Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Mealtime Magic: Blackberry Parfait

Blackberry Parfait
            The word “parfait” is French for “perfect.” A bit of lightly sweetened cream with crème fraîche folded into it creates a perfect combination that is deeper and more soothing than whipped cream alone. Macerated blackberries are surprisingly light. Layered in a champagne flute, the cream and the berries balance each other perfectly, hovering on the cusp between summer and autumn, appetizer and dessert. This parfait is the epitome of elegant simplicity.

Makes 8 champagne flutes

  • 2 (6-ounce) containers blackberries (2 heaping cups)
  • 6 tablespoons granulated natural sugar (such as maple)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup crème fraîche (see the Cook’s Note)

1. Mix the blackberries with 1/4 cup of the sugar in a medium bowl. Let sit for 20 minutes to dissolve the sugar and let the berries create their own sauce. Stir the blackberries and lightly mash them from time to time to speed the process along.
2. Whip the cream with the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar until soft little alpine peaks form. Fold in the crème fraîche and set aside.
3. Start with a dollop of blackberries. Add a layer of cream, then blackberries, then cream again. Top off with a dollop of blackberries. Swirling islands of purple and white suggest an aerial view of the earth, or what Gerard Manley Hopkins calls “skies of couple-color as a brinded cow.” Chill until ready to serve.
Cook’s Note: You can substitute mascarpone or thick yogurt as tasty alternatives to the crème fraîche.

Recipe from COOKING WITH THE MUSE: A Sumptuous Gathering of Seasonal Recipes, Culinary Poetry, and Literary Fare, by Myra Kornfeld and Stephen Massimilla. The book explores the full potential of a complete seasonal cookbook, one that celebrates real food and the rich cycles and traditions behind it. 

Reflecting the cooking instructor Myra Kornfeld’s background in real foods traditions and nutrition, these dishes highlight fresh, local ingredients and encourage the use of seasonal produce, wild seafood, traditional fats, and meat from pasture-raised animals. This book is also Paleo-friendly and gluten-free-friendly throughout—while remaining a delight for omnivores. All the recipes have been thoroughly tested and are easy to follow. They will appeal to casual and experienced cooks alike.

Thanks to Stephen Massimilla’s venerable career as scholar and poet who also lectures and teaches about food, history, and the environment, he revels in the culinary and literary cross-fertilization of cultures. Compared to other seasonal cookbooks, this volume has extraordinary added value: interesting and beautiful literary pieces about food, cooking and eating, each treasure perfectly paired, like a fine wine, with each dish.

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