I meant to post this yesterday but I found out that home improvements seriously interferes with blogging. Noting like holding crown molding with one hand and typing with the other, right?!! We decided to tackle the little things we skipped when we built our house (and I mean "we" as owner/builder), exhausted after 15 months spent on a dream and ready to relax on the sofa with a book and a cup of tea. In that spirit, it looks like my friend Inne from Vanille & Chocolat might be coming to the end of her DIY home improvements and share with us this lovely Lemon And Lavender Cake. I am mentioning this, because in the world of food blogging, two things that will never cease to amaze me in the awesome sense of community and incredible friendships that we create. We take notice when somebody does not update for a while, we inquire about certain recipes and enthusiasm and support are kings! Having this cookbook giveaway this past weekend was a way for me to pass on the goodwill and tell you how much I appreciate your support and readership. two things that push me to improve in all aspects of life.
With this said…I am happy to announce the winner of the Nestle dessert cookbook: Congratulations to Kelli from Life In General, in Texas! Send me your mailing address at marinette1 @ comcast . net and the book will be on your way! Thanks to all that participated, it was really great to read about all your favorite cookbooks and I have since added a few to my wish list.
This weekend was what I consider typical April weather, well the kind of days I grew up with, and that makes me very nostalgic about home and my family. Sunny and windy, warm and inviting, with fresh and fragrant smells of blooming trees. The kind of weekend that makes you want to kiss the familiar comfort of winter goodbye and embrace the warmer days ahead. When C. called to get together as we do on most Saturdays (oyster roasts, bbqs, etc…) to ask what I was bringing for dessert, I said "I have got ice cream churning, still figuring out the rest"…which was a complete lie but I don’t like telling her what I am bringing ahead of time, spoils the fun of having dessert, don’t you think?
This Warm Berry Crumble With Fromage Blanc Ice Cream was completely in sync with the day itself and inspired by one of my favorite cookbooks, the "Larrousse Des Desserts" by Pierre Herme (I know, I know…him again). No oven was turned on and yet it sent us back to the few colder days we had: the berries are cooked on the stove with a splash of olive oil, white balsamic vinegar and a dash of cracked black pepper, the crumble part is just crushed ginger snap cookies (crumbled graham cracker sheets work great too). I used a mix of strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries, basically whatever I had in the refrigerator that day that needed to get used pronto. Next time I might add a bit of rhubarb to it, it is so beautiful this time of year and I go through pounds of it like mad in April and May.
The promise of warmer days called for some ice cream to top the crumble with, and I went for one of my new favorites, fromage blanc ice cream. One of the things I miss the most about home is having "fromage blanc" at the end of a meal with a fruit (typical dessert in my family) or in the morning with some granola on top. You can find it at nicely stocked health food stores, or even online, but it can cost an arm and leg (money I’d rather save for the increasing price of flour lately). Thus, I started making my own at home following this recipe, and keep it well covered in the refrigerator. In a pinch, I found that Greek Yogurt works great for the ice cream, both have similar texture and taste, and I realise that not everybody is considering buying a cow and a goat like I am sometimes so I could have all my favorite dairy product readily available.
I already talked about how cancer affected my life by taking away family members and friends, but one thing occured to me while I was making these: they are packed of wonderful nutrients and essentials vitamins and minerals. Berries are natural superfoods, full of radical fighting agents and the yogurt or fromage blanc is packed with digestive building bacteria, all crucial for healthy living. I hope that Chris from Mele Cotte will agree and include these in her Cooking To Combat Cancer Event.
Warm Berry Crumble With Fromage Blanc Ice Cream:
For the ice cream:
400 ml water
240 gr. sugar (about 1 cup)
zest and juice of one lemon
350gr. fromage blanc (or use store bought or Greek yogurt)
In a large and heavy saucepan, bring the water to a boil with the sugar, zest and juice of the lemon, until the sugar is dissolved. Let cool completely. Add the fromage blanc and and whisk until well blended (it is ok if it appears to separate, it will come together in the ice cream process). If you have an ice cream maker, freeze and process the mixture according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
If you do not ave an ice cream maker: freeze the mixture for a couple of hours, take it out and give it a good whip either with a stand mixer or a hand held blender, repeat the process a couple of times, every two hours.
For the crumbles:
1 – 2 cups coarsely crushed ginger snap cookies or graham crackers (amount will vary according to the size of your dishes and how "crumbly" you want to get versus the amount of fruit)
2 cups mixed red berries
1 Tb olive oil
1/4 cup sugar
1 Tb white balsamic vinegar
1/4 tsp cracked black pepper
In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat, add the berries and cook just until they start to soften. Remove from the stove and add the vinegar and black pepper.
Sprinkle some cookie crumbs at the bottom of your glasses or dishes, divide the berries evenly on top, add some of the juices too. Top with some more crumbs of desired and a scoop of ice cream.