I don't believe thta I have ever submitted a dessert for my Weekend Herb Blogging post. It is time to correct that oversight now. The key ingredient here is the tasty blackberry - one of the most powerful antioxidants out there. More on blackberries after the post . . .
Weekend Herb Blogging - one of the longest running food blog 'events' on the web. This week it is being hosted by Rachel from The Crispy Cook . Weekend Herb Blogging was created by Kalyn and is now organized by Haalo, WHB is now in its 4th successful year of showcasing every week delicious (and often unusal) foods prepared using herbs, fruits and vegetables by bloggers around the world.
Have I said enough?
I was originally going to make these cakes for Easter but then my oven broke. Happily (well, except the the $ 400 repair bill) my oven is back in commision. I still had the ingredients in the fridge and Blackberries were on sale this week at the grocery so I was good to go with this recipe yesterday. I have made pudding cakes before and forgotten just how easy they are to make and how great they taste.
The blackberry-swirled tops of these individual lemon desserts conceal a delicious surprise: the rich citrus pudding underneath. There's no trick to creating the two layers -- simply fill ramekins, dot with blackberry sauce, swirl, and bake in a pan with water. The moist, gentle heat makes the tops light and cakey and the centers smooth and creamy.
This recipe is from Martha Stewart. Now I may have slagged Matha in the past for some of her complex creations but I LOVED this one. It was easy to make, quick to come together and the taste was exceptional.
Martha serves these cakes with a dollop of cream frachie. Not having any on hand and not wanting to spend the time to make my own, we did without. It was still a wonderful dessert.
Lemon Blackberry Pudding Cakes
1 pint blackberries
1/2 cup (about 3 lemons) plus 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus more for ramekins
3 large eggs, separated
6 tablespoons cake flour (not self-rising), sifted
1 cup milk
3/4 teaspoon salt
Boiling water, for pan
4 ounces (about 1/2 cup) creme fraiche
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Process 2 1/2 ounces blackberries (12 to 15 berries), 1 tablespoon lemon juice, and 3 tablespoons sugar in a food processor or blender until smooth. Pass mixture through a fine sieve into a small bowl; discard solids. Set sauce aside.
Butter inner top inch of six 6-ounce ramekins; set aside. Whisk together egg yolks and 3/4 cup sugar in a medium bowl. Whisk in flour and milk in two batches each, beginning with the flour. Whisk in remaining 1/2 cup lemon juice, the salt, and the melted butter, and set aside.
Put egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment; beat on medium-high speed until very frothy, about 1 1/2 minutes. With mixer running, add remaining 1/4 cup sugar in a slow, steady stream; beat until whites hold stiff (but not dry) peaks, about 2 minutes. Whisk half the whites into reserved lemon mixture until combined; gently fold in remaining whites with a rubber spatula.
Place the ramekins in a high-sided roasting pan or baking dish, and divide the batter among ramekins, filling each almost to the top. Spoon a few drops of berry sauce onto cakes, and use a toothpick or skewer to swirl sauce into batter. Transfer to oven; pour boiling water into pan, a bit more than halfway up sides of ramekins.
Bake until cakes are set and the tops are just starting to turn golden brown, 35 to 40 minutes. With tongs, transfer the ramekins from pan to a wire rack, and let cool 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, beat creme fraiche in a clean mixing bowl until it holds soft peaks. Serve cakes warm with creme fraiche and remaining blackberries.
Blackberries are a low-calorie way to increase your intake of fibre, vitamin C and antioxidants called anthocyanins. One half-cup (125 ml) serving of blackberries provides four grams of dietary fibre and over 25% of your recommended daily intake of vitamin C - all for only 33 calories!
Blackberries owe their rich dark hue to their strikingly high content of anthocyanins. Lab studies have demonstrated the ability of these antioxidants to slow the growth of cancerous tumours. This research adds to growing evidence that blackberries can help reduce the risk of certain cancers, especially esophageal and colon cancers.
The vitamin C in blackberries may help prevent LDL (bad) cholesterol from being oxidized by harmful free radicals. (Oxidized LDL cholesterol is more likely to build up on artery walls increasing the risk of heart attack and stroke.) Blackberries also contain soluble fibre, the type that helps lower blood cholesterol.
Canada's Food Guide recommends eating 7 to 10 servings of vegetables and fruits combined every day. Here's the nutrition information for one Food Guide serving (1/2 cup or 125 ml) of blackberries:
|Vitamin C||16 milligrams|
(Source: Canadian Nutrient File, 2007)
When buying loose blackberries, choose berries that are firm, plump and free of moisture or mold. The highest quality blackberries will have a uniform dark colour and good aroma. (Darker blackberries have a higher antioxidant content.)
If you're buying blackberries packaged in a clear container, make sure they're free of mold and not crushed from being packed to tightly.
Fresh blackberries should be stored unwashed in the refrigerator. They'll keep for two days in their original container or spread out on a plate covered with plastic wrap.
Blackberries can be frozen whole, unwashed, by spreading them out on cookie sheets which are then placed in the freezer. A day later, gather the blackberries and place in a plastic freezer bag or rigid plastic container, then replace in the freezer. Quickly rinse the blackberries under cold running water before using them in your recipe.
For best results, defrost your blackberries in the original container in the refrigerator overnight. This allows the ice crystals to melt slowly, with better shape retention than quick defrosting.
Frozen blackberries will store for up to one year. Don't forget to put the date on the bag to prevent freezer burn!
Blackberries are highly perishable so wash them just before you intend to use them. (Moisture causes berries to lose their firm texture.)
When washing, gently place blackberries in a strainer and rinse briefly under cool running water.