Sunday, July 20, 2014

The Perfect Berry Sauce and a Lovely Outdoor Kitchen



This episode was filmed in Catskills, upstate NY. I love to skip from the city every once in a while, it's good to slow down my pace and to reconnect with what really matters, nature! 
I enjoy cooking outdoors, it can be challenging sometimes specially for desserts because of the lack of equipment but if you keep it simple and keep it fresh it will all work well in an outdoorsy way ;) 


This berry sauce is my ultimate recipe for any toppings I might need for my desserts: Cheesecakes, crepes, cakes, pancakes, even as a sauce with chocolate desserts, really, anything that requires (or not) a topping. The secret to this sauce is the wine, it adds complexity to something essentially simple and the orange zest and vanilla also plays an important role here. Everything is balanced out very well, so well that the sauce can be served by itself as the main dessert just by boiling it down for a little bit longer and it becomes a Berry Soup! Served with a dollop of whipped cream, ice-cream or creme fraiche is really everything you need in a hot summer day in the woods. 



Ingredients: 
sauce/soup: 
450g (1lb) mixed berries - I used cherries, strawberries and blueberries but any berry is welcome.
150g (3/4 cup) granulated sugar - if you don't add cherries lower this amount to 100g- 1/2 cup .
150ml dry red wine - use a wine that you'd drink- always! (or you can omit if you prefer) 
1 large stripe of orange zest - no white pith 
1/2 vanilla bean and seeds 
to serve
1 cup heavy cream 
2 tbsp confectioner's sugar 

Directions: 
In a heavy bottomed pan add fruits and sugar and stir. Bring to medium heat and once the pan is hot add the wine, orange zest and vanilla. Let the mixture boil until the sugar is dissolved (around 10 minutes) and the sauce is ready. If you want to serve it 'Soupy' style, let it boil for longer until the sauce is very thick and rich. In this case some of the fruits will lose its shape and everything will gain a dark purple color (just like in the photos here).
for the whipped cream:
In a bowl add cold heavy cream with the confectioner's sugar and whisk it by hand until the cream is thickened. The right consistency is when a peak forms when the whisk is lifted. 

Remove the zest and vanilla bean from the sauce before serving. Add a dollop of whipped cream on top if serving as a soup.