Just imagine, if you would, the results of relentless raspberry hunting for a full week, in a heavily-fruited area. Overflowing buckets of raspberries line the shelves of my fridge, and sheets of fresh berries to be frozen are endlessly rotating in and out of the freezer. Even with my voracious appetite, chowing down on a solid pint per day, minimum, there’s no way all of these edible treasures could be eaten as is before they spoil. Alarmed at how quickly the white fur has already begun to appear in spots and patches over the oldest batch, there’s no choice but to whip up some dessert to use up a greater volume of these gems, and fast. It’s a rough job, but somebody’s got to do it!
Such perfect little berries seem to call for simple applications, as there’s little that can be done to make them even better than they already are. Parfaits, verrines, and trifles immediately come to mind, and have the added bonus of typically being no-bake fare, so there’s no need to heat up the kitchen. With the oppressive heat and humidity that has been lingering through the weeks, every little bit helps! Plus, the final dessert is chilled down to a cool, refreshing temperature, sure to take the edge off one’s hunger and thirst all at once.
Matcha and raspberries are a match made in heaven if you ask me, the slight bitterness and tartness from each echoing a common ethos. And then chocolate, well, chocolate just goes with everything. Although the chocolate pudding lining the bottom is nothing special on its own, it simply provides the depth, richness, and creaminess that is so essential to a well-balanced parfait. Semi-solid cubes of matcha pudding up the ante, lending just a bit more texture, and visual interest. Then of course, those flawless wild raspberries are mounded on top, and the whole production is crowned with a soft, fudgy brownie cookie.
With a dessert like this, I don’t think I’ll have any problem using up all of my raspberries in no time at all.
Chocolate, Matcha, and Raspberry Parfait
Chocolate Pudding, Chilled
1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar
2 Tablespoons Arrowroot
1 Teaspoons Powdered Agar Agar
1 Teaspoons Matcha
1 Cup Coconut Milk
1/2 Cup Unsweetened Apple Juice
1/3 Cup Birch Beer
1 1/2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract
Lightly grease an 8 x 4-inch loaf pan, and set aside.
Begin by whisking together the sugar, arrowroot, agar, and matcha together in a medium sauce pan to equally distribute all of the ingredients throughout. Slowly drizzle in just enough coconut milk to create a thick paste, and stir well to ensure that there are no lumps remaining. Add in the rest of the coconut milk, along wit the apple juice and birch beer, and whisk until smooth. Place on the stove over medium heat, and whisk gently until the mixture comes to a full boil, at which point it should feel significantly thicker. Take off the heat, and whisk in vanilla.
Pour the mixture into your prepared loaf pan, and let sit undisturbed at room temperature for at least two hours. Do not be tempted to hasten the cooling process by placing the pan in the fridge, as rapidly chilling agar will make for a weaker, watery gel. Only after it has reach room temperature can you cover it with plastic wrap and move into the fridge.
3/4 Cup Margarine
1 Cup Granulated Sugar
1 Cup Dutch-Processed Cocoa Powder
6 Ounces Vanilla Soy Yogurt
1 Cup All Purpose Flour
1/2 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, lightly grease a 9 x 13 pan, and set aside.
Throughly cream together the margarine and sugar using the paddle attachment in your stand mixer. Once smooth and homogeneous, add in the cocoa powder, followed immediately by the soy yogurt. All the mixer to work for about a minute on low speed, and then introduce the flour and baking powder together. Start on a slow speed, but once most of the dry ingredients are incorporated, turn it up to high and beat the mixture for about one minute. Add in the vanilla and salt, and beat briefly to combine.
Transfer the mixture in big dollops to your prepared baking pan. Now, here’s the messy part- Thoroughly grease your hands, and press the cookie batter evenly into the bottom of the pan. It’s a very sticky, squishy mixture, so be prepared to get in there and get dirty! Once the surface of the cookie dough is smooth and level, place the pan in the oven and bake for 15 – 18 minutes, until it no longer appears shiny and no longer feels wet when tapped. Let cool completely, and then cut out shapes as desired. Try to keep the shapes fairly small, as larger ones are more likely to break or crumble.
1 – 2 Cups Fresh Raspberries
4 – 6 Small Parfait Glasses
Place a dollop of chocolate pudding in the bottom of each parfait glass. Turn the matcha gel out onto a cutting board, and slice it into equally sized cubes. Place a handful of cubes into each glass, and top with raspberries as desired. Finish each glass with a brownie cookie.
Makes 4 – 6 Servings