Apparently, raspberries, blackberries and roses are all part of the same botanical family. You can sort of tell, if you are paying attention – they bicker over who started it, embarrass each other in front of boyfriends by loudly anticipating grandchildren, and they won’t share their toys… OK, maybe not so much that, but you can tell, if you are eating really fresh raspberries, that they are related to roses. They have a faint, floral aftertaste to them that is distinctly rose-like.
This dessert brings the floral side of the raspberries to the foreground. I like to serve it over a pavlova, for a somewhat middle-eastern variation on the Australian classic (I have no truck with the New Zealand origin theory – nobody who truly understood a pavlova would put an abomination like kiwi fruit on it, surely).
I have no excuse for the strawberries.
Your Shopping List500 g strawberries 250 g raspberries 3 tablespoons (60ml) caster sugar + 1 tablespoon for the cream 1 tablespoon raspberry liqueur (an orange or cherry liqueur would work in a pinch) plus 1 tablespoon for the cream. 1 teaspoon rosewater (no more! Trust me!) 250 g mascarpone 250 g low-fat Greek yoghurt (I am aware this probably looks like shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted, fat-wise, but it’s what I have in the house and it does perfectly well)
Now what will you do with it?
Wash and hull the strawberries and cut into halves or quarters. Wash the raspberries and add to the strawberries. Toss the berries in a bowl with 3 tablespoons of sugar, 1 of liqueur, and the rosewater. If you must add more rosewater, for heavens sake, taste first and go slowly. I can’t overstate enough how easily rosewater can take over and go evil.
Let berries stand at room temperature for half an hour or longer. Meanwhile, mix together the mascarpone and yoghurt with the rest of the sugar and liqueur in a separate bowl.
Serve the berries and cream in meringue nests or chocolate or brandy snap baskets. Or just pile them up like a sundae in a big, tall glass. I think this recipe makes enough for about 4-6 people.
Blackberries or blueberries or any other berries would work well like this, I should think. Swap to a cassis liqueur if you use blackberries. Or you could macerate lightly poached apricots with orange flower water (another combination that brings out the floral undertones in the fruit).
If you are after a dairy free option, I’d suggest skipping the mascarpone cream (of course), and simply serving these berries with the gluten-free strawberry and almond cupcakes – using the dairy-free variation, of course. I’d serve the berries to vegan guests with a good soy icecream and / or with the vegan chocolate and berry brownies. They’d be great over a plain pound cake or sponge cake of any kind, too, or with a pistachio and rosewater cupcake. Yum.