’s fluffier than a mousse, softer and airier than ice cream and has a melt-in-your-mouth quality that brings you back for more, spoonful after spoonful.
With a garnish of whole berries and mint leaves, the dessert is both pretty and versatile. Served in stemmed glasses, it seems fancy and elegant. But, if it’s frozen in plastic cups, it tucks into a cooler and goes on a picnic with equal ease. I’ve hauled it to outdoor concerts, the fireworks display on the Fourth of July, and to numerous other outdoor events. On every occasion, it has performed perfectly.
It can stand alone or have an accompaniment. I think a crisp or crunchy cookie is an excellent contrast to the smooth frozen cream and often serve it with layered shortbread cookies or dipped chocolate chip shortbread.
You won’t spend all day in the kitchen if you make these frozen creams; they take a little less than half an hour from start to finish, and require few ingredients. And, best of all, they can sit in the freezer up to two days before you serve them.
When fresh raspberries aren’t available, I’ve made this dessert with frozen raspberries (you only need one and a half cups). When I do so, I forego the berry and mint garnish and decorate the top with a drizzle of raspberry preserve – the kind that is thick and has some whole berries in it.
Very little can go wrong with this recipe. Just don’t forget to thaw the desserts for a while before serving them. They’re OK when eaten right out of the freezer but a whole lot better when softened to a creamy state.
Four servings in 5-ounce containers
2 cups of raspberries, divided
3/4 cup of powdered sugar
2 teaspoons of Chambord, Kirsch or Creme de Cassis
3/4 cup of heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup of sour cream (light or regular)
Mint leaves, optional
Step One: Puree 1 1/2 cups of the raspberries in a blender, a food processor, or by mashing them with a fork until they are a thick liquid. Strain the puree into a medium bowl and throw out the seeds, which will remain in the strainer.
You should have about 1 1/4 cups of the strained, seedless puree. Add the powdered sugar and liqueur and whisk for a minute or two, until the mixture is shiny, the sugar is thoroughly absorbed, and no taste of cornstarch (an ingredient in powdered sugar) is evident. Set the mixture aside.
Step Two: Beat 3/4 cup of heavy whipping cream with an electric mixer until firm peaks form. (Chilling the bowl and beaters in the freezer before beating the whipping cream will speed up this process.) Add the sour cream and beat on a low speed only until it combines with the whipped cream. Fold this mixture into the raspberry puree until they are blended and the color is uniform. Pour the combination into the serving containers (I think the dessert looks prettiest in clear containers, so I use either glass parfait or wine glasses or, if I’m taking it on a picnic, clear hard plastic cups.) Smooth the top and, if any of the raspberry cream has splattered on the top or edges of the containers, wipe them clean with a paper towel. Cover each container with plastic wrap and freeze them for between six hours and two days.
Step Three: About two hours before you plan to serve them, place the desserts in the refrigerator to thaw (or in a cooler if you’re dining outside); you want to serve them when they are slightly softened. Garnish each dessert with the remainder of the raspberries and, if you’re using them, the mint leaves, just before serving.
Contact Vera Dawson with your comments about this column and/or your baking questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A new Hallmark Channel movie set in Vail, starring Lacey Chabert of “Mean Girls,” will make its debut on Saturday, Jan. 4 at 9 p.m. EST.