Sunday, July 25, 2010

strawberry season

i can't just get enough of berry season. i find it difficult to use berries in recipes whilst they've been sun-ripened, & are so fresh & juicy. i simply love berries in a bowl of milk with a little maple syprup, or thrown into salads, or smoothies. that said, & because i cannot just buy/pick one quart at a time, i end up having to use quantities in a hurry, hence the following couple of recipes...

Strawberry Chocolate Puddin' Pie

as usual, i begin with someone else's recipe (or two), skeletonize it to patchwork my own. the beginning to this one is here, How to Make Vegan Pudding, but i'll revise it here...

Vegan Puddin'

2 Tbsp arrowroot (i prefer this to cornstarch)
1 cup coconut cream/milk
1 cup soy milk, reserve 1/3 cup cold
1/2 cup sugar (i must still experiment with other sweeteners)
3 Tbsp egg substitute*
3 oz. chocolate, chopped fine
2 tsp vanilla

Whisk first three ingredients together in a saucepan. Begin to heat, then dissolve the sugar, whisking frequently to boil.

Whisk egg substitute into cold milk otherwise it'll lump. Add this to the hot milk. Heat over medium flame for 4 mins.

*i have a store-bought one, but i will make my own, from here,
Starch-based egg replacer recipe for 2 eggs, sift together,
1 Tbsp tapioca or corn starch
1 Tbsp potato starch
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp xanthan gum (if you have it)

Add a scant 1/2 cup water and 2 tsp oil. Whisk until thoroughly combined and somewhat frothy.

This egg replacement works well in delicate, light-colored items like yellow cakes, and sweet muffins. It does not alter the flavor, like Ener-G Egg Replacer or Flax goop does. It provides the structure that egg whites normally do. It leavens like beaten egg whites do, because you trapped lots of air bubbles when you were whisking it (you did whisk it thoroughly before you dumped it in, right?) And it contains some baking powder. It provides the moisture and fat that egg yolks provide.

once the puddin' is made, i let it sit in the pot while i wait for the graham crust to cool. (once you can touch the bottom of the pie plate, put it in the freezer for a few for less wait time.) to the puddin' i added a handful or 2 of mashed strawberries, though i think i should have strained them. the pudding still set, but perhaps it would have been firmer still without the extra juice.

Graham Crust according to directions on the pkg,
1 cup crumbs
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup melted butter

i thought about putting some strawberry mash on top of the crust, but i put some into the puddin', maybe next time. i'm thinking it might soften the crust too much? suppose if i drain the berries well.

once crust is cool, cover in puddin' & put into fridge for a while, about 3-4 hours. while it is chillin', i washed & thinly sliced about quart of strawberries. i used most of it in a spiral atop of the puddin'. then i poured some maple syrup over the berries & sprinkled with cinnamon. i was going for a glaze look, next time i'll try these tips.

* tips * from the Joy of Baking
A fruit tart is best eaten the day it is made. So while you can make the pastry shell and the pastry cream a few days in advance, it is best to assemble the dessert the day it is to be served. The sweet pastry crust, also know as pate sucree, is prebaked and once the pastry shell has been baked and cooled, it is a good idea to seal the crust by spreading a thin layer of apricot glaze or even melted chocolate over its base. This 'sealing' prevents the cream from softening the crust over time...

Apricot Glaze
1/2 cup apricot jam or preserves
1 Tbsp Grand Marnier (or other liqueur), or water

Heat the apricot jam or preserves and water (if using) in a small saucepan over medium heat until liquid (melted). Remove from heat and strain the jam through a fine strainer to remove any fruit lumps. (If using, add the liqueur at this point.) Let cool until it is only slightly warm.

Variation: If glazing strawberries, raspberries or any other red fruit you can make a red currant glaze. Gently whisk 1/2 cup (125 grams) of red currant jelly over medium heat until melted. Let cool slightly and then lightly glaze the fruit using a pastry brush.

After arranging the fruit, rewarm the glaze, if using, and gently brush a light coat on the fruit. Do not put it on too thick or it will look like Jell-O. Try not to get any glaze on the tart shell. The idea is to make the fruit look shiny. If not serving immediately, refrigerate. Take out about 30 minutes before serving to give the fruit and cream a chance to warm to room temperature.

from a quick search, any jelly preserve seems to work, apple, currant, strawberry jelly. or you can start with a fruit syrup. To prepare glaze, combine 1/4 cup sugar, 1 Tbsp cornstarch, and 1/8 tsp salt in a small heavy saucepan, then stir in 1 1/2 Tbsp water & 3/4 cup syrup. Cook & stir over direct heat until boiling; boil 2 to 3 mins. Remove from heat & blend in 1/8 tsp grated lemon peel, 1/ 1/2 tsp juice & 1 tsp butter. cool & refridgerate. to turn it inside out, i imagine you can start with a fruit juice & experiment with extracts. okay, to remember the showcase, creaminess & berries, right.

& according to Paul Masse from Masse's Pastries in Berkeley CA, blackberries shouldn't be glazed.

Strawberry Cream Parfait

Peach Parfait from Mothering Mag is a great place for inspiration. let your imagination run.

mashed strawberries
favourite soy ice cream
crushed graham crakers

layered twice in dish. freeze. voila!

next time i was thinking about crushed cookies or granola, blueberries with a homamade whipped cream or vegan cream cheese concoction! that graham wafer crust above would be nice crumbled, & adds a rich cheesecake quality.


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