Friday, June 29, 2012

A Celebration of Summer Berries

In the late spring through summer, berries abound at markets. It's hard to get away without grabbing a few pints of gorgeous blackberries, strawberries or blueberries, and in the scorching Texas heat, what better way to treat yourself and friends than with a berry tart, crisp, pie, granita, sorbet, or...the options are as endless as your creativity. When working with fruit, I prefer desserts that showcase the beauty of the berries (or whatever you're working with) and try to search for the perfect accompaniment rather than disguise. Oftentimes all that is necessary is a dollop of cream and something sweet and flaky. This way the berries' natural beauty may be relished visually and the flavor remains light, juicy and refreshing...perfect for a summer evening with friends, sparkling punch, and a celebration of the garden...

Decadent coconut cream cakes with raspberries, blueberries and Chantilly cream.

For this tart, we wanted to incorporate fresh garden basil, so we infused our pastry cream with it! In this version of a basil pastry cream, the basil takes center stage and is a heavenly Earthy surprise in every bite. A mint infused cream would work equally well.

A fresh spin on the shortcake: lemon shortcakes with a plum blackberry sauce, and of course, fresh cream.

Love the play of fresh herbs with berries. 

Keep it fresh: Check out this link to find local North Texas farms where you can arrange to pick your own berries, straight from the grower.