Raspberries are still standing in the shadow of their bigger brother, strawberries. Most Norwegians eat them as jam. But close your eyes and taste. They taste like sweet lemons.
What is your relationship with raspberries?
I used to like sweet desserts, desserts with caramel and lots of sugar. Desserts like deep-fried bananas or brownies. But something has changed. It started with my girlfriend. While I had a sugar tooth, she was more into desserts with a sour kick. So I embarked on a journey one summer promising that I make her ten different desserts with berries. I tried desserts ranging from the classic Danish Rødgrød med fløde (cooked berries with cream) and Swedish pancake torte to Britain’s Eton mess. Since that time I have made many more berry desserts.
The Norwegian raspberry season is in July and August – now is the time to use them straight from the fields. But do try to eat them as more than raspberry jam. Serve them with custard in a raspberry jam jar.
“Pastry cream or crème patissière is to chefs what concrete is to builders” (French chef Raymond Blanc)
Pastry cream or custard (vaniljekrem) is one of the most versatile creams in every chef’s kitchen. It is served as a filling in a whole range of pies and pastries, including “Verdens beste”, the cake considered Norway’s best cake. In contrast to custard sauce (vaniljesaus) it is also easy to make. So try pastry cream next time instead of whipped cream.
For this dessert I serve the raspberries with havreflarn, a Norwegian oat biscuit
It is sweet and chewy and a cross between an American oat cookie and a French tuile. Make a batch of these Norwegian cookies and store in a box for later. They are accessories in your kitchen’s dessert pantry – put them on top of ice creams, strawberries and whipped cream – or bake them in the oven with plums or peaches. Like accessories in clothing they add the little vow factor to your presentation. Havreflarn taste like they have been made by the best French pastry chef – but they are easy as pie to make!
Havreflarn (Norwegian oat biscuits) (makes 14)
100 g / 3,5 oz butter
100 g/ 3,5 oz sugar
100 g / 3,5 oz oats
1 organic egg
25 g / 1 oz flour (gluten-free or ordinary flour)
1 tsp baking powder
1. Preheat the oven to 175C/350F/Gas 4. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
2. Melt the butter in a pan and mix with the oats. As with most cakes, you have to be strict about the measurements, in this case particularly the butter.
3. Add the baking powder to the flour and mix well. Whisk the egg and sugar pale and fluffy (eggedosis) with an electric hand mixer. Mix the oats with the whisked eggs and gently fold in the flour.
4. With a tablespoon, place the batter on the baking sheet leaving some space around them. Bake for about 6-7 minutes until golden. When finished, leave to cool.
500 g / 18 oz raspberries
3-4 tbsp sugar
Mix the raspberries with the sugar and crush them slightly with a fork, leaving some for garnish.
Custard or pastry cream (recipe by Eivind Hellstrøm):
200 ml / 6,8 oz double or heavy cream (Norwegian 38 % kremfløte)
300 ml / 10 oz whole milk
1 vanilla pod
4 egg yolks
50 g / 1,8 oz sugar
4 tbsp cornflour (corn starch or maizena)
1. Cut the vanilla pod in two and split lengthways. Scrape out the vanilla seeds and place both seeds and the pod in a small pan with the milk and the double cream. Bring to boil and take off the heat and leave to infuse with the lid on.
2. Separate the eggs and leave the yolks in a big bowl. Whisk together the egg yolks, cornflour and sugar for two minutes with an electric hand mixer.
3. Add the hot milk while whisking with the electric mixer. Then pour the mixture back into the pan. Bring to boil while you continuously stir with a spatula. Boil for at least 1 minute. Leave the pan in cold water if you want the custard to cool down quickly. When cold, remove the vanilla pod.
To serve: Use a glass or a jam jar, spoon a little bit of raspberries into the glass, then some custard. Repeat. Garnish with a few raspberries and the oat biscuit (either crumbled on top or divided into two).
P.S: Do not throw away the egg whites. Use them to make another berry dessert, Eton mess.
Music: Lana Del Rey’s Gods and monsters