Raspberries – The Birthday Week Continues

Ok, I know that NaBloPoMo is over for another year and I was going to have a break from blogging – but I had to share this with you all.

Today I spent the morning gardening, collecting eggs and picking more raspberries and this afternoon we baked a Raspberry Cheesecake and Raspberry Upside Down Cake for my birthday tomorrow. Here’s the recipes – they’re both very easy.

Raspberry Cheesecake 

Ingredients:

1 prepared biscuit base (for a 28-30cm spring form pan)

6 large eggs     3/4 cup of sugar     500g cream cheese (at room temperature)

2 cups of fresh raspberries (more if you have them)    1 tablespoon lemon juice

Method:

Break the eggs carefully into a blender jar, add the sugar and cover. Pulse until the eggs are frothy and the sugar is combined. Spoon the softened cream cheese in, cover and blend until smooth. Add the lemon juice and approximately half the raspberries and pulse. I like to do this very briefly so there are still chunks of fruit and the colour swirls through the cheesecake mix.

Pour this carefully into the prepared spring form pan and decorate with the rest of the whole fruit. Bake at 150 C (300 F) for about 45 minutes. Allow to cool completely and chill for at least two hours before eating.

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Raspberry Upside Down Cake

Ingredients:

4 large eggs, separated         3/4 cup of white sugar      1 cup Self Raising flour

1/4 teas Bicarbonate of Soda    3 tabs butter    4 tabs milk   1 cup fresh raspberries

a few drops of Vanilla essence (optional)

Method:

Preheat the oven to about 200 C (400 F). In a small saucepan, gently melt the butter. Brush a Bundt pan with a little of this and put the raspberries evenly on the bottom. Put the Bundt pan aside while you prepare the cake batter. Add the milk to the butter and turn off the heat. Do not let this boil!

Mix the egg yolks in a small bowl and put aside while you prepare the egg whites. Beat the egg whites in a large mixing bowl until soft peaks are formed. Slowly add the sugar and beat back up to soft peak stage after each addition. Very slowly sift the flour and Bicarb in and mix it thoroughly, ensuring there’s no pockets of flour left.

Slowly pour in the now lukewarm milk and butter and fold it through. Pour this very carefully over the raspberries in the Bundt pan.

Turn the oven down to 150 C (300 F) and put the cake onto a shallow tray. Pour hot water into the tray to create a shallow water bath and bake the sponge for 25-35 minutes.

Allow to cool for 10 minutes or so on a cake rack before carefully turning out onto a plate. Serve slices with cream and extra fresh berries.

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Raspberry Time – Day 27 NaBloPoMo 2015

While I’m not feeling 100% today, I’ve been thinking about what to do with the soon-to-be glut of raspberries. There’s so much fruit on the bushes, I have a feeling we’re going to be inundated in the next few weeks. Growing up in South Australia, I never ate a fresh raspberry until I moved to Tasmania and they’re probably my favourite berry fruit.

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Usually I make ice cream or cheesecake with excess berries, which uses eggs up as well. But with Boysenberries, Youngberries and Loganberries starting to colour up too, I think it’s time to consider my options! I’m planning to make a Raspberry Upside Down cake next week for my birthday and already have enough berries for that.

All I do with this is make up a simple sponge batter with 2 cups of self raising flour, 1 cup butter, 1 1/2 cups sugar (more if you like it sweeter), a teaspoon of baking powder and 4 eggs. Instead of splitting the mixture into two tins and filling it with jam and cream, I put the fresh fruit on the bottom of a deep baking pan and pour the batter over the top, baking for 20-30 minutes in a 180 C (350 F) oven. Once the cake’s turned out and still warm, it can be lovely to pour hot lemon syrup over for added zing or (for the adults only version) poke the still warm cake with a skewer and pour over a citrus flavoured liqueur.

None of us are fans of jam so I am going to try mashing some with yogurt and drying it as fruit leather. But for large amounts of berries, I can’t go past Raspberry Vinegar Cordial. I first had this over 30 years ago on a hot summer day in Hobart and it is delicious.

The principle here is to use the vinegar to not only preserve, but also to enhance the tangy sharpness of the fruit. It’s fabulous for very ripe fruit – and it’s ridiculously easy to make!

Raspberry Vinegar Cordial 

Ingredients:

500g (1 pound) ripe raspberries     2kg (almost 4 1/2 pound) white sugar   2 litres (4 pints) white vinegar

Method:

Put the washed, drained fruit into a non-metallic bowl or pot and pour over the vinegar. Mash it to break the berries but don’t puree them. Cover the berry mash and leave it for a day or two. I have hear that some folk leave the mash for up to five days but I’ve never done more than two – patience is not my strong suit!

Strain the mash carefully through muslin or an old, clean tea towel into a cooking pot, squeezing out as much of the precious juice as possible. Heat the juice and when it’s starting to simmer, add the sugar and boil for approximately five minutes.

Decant into sterilised jars or bottles and seal immediately. If you want to keep this for winter consumption, I’d also recommend processing the bottles in a Fowlers bottling urn or water bath. Mine never lasts long enough for that!

What’s your favourite berry fruit? And how do you like to serve and preserve them?