Farmers Daughter Herbs

chef-with students

Such a beautiful, busy spring! Soon the hot days of summer will be here and what better way is there to top off your summer menus than with an herbed fruit dessert. Fruit desserts have been popular as a final course to meals since ancient times. Fresh, stewed, or infused fruits are used whole in tarts, cobblers, cakes, pies, fritters, crepes or pureed for mousses, soufles, ice creams, ices, sauces and syrups.
Herbs can add a touch of fruit, a hint of sweetness or spice or accent with their perfume or beautify as a garnish.

So you say — which herb with which fruit ~ let me give you a few ideas.The varieties of mint are endless, but most are good with fruit and sprigs of mint always make a nice garnish for sorbets, ice creams or fruit salad. Berries, melons, peaches, plums or grapes all go well with the taste of peppermint,spearmint, apple or orange. For a lemony taste, try lemon balm or lemon verbena.
Since rosemary is such a strong herb it best combines with apples, pears, cranberries or oranges. A poached pear with rosemary and chestnut whipped cream is a superb dessert.Thyme is also a good taste combination with pears.
The perfume scented leaves of geranium enhance the flavor of apricots, blackberries, gooseberries, raspberries, currants or peaches. Also, a good addition to citrus sorbets and don’t forget to garnish with the flowers and leaves. Lavender blossoms go well with most berries, currants and peaches. Dairy products will soften the flavor of lavender. Sage goes well with stewed apples and makes wonderful fritters.
Cherivel with its mild licorice flavor can be used well with melons, papaya, kiwi, or peaches but is at its best infruit salads and sorbets.
Many of these herbs are growing in the chefs garden, so lets get the weeding and watering started. Then you can all enjoy!

 

The following recipe is from Susan Belsinger, a frequent contributor to the
"Herb Companion“ magazines.
Raspberries with Lavender Cream  (serves 8)

Your choice of black raspberries, blackberries, blueberries or a mixture.
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons light honey
3 tablespoons sugar
5 lavendar blossoms
2 extra large egg yolks
1/2 cup stifly whipped cream
2 pints berries

In a double boiler over very hot water combine cream, milk, honey, sugar and
lavender. Cook over simmering water for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Beat egg
yolks — add 1/2 cup lavender mixture and whisk well. Return cream and yolk mixture
to double boiler — mix well — simmer stirring constantly until thickens. Remove from
heat and strain.
Let cool to room temperature with wax paper over top of bowl and then chill in
refrigerator.
Before serving — 10 to 15 minutes — remove from refrigerator — Fold freshly
whipped cream into lavendar cream — spoon a little into dessert dish and top with
berries — garnish with lavender. Serve immediately.
Have a great summer and there will be more next time.

 

Dorothy Gifford