Baking with raspberries

This is the perfect time of year to feast on summer berries. They are at their optimum and also are at their cheapest. Berries are not only extremely tasty, especially in baking, but also very good for you.

The raspberry is from the same family as the rose, and pairs very well with rosewater.

I often make the raspberry fool with rosewater in place of the Grand Marnier that is listed here.

The delicate flavours of both blend well.

The raspberry is a perennial bush and like the rose has a woody stem.

Raspberries grow very well in Ireland but they do need a bit of tending, or else they will grow to be all lanky stems, with very little berries.

After the berries have gone, the stems that bore fruit are best cut right back, almost to the ground.

Younger stems that have not yet borne fruit can be left alone.

If you can get access to a farm where you can pick your own berries, it is hard work but you can get a very good price.

It is a good idea if you are making jam.

When choosing raspberries in a shop it is best to avoid ones that still have their hulls attached.

This can indicate that they were picked before they were fully ripe, which means they will be tart and not at their best.

The cheesecake below can also be made in a round tin and served as a whole cake. The recipe works well in a nine-inch round tin.

I always choose a spring-form or loose-based tin for a cheesecake as they can be difficult to remove otherwise.

Raspberry sponge with maple and vanilla cream

150g caster sugar
5 eggs
150g of self-raising flour
250ml of cream, whipped
10ml of maple syrup
1tsp of vanilla essence
Punnet of raspberries, about 225g

Heat your oven 180 degrees and prepare two cake tins by lining them with parchment.

Mix your eggs and sugar with the balloon attachment until really light and fluffy, it will take a bit of patience to get the desired result but it is worth the work. Your sponge will be light and airy.

Sieve in the flour and then fold it in gently so the mixture does not lose its volume.

Pour half of the mixture into each tin and bake for about 20 minutes until they have risen and are nice and golden. Do not open the oven door during the first half of the baking time.

Allow to cool for 10 minutes in the tin, then transfer the cakes onto a wire rack.

Once completely cooled whip the cream to stiff peaks. Stir in the vanilla essence and maple syrup.

Decorate the cake with a layer of the cream and then a layer of the raspberries.

Raspberry ripple fool

200g of raspberries
30g of icing sugar
300ml of cream
25 ml of Grand Marnier
Three ginger-nut biscuits, crushed

Stir the icing sugar through the raspberries and set aside.

Whip the cream into stiff peaks.

Add the Grand Marnier to the raspberries and mush them with a fork until there are no large lumps.

Fold the raspberries into the cream until you get a ripple effect.

Spoon into cooled glasses or bowls and sprinkle with the crushed ginger biscuits.


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