By Nancy Pollard
After owning one of the best cooking stores in the US for 47 years, Nancy Pollard writes Kitchen Detail, a blog about food in all its aspects—recipes, film, books, travel, superior sources and food-related issues.
AN OUTSTANDING and oh-so-easy cocktail to make for guests or just yourself comes from the River Café cookbook. It works well with local seasonal raspberries and the ones that you can get any time of year in most supermarkets. It is not successful if you use frozen raspberries (we found that using those made it taste like a premade bar mix).
Fresh Raspberry Aperitivo Recipe
18 ounces fresh raspberries
1/3 to ½ cup caster or superfine sugar
1 cold bottle of Prosecco
Crush raspberries and sugar in blender or with a mortar and pestle. Pass this through a fine sieve. Put in cocktail shaker or sieve. Add prosecco slowly to avoid bubbling up. Stir with a long spoon to dispense with foam. Pour slowly into flutes.
Organic raspberries usually have more flavor, so use those if possible.
American Strawberry Pie
You may find more complicated strawberry recipes, but none will be better tasting than this old American Strawberry Pie recipe from Sunset Magazine. Grab your strawberries, make a crust or buy one, but do have a slice! If you love the flavor of strawberries and find the ones in the US not to be that flavorful, purchase the Wild Strawberry Essence from Grasse, France from www.simplygourmand.com.
- Pre-baked pie shell of your choice, 9½ to 10 inches in diameter, leaving 1½-inch-high sides
- 4 cups strawberries, sliced in half
- 1 cup caster sugar
- 9 grams sheet gelatin or 1 tablespoon powdered gelatin
- 1 cup water
- ½ teaspoon Wild Strawberry Essence from Grasse, France
- Soften sheet gelatin in water, or dissolve powdered gelatin in ¼ cup water.
- Cook ¾ cup of the strawberries in 1 cup of water until they are soft.
- Strain the strawberries back into the water so that you get a thin purée.
- Add the 1 cup of sugar and stir until sugar is dissolved.
- Add the gelatin of your choice (wring out sheet gelatin if using that).
- Chill a bit until just barely cool and syrupy.
- Fold this liquid into the strawberries and add the essence.
- Pour into pie shell and chill until the gelatin is set.
- Serve with whipped cream.
- I add a small amount of natural strawberry essence from France into the strawberries as our strawberries here are not very flavorful.
- The flavoring essences from Grasse, France, are superior to our domestic flavoring extracts. You will use less, and the flavor and aroma will be exceptional. These are the essences that we carried at La Cuisine. They are available at www.simplygourmand.com.