Spring means that strawberries come into their seasonal glory. Strawberries and other berries offer beautiful color and flavor and wonderful nutrition to spring and early summer meals.

Eating your fill of fruits and vegetables during their natural production season is one way to ensure you get them at their best and tastiest. And it makes a great way to mark the progress of the seasons.

Served in small glass bowls, this Red Berry Pudding, or what the Danes call “Rødgrød Med Fløde,” makes a beautiful deep red dessert. The pudding can be made with traditional fresh raspberries and currants, as in Denmark, or with raspberries and strawberries, as in the recipe below.

Rødgrød boils down the fruits to their essence and then thickens them with cornstarch or potato starch to achieve the pudding consistency.

Med fløde means “with cream.” For best results, use just a few spoonfuls of light cream. Heavy whipping cream or half-and-half will not have the same effect.

The following recipes are courtesy of Dana Jacobi’s “Something Different.” Jacobi is the author of “12 Best Foods Cookbook” and contributor to the American Institute for Cancer Research’s “New American Plate Cookbook: Recipes for a Healthy Weight and a Healthy Life.”

The recipe calls for frozen berries, but feel free to substitute fresh berries in season. (If so, separately press a few extra pieces of fresh fruit through a sieve with a spoon to get the additional 3 tablespoons of juice.):

Red Berry Pudding with Cream

Makes 4 servings.

1 (10-ounce) bag frozen raspberries, defrosted, at room temperature

1 (16-ounce) bag frozen strawberries, defrosted, at room temperature

2 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch

1/3 cup sugar, plus 2 teaspoons, divided

2 tablespoons sliced almonds, optional, for garnish

1/4 cup light cream, chilled

— Set sieve over mixing bowl. Pour defrosted fruits and their juices into strainer. Dip out 3 tablespoons of combined juices and put in small bowl. Whisk cornstarch into berry juice mixture until smooth. Set mixture aside.

Using a wooden spoon, push defrosted berries through strainer. Occasionally scrape pureed fruit on outside of strainer into bowl using a flexible spatula. When mashed pulp clings in a ball inside strainer, discard it. Measure pureed fruit and juices (there will be about 2 cups) and pour into heavy, medium stainless steel or other non-reactive saucepan. Add cornstarch mixture and 1/3 cup sugar to pot and stir to combine.

Set pot over medium-high heat and cook, whisking frequently, until berry mixture thickens and looks glossy, about 5 minutes total, taking care not to let it boil. Divide hot pudding among 4 small dessert dishes rinsed in cold water and drained but not dried. Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon of remaining sugar over top of each serving to prevent a skin from forming. Or, pour pudding into one large serving bowl and sprinkle with 2 teaspoons sugar. Let pudding sit until it is room temperature. Cover and refrigerate to chill. This dessert keeps, covered in refrigerator, for up to 3 days.

To serve, sprinkle sliced almonds over top of pudding, if using. Spoon 1 tablespoon of cream over each serving, or pour cream into a small pitcher and pass it separately.

— Per serving: 206 calories, 3g total fat (2g saturated fat), 45g carbohydrate, 2g protein, 6g dietary fiber, 9mg sodium.

Lemon curd dresses up berries in two ways in the following recipes:

You can pile strawberries into a bowl and string blueberries on thin skewers and serve with a bowl of lemon curd dip. For dipping, this lemon curd is looser and more tart than the classic curd, because Jacobi makes it with less butter and sugar.

Or you can use part of the lemon curd as a layer in a strawberry and blueberry parfait.

Be patient in the curd preparation, Jacobi says. Stir it gently for up to 10 minutes, or until it coats a wooden spoon lightly. Let it cool 2-3 minutes before vigorously whisking in the butter. Cool the curd completely before covering. It will still be quite loose and needs refrigerating for at least 12 hours to set up. A day or two is even better.

Lemon Curd Dip (for dipping with berries)

Serves 6 (about 3 tablespoons each).

3 large egg yolks

2/3 cup sugar

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, thinly sliced and chilled

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Whole strawberries, with hulls

— In heavy, medium saucepan, whisk to combine egg yolks, sugar and lemon juice. Over medium-low heat, cook while whisking constantly until mixture looks silky and lightly coats a wooden spoon. When you run a finger down back of spoon, it should leave a clear line. This takes up to 10 minutes. If mixture starts to steam, reduce heat.

Remove from heat, add cold butter and whisk rapidly until combined. Scoop lemon curd into bowl or serving bowl and let stand until room temperature.

Cover lemon curd with plastic wrap, pressing against surface, and refrigerate curd for at least 12 and preferably 24 hours. It will thicken as it chills. Lemon Curd keeps for 4 days, tightly covered in refrigerator.

To serve, set bowl of chilled lemon curd on large plate and surround it with whole strawberries and skewers of blueberries.

— Per serving: 152 calories, 6g fat (3g sat fat), 24g carbohydrates, 18g protein, 0g fiber, 5mg sodium.

To make a single parfait:

Berry Parfait with Lemon Curd Dip

Serves 1.

1/4 cup nonfat Greek yogurt, divided

1/4 cup blueberries, divided

3 tablespoons Lemon Curd Dip, divided (above)

1 whole strawberry with nice leaves

— In a parfait glass, layer 1 tablespoon Greek yogurt, 1 tablespoon blueberries, 1 1/2 tablespoon lemon curd dip. Repeat layers with 2 tablespoons yogurt, 1 1/2 tablespoon blueberries, 1 1/2 tablespoon lemon curd. Top with 1 tablespoon yogurt, remaining blueberries and whole strawberry.

Per serving: 210 calories, 6g fat (3.5g saturated fat), 29g carbohydrates, 2g fiber, 25mg sodium.

Reach Karen Herzog at 701-250-8267 or karen.herzog@bismarcktribune.com.

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