Thursday, July 7th, 2016

Turn Off the Oven!! And Eat Berries and Cream.

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I love a good cobbler or crisp or pandowdy (yes, that is a thing), but when it’s July and a heat wave has descended, the last thing I want to do is turn my oven on. If someone else wants to turn on their oven and make any of the aforementioned desserts for me, then that would be wonderful (hint, hint); but I live in a house without air conditioning so turning on the oven on a July day is like wearing a bikini (from college that you dug out of a bag in the attic) when you take your kids to the town pool…not advisable.
So to prevent misery during the hazy days of summer, I make cold desserts, and the easiest of them all is berries and cream. Since we’ve entered the beginning of a long, glorious stretch of berries—strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries—there’s always something local at the market, or in a wild patch of bushes, that’s ready and willing to be combined with fresh whipped cream.
The original inspiration for this dessert (which is as basic as can be, but also elegant), is the communal whipped cream bowl at the ancient and wonderful restaurant Chez George in Paris, where they serve you frais de bois (tiny, ruby red, wild strawberries) in a bowl, along with a glass shaker of sugar and a giant bowl of wavy, thick, whipped cream, which arrives from the neighboring table after they’ve helped themselves to a generous scoop. It is heaven.
I do the same when I make cold berries for family and friends, but I like to toss the berries first in just a little sugar (I have done this recently with coconut sugar that my mom bough and it was very nice), a splash of lemon juice, and lemon zest, just to get their juices flowing. Then I whip the heavy cream with a tiny bit of vanilla. If I have creme fraiche I’ll use this instead which is more rich and tangy, closer to what they serve at Chez George.
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Honestly, if it’s hot enough out, I might just skip dinner entirely and eat this instead. Why not? Also it’s so simple to prepare that even a kid or the cooking-adverse in your life can make it, so why not share this “recipe” with them and then sit back in your bikini with a good book and wait for the meal that you so justly deserve.

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