BERRIES are among the most perishable fruits and begin to come into market early in the summer season. In most localities, the berry season begins with strawberries and ends with blackberries. Because the numerous varieties are somewhat juicy and soft and therefore extremely perishable, they will not stand shipping and storage for long periods of time. In the preparation of berries for the table, they should be handled as little as possible in order to prevent them from breaking up and losing their shape. After being purchased, they should be kept where it is cool until they are to be used. It is advisable not to wash them until just before serving, as the extra handling usually bruises them and
causes them to spoil.
One of the few desserts made from fresh blackberries is that explained in the accompanying recipe and known as blackberry sponge. This is very delicious, for the berries are combined with cake and the combination then served with whipped cream.
1 qt. blackberries
3/4 c. sugar
1 c. water
4 pieces plain loaf or sponge cake
Heat half of the berries with the sugar and the water until they are mushy. Then force the whole through a sieve. Cut the cake into cubes and put them into a bowl. Pour the juice and the blackberry pulp on the cake. Press the mixture down with a spoon until it is quite solid and set in the refrigerator or some other cold place to cool. Turn out of the bowl on a large plate, garnish with the remaining berries, heap with the whipped cream, and serve. Sufficient to Serve Six.
PRESSED BLUEBERRY PUDDING.
A delicious pudding can be made by combining blueberries with slices of bread. The accompanying recipe gives directions for pudding of this kind.
1 qt. blueberries
1 c. water
1/2 c. sugar
8 slices bread
Put the blueberries, water, and sugar into a saucepan and boil for a few minutes. Put four of the slices of bread, which should be cut about 1/2 inch thick, in the bottom of a square pan. Pour one-half of the blueberries and the juice over the bread, and put the four remaining slices of bread on top of the berries. Pour the rest of the blueberries and juice over the bread. Place another square pan over the top and weight it down so as to press the pudding. Then set the pudding in the refrigerator until it is
cool. Cut into squares, remove from the pan, and serve with sweetened whipped cream.
A baking-powder biscuit dough baked with blueberries makes a very appetizing dessert. To serve with a pudding of this kind, a cream or a hard sauce should be made.
1 qt. blueberries
1/2 c. sugar
Make a rather thin baking-powder-biscuit mixture. Spread a layer of this in the bottom of a square pan and cover it with a layer of the blueberries. Pour 1/4 cupful of the sugar over the berries and then cover with another layer of the dough. Over this, pour the remainder of the berries and sprinkle the rest of the sugar over all. Place in the oven and bake for about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven, cut into squares, and serve with cream or hard sauce. Sufficient to Serve Six.
BERRY JAM PUDDING.
Make a jam by mashing well some fresh raspberries or blueberries and sweetening to taste. Spread over slices of fresh, light bread or buns, and pile in layers one above another in a pudding dish. Pour over the layers enough rich milk or thin cream heated to scalding, to moisten the whole. Turn a plate over the pudding, place a weight upon it, and press lightly till cold. Cut in slices, and serve with or without a cream dressing.
BLACKBERRY CORNSTARCH PUDDING.
Take two quarts of well-ripened blackberries which have been carefully looked over, put them into a granite-ware boiler with half a cup of water, and stew for twenty minutes. Add sugar to sweeten, and three heaping tablespoonfuls of cornstarch rubbed to a cream with a little cold water. Cook until thickened, pour into molds, and cool. Serve cold with milk or cream. Other fresh or canned berries may be used in the same way.
Soak a cup of tapioca over night. When ready to cook, add three cups of boiling water and cook in a double boiler until transparent and smooth. Sprinkle a quart of fresh blackberries with sugar, and stir lightly into the tapioca. Pour into molds and serve cold with cream and sugar. Other fresh berries may be used in the same way.
Fill a pudding dish with well prepared green gooseberries, adding a tablespoonful or two of water. Cover with a crust as for Apple Tart, and when light, bake in a moderately quick oven. Cut the crust into the required number of pieces, and dish with gooseberries heaped on top. Serve cold with sugar and cream.
Take a quart of green gooseberries, pick, coddle, bruise and rub them through a hair-sieve to take out the pulp; take six spoonfuls of the pulp, six eggs, three quarters of a pound of sugar, half a pound of clarified butter, a little lemon-peel shred fine, a handful of bread-crumbs or bisket, a spoonful of rose-water or orange-flower water; mix these well together, and bake it with paste round the dish; you may add sweetmeats if you please.
Whortleberries are good both in flour and Indian puddings. A pint of milk, with a little salt and a little molasses, stirred quite stiff with Indian meal, and a quart of berries stirred in gradually with a spoon, makes a good-sized pudding. Leave room for it to swell; and let it boil three hours.
When you put them into flour, make your pudding just like batter puddings; but considerably thicker, or the berries will sink. Two hours is plenty long enough to boil No pudding should be put in till the water boils. Leave room to swell.
A pint of cranberries stirred into a quart of batter, made like a batter pudding, but very little stiffer, is very nice, eaten with sweet sauce.
One can hardly imagine a turkey dinner without cranberry sauce as one of the accompaniments; but it may be served when meats other than turkey are used. In fact, because of its tart flavor, it forms a most appetizing addition to any meal.
1-1/2 c. water
2 c. sugar
4 c. cranberries
Add the water to the cranberries and place over the fire to cook in a closely covered kettle. As soon as the skins of the berries have cracked, add the sugar. Cook slowly for a few minutes or until the sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from the fire and cool before serving.
If the cranberries are preferred without the skins, cranberry jelly should be tried. When cool, this solidifies and may be served in attractive ways.
2 c. water
1 qt. cranberries
2 c. sugar
Pour the water over the cranberries and cook them for 10 or 15 minutes. Then mash them through a sieve or a colander with a wooden potato masher. Add the sugar to the mashed cranberries. Return to the heat and cook for 5 to 8 minutes longer. Turn into a mold and cool.