Sunday, September 30, 2012

the end.

The end of what? Well, a lot of things. The end of shorts, the end of swimming in lakes and dancing with sparklers. The end of sunglasses and sundresses. The end of excuses for vacations. The end of wandering to the market and picking out a pint of berries, peaches and plums. I'm going to give one of my favourite summer fruits a grand send off. Go find the last of the summer fruit and bake something worthy of a last supper (summer?), then bid them a fond adieu until next year.

But wait! Fall is a lovely season. The chunky sweaters and rosy cheeks, the crunching leaves and thanksgiving feasts, warm soups and warm spices. I'll try and remember these while I mourn the end of the raspberries.

baked vanilla custard with raspberries
I adapted these from an old Food and Drink magazine. The original recipe used whipping cream, but I substituted 18% cream for a slightly lighter dessert. I've also included instructions for homemade raspberry jam, but you could use any thick jam you have in your fridge. These little guys remind me of fruit-on-the-bottom yogurt from my childhood, but a whole lot better. Did you know you can bake things in mason jars? As long as they are the kind you would use for canning (tempered glass), they are safe for the oven, and make a great substitute for ramekins.

1 pint raspberries
1/4 cup honey

2 cups 18% cream
1/2 vanilla pod
8 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar

extra raspberries and mint leaves for garnish

Combine raspberries and honey in a heavy bottomed pot. Heat over medium heat, stirring to mash berries. Turn heat to low, and cook until thick and jam-like, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 300. Meanwhile, bring cream to a simmer over medium heat. Split vanilla bean lengthwise, scrape seeds into cream, and add pod as well. Remove from heat and let steep for 15 minutes. Beat together egg yolks and sugar. Add a small splash of warm cream, and beat to combine. Add the rest of the cream, and whisk together. Divide raspberry mixture between 6 small ramekins (or mason jars). Gently pour the cream on top. Put ramekins in a ovenproof baking dish, and add hot water to halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake for 1 hour. Remove, and chill in fridge for at least 2 hours. Serve with raspberries and mint leaves for a garnish.

Makes 6 1/2-cup ramekins or mason jars

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