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101 ways to use raspberries

July 4, 2011 - LLee Janssen
This summer is proving to be the year of the raspberry in my back yard, and I've had to really stretch to find different ways to use them and not repeat the same recipe.

I've done the traditional pie, a nice fruity sauce to top ice cream, muffins and salad dressing. I've tossed a few berries in a chocolate martini, made easily with equal parts Chocovine and double espresso vodka, and was tickled to see them float on top.

And I've eaten plenty plain, straight off the plant as I picked yet another bountiful bowl of this fabulous fruit.

I've searched online and in cookbooks for different ways to use them and found a lot of variations on the above, but nothing truly different. And so, as I am prone to do, I got creative, and I'd like to share three of my favorite new uses here, with an entree, a dessert and a drink.

First the entree. Actually, this is a balsamic-raspberry sauce that works nicely for grilling chicken. In a saucepan, combine 3/4 cup of ketchup, 1 cup of balsamic vinegar, a tablespoon of Diijon mustard, one healthy garlic clove minced, a tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce, 1/3 cup brown sugar, salt and pepper to taste. Into that place the juice of 2 cups of raspberries (use a sieve over the pan to express the juice.) Reduce this sauce over medium low heat by about a third. Pour some of this into a bowl for basting and reserve the rest to pour over the finished chicken prior to serving.

Now the drink. Place 2 cups of raspberries into a saucepan with 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of water. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, until the raspberries melt down and the sugar dissolves, stirring pretty steadily. Remove from heat and strain. Cool. Mix over ice in a shaker, equal parts of this sauce and a good quality, smooth vodka. I used Exclusiv, which is new to Pennsylvania. Add a splash of Cointreau and shake. Pour into a martini glass and garnish with fresh raspberries (the martini glass gives them lots of surface to float around ...)

And finally, the long-awaited dessert. This one is a twist on lemon merengue pie. Use your favorite lemon merengue pie recipe, but cut back on the amount of lemon curd you make as you will be adding a layer of raspberry. It takes several steps but they are easy and worth it.

First make and prebake your crust. Then make the lemon curd and fill the crust halfway with it. Next you'll make a raspberry fruit layer: In a saucepan, add 2 cups of raspberries, dusted with 2 tablespoons of cornstarch and, if they need them, up to half a cup of sugar (taste the fruit for sweetness first.) Also add the juice and zest of one lemon. Cook over medium heat until the berries start to break down and everything thickens up in the pan. Remove from heat, allow to cook for just a few minutes, then spread the raspberry layer over the lemon curd. Finally, make the merengue to top the pie and bake at 375 for 10 to 15 minutes, jut until the merengue starts to brown.


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