Plenty of raspberries for great desserts

July 15, 1998|By Elinor Klivans | Elinor Klivans,LOS ANGELES TIMES SYNDICATE

For most of the year, raspberries fall into the break-the-budget category, but for several weeks every summer most of us can feast on local raspberries at an affordable price.

This is great news, since fresh raspberries are ready to use and add instant luxury to lazy summer desserts. If you want a truly instant dessert, just fill stemmed glasses with raspberries and whipped cream or cover vanilla ice cream with a handful of the berries.

When choosing containers of raspberries, look for cartons that have no juice leaking out of the bottom and are filled with dark red berries without stems or hulls. The top of the center of the raspberry should have a small hole where the central white core remained on the bush.

Raspberry-Stuffed White Chocolate Mousse

Makes 8 servings

2 cups cold whipping cream

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

9 ounces white chocolate, chopped

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

2 cups fresh raspberries

Have ready serving bowl with at least 6-cup capacity. Heat 1/2 cup cream and butter in medium saucepan over low heat until mixture is hot and butter melts. Do not let mixture boil. Remove pan from heat. Add chopped white chocolate and let soften in cream mixture about 30 seconds. Stir mixture until smooth and all of chocolate melts. Transfer to bowl and refrigerate until cool to touch but still pourable, about 45 minutes.

Place remaining cream, vanilla, almond extract and cooled white chocolate mixture in large bowl of electric mixer. Mix on low speed to combine. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until firm peaks form, about 1 minute.

Spoon half of mousse into serving bowl (a glass bowl will show the layers). Spread 1 1/2 cups raspberries over top, spreading them to edge. Cover with remaining mousse. Sprinkle remaining raspberries over top. Cover and refrigerate up to 1 day. Serve cold.

Simple Raspberry Napoleon

Makes 6 servings

PASTRY:

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted, plus extra for baking sheet

3 fresh filo pastry sheets or defrosted, if frozen

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

FILLING:

1 cup cold whipping cream

3 tablespoons powdered sugar, plus extra for dusting

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups fresh raspberries

Line an unrimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Brush paper with melted butter. Have ready second piece of parchment paper for second baking sheet.

To prepare pastry, stack 3 filo sheets and trim them to 12-inch square. Cover with damp towel to prevent drying out. Place 1 square on prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon sugar. Top with second square and brush with 1 tablespoon melted butter. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon sugar. Top with filo square and sprinkle with remaining sugar.

Cut filo squares into 3 (4-inch-wide) strips. Place remaining piece of parchment paper over filo. Place second baking sheet on parchment. Bake at 375 degrees until pastry is evenly light brown, about 8 minutes. Remove baking sheet and parchment paper from top of pastry. Cut 1 strip of warm pastry into 6 small strips and cool pastry on baking sheet.

Note: Filo pastry strips can be baked a day ahead, but for crisp pastry, assemble the dessert not more than 3 hours before serving it.

To prepare filling, beat cream, 3 tablespoons powdered sugar and vanilla in large bowl of electric mixer on medium-high speed until firm peaks form. Place 1 long filo strip on serving plate. Spread half of whipped cream over pastry. Place half of raspberries evenly over cream. Repeat with second long strip and remaining cream and raspberries. Place 6 short pastry strips evenly along top of Napoleon, standing them on their edges. Dust with powdered sugar. Refrigerate up to 3 hours and serve cold.

Raspberry Glazed Pie

Makes 8 servings

5 cups fresh raspberries

1/3 cup granulated sugar

3 tablespoons raspberry jam

1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 3/4 cup cold water

1 baked (9-inch) pie shell

1 cup cold whipping cream whipped to soft peaks with 1/2 teaspoon almond extract and 2 tablespoons powdered sugar, optional

Cook 1 cup raspberries, granulated sugar, jam and cornstarch mixture over medium heat, stirring constantly to dissolve jam and sugar. Bring to boil, cooking just until glaze thickens and becomes clear.

Strain into bowl and cool to room temperature, about 1 hour. Discard seeds and any fruit in strainer.

Place 4 cups remaining rasp-berries in large bowl and gently mix in cooled glaze to coat rasp-berries evenly with glaze. Spoon raspberry mixture into baked crust. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours.

Serve pie cold on day it is prepared with whipped cream.

Raspberries and Marscapone Cream Tart

Makes 12 servings

CRUST:

1 large cold egg

1 cup flour

1/4 cup cake flour

2/3 cup powdered sugar

3 tablespoons ground almonds

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

4 ounces (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces

Cake flour to roll out dough

FILLING:

1 cup cold mascarpone

1/2 cup cold whipping cream

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1 teaspoon grated orange zest

1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons water

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