Recipes bursting with tasty berries



Luscious Berry Desserts

By Lori Longbotham


By Roger Yepsen

W.W. Norton & Co. / 2006 / $24.95

Roger Yepsen is an author and illustrator, so recipes are almost an afterthought in this 160-page book.

The charmingly illustrated book is divided into chapters by type of berry, which for a cook makes little sense because berries often can be used interchangeably in recipes.

Yepsen describes each berry and how and where it is grown, then provides a few recipes for how to use it. He fearlessly goes beyond the normal dessert fare to provide recipes for soups, beverages and sauces. A couple of them, though, such as the Pan-Fried Strawberry Polenta, sounded downright unappetizing.

The recipes in the book should be read carefully before you attempt them. I was set to make blueberry blintzes, but as I began I realized the recipe did not specify how much flour, baking soda, salt and egg to use for the batter. The recipe for a raspberry chocolate mousse didn't say for how long to beat the egg whites or refrigerate the dessert before serving. Even more troublesome, the mousse recipe called for using raw eggs, which can pose a health risk.

Lime and Thyme Blueberry Poundcake

Serves 10 to 12

1 cup whole milk

2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme

3 1/2 cups sifted cake flour (not self-rising)

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 1/4 cups sugar (divided use)

6 large eggs

4 teaspoons grated lime zest (divided use)

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

3 cups ripe blueberries, preferably tiny wild blueberries, picked over

1/2 cup fresh lime juice

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 300 degrees. Generously butter and flour a 10-inch (12-cup) bundt pan. Bring the milk and thyme just to a boil in a saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat, cover and steep for 7 minutes, then pour through a fine strainer set over a bowl and let the milk cool to room temperature.

Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Beat the butter with an electric mixer on medium-high speed in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to medium and gradually add 1 3/4 cups of the sugar. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until the mixture is light and fluffy.

Beat in eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Reduce speed to low and add the flour mixture alternately with the milk in 3 batches, beginning and ending with the flour mixture and beating just until blended. Beat in 2 teaspoons of the zest and the vanilla. Gently stir in the berries. Transfer the batter to the pan and smooth the top with a rubber spatula.

Bake for 1 hour and 30 to 40 minutes, or until the cake begins to pull away from the sides of the pan and a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cake cook in the pan on a wire rack for 20 minutes, then turn it out onto the rack and set it right side up.

Meanwhile, bring remaining 1/2 cup sugar, 2 teaspoons zest and the lime juice to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes. Brush the lime-juice mixture over the warm cake and let cool completely. Serve, cut into wedges.

From "Luscious Berry Desserts"

Per serving (based on 12 servings): 564 calories, 8 grams protein, 26 grams fat, 16 grams saturated fat, 76 grams carbohydrate, 2 grams fiber, 168 milligrams cholesterol, 111 milligrams sodium

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