Raspberries are the crown jewels of summer

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By: Rachel Shenk

Hot, steamy weather coupled with rainfalls sure makes things grow!

We run at the park despite the sticky air and sweat it out. Around us, the grasses grow tall, the poison ivy starts to take over and the wild vines twirl around everything in sight. The woods have turned into a jungle and the prairie boasts at least fifteen blooming wild flowers. If there is any wind, it rustles through the leafy green ceiling and sways through the dancing grasses.

As we turn the corner and head into the pines, some spots of color grab my attention. I stop suddenly. These are not blooms, but berries. The black raspberries are starting to turn from bright red to almost black. And I can’t help myself: I gather a couple and immediately pop them into my mouth. Oh, sweetness and pure bliss! Is there anything better than eating a berry fresh off of the bush? In that tiny morsel still warm from the sun, I can taste summer in all of its moods. I pop a few more and savour them and then I’m back on track, running to catch up to Jim. Now I know I will see raspberries at the market on Tuesday and they will be on the menu all week.

I think of raspberries as little jewels. They might be a little bit more expensive but I know what it takes to grow them and carefully pick them, so I don’t mind the price. My yard is a little too shaded to grow them myself so I get mine from Fish Lake Organic Berry Farm. Fritz Miller definitely knows how to grow them!

When this time of year rolls around, I add raspberries to my granola every morning. I put them on my salad for lunch and I just eat them as is. But for a more delicious and enhanced use, I make a raspberry cake and serve it with whipped cream and fresh berries on top. That just takes it to another level and it’s worth doing at least once a year, when the raspberries appear.

Here’s the recipe, if you want to try it.

Raspberry Madeira Cake

  • 1 ½ cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ cup Madeira
  • ¼ cup orange juice
  • ¾ cup butter, room temperature, plus 2 T. for topping
  • 1 cup sugar plus 2 T. for topping
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon lemon peel
  • 2 cup red raspberries, plus extra for decorating

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 10-inch springform pan.

In a medium bowl, mix the first five ingredients. In a small bowl, mix the Madeira and orange juice. Beat the sugar and the butter in a large bowl. Beat in the eggs, vanilla and lemon peel. Then beat in the Madeira mixture and the flour mixture, alternating between the two. Transfer to the prepared pan and sprinkle evenly with the raspberries.

Bake in the oven for 25 minutes. Gently pop open the oven and dot the top of the cake with 2 T. of butter and sprinkle with 2 T. sugar. Continue baking for another 10 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan. Then release sides and transfer to a plate. Serve with a dollop of real whipped cream and a few raspberries.

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