Friday, July 22, 2011

Those delicious fruits of Summer: How to make them last. Maceration!

So many fresh, local fruits at the farmer's market, I cant help it, I buy too much!  It started with strawberries; they were especially abundant and delicious this year.  I bought too many.  After the glut of them with sugar, the rest sat in the refrigerator and it seemed, immediately began to rot.  Then came an issue of Saveur, with a note on macerating strawberries.  The berries I did this with kept, refrigerated, for more than a week.  And they tasted more intensely strawberry, but not sweet.  What a great technique. Great over ice cream or cake, or with yoghurt.

When the yellow, red, and black raspberries had a similar effect on me, I treated them the same way.  The fruits, though still uncooked, lose their substance and are soft, but I figured they would make a great pie.  I strained the copious juices from the fruit, added a little sugar, two tablespoons cornstarch, and stirred the wet mix constantly over a moderate fire (in a pot, of course), until thickened and clear.  Then I baked one of my coconut oil pie crusts completely.  Let it cool, then piled the fruit in it and topped it with the thickened sauce.  Gorgeous and delicious.  The lime and gin accentuate the fruit flavor in a delightful way.

To macerate, here is what you do:  For one pound of fruit, combine in a bowl the scraped rind and juice of one lime, three tablespoons of demerara (or brown) sugar, one half teaspoon of ground cardamom, one half teaspoon salt, and one tablespoon of gin.  Stir.  Add fruit.  Saveur said to quarter the strawberries lengthwise, but halving them is fine .  I didnt do anything to the raspberries.  sliced some peaches, just added a few blueberries.  You can divide your fruit in separate bowls to later arrange them in circles or other patterns in your pie, and combine all the juices to thicken and spoon over.

Now I have to think what to do with the gooseberries and currants waiting for me in the fridge.  I couldn't resist them either!