Issue 07: Raspberries
This will be the last issue before we make our way down to the lands of afternoon teas, puddings, ales, chippys and Doctor Who. In just two days time, we’ll be sitting in a plane towards London. The British culture is very much engrained in our lives although we are no longer part of once-mighty empire. Our favourite music, TV shows, and books often originate from the UK – from J.R.R. Tolkien to Douglas Adams, Sherlock to Broadchurch, and Coldplay to Dry The River. Even our Dad watches BBC religiously (it’s bloody Top Gear).
And the food. Scones, fish and chips, Sunday roast, Victoria sponge cake, warm stodgy puddings, and the list goes on. There’s really too many reasons why London tops our go-to list. But enough of the UK, let’s go on to the main topic: raspberries.
The very first dessert I attempted when days were much more carefree was a vanilla sundae with poached apricots and crushed nuts. Well, it wasn’t a proper dish since the ice cream was bought. The recipe called for raspberry sauce and thus, getting me to purchase my first punnet of the crimson jewels. I remember my jaw dropping because the berries cost me a whole ten bucks for one small box.
Berries in general are not a fruit that is grown in this part of the world. It might be odd to feature raspberries since they are not locally produced, but one cannot pass up on these precious little bunches of beads. Raspberries are essentially a collection of drupelets that are fused together around a hollow hull. They are beautifully fragile; vibrant scarlet juice pops out easily if one is not careful. The red variety is most common in our markets, and we haven’t been able to see yellow or black raspberries so far.
When you taste ripe raspberries, it’s almost like popping wine pills into your mouth. In fact, the French did create Creme de Framboise and Chambord liqueur out of these hairy babies. Raspberries have a sweet floral flavour with a hint of warm musk. (Now, I sound like I’m describing perfume notes.) It’s essential that the fruits are kept cool in the fridge for a maximum of two days, and that they have no contact with water to ensure no damage.
It’s one of those fruits that can be enjoyed on its own, or paired with dairy products and a little sugar to become luscious sweets like a fool, trifle or cranachan. They may shine the most with cream, but they too pair very well with other berries and fruits such as apricot, peach, fig and pineapple. Other partners include nuts (think almond, pistachio, hazelnut), herbs like basil and mint, and game meat for savoury dishes.
Our only complaint was having to remove tiny seeds from our teeth. Other than that, raspberries remain as one of our loves.