I adore blueberries. I always have a glut in the fridge and the freezer. They are gorgeous stirred through Greek yoghurt and sprinkled with home made granola for breakfast, baked into pancakes for Sunday brunch, or transformed into a lush compote with other fruits such as strawberries, nectarines, apricots and plums to pour over cakes, ice creams and desserts.
Love the way they “pop” in cakes and muffins, releasing their juices into a glorious purple mess.
In this dessert I’m combining a stash of frozen blueberries with a punnet of raspberries, adding an equally purple lavender liqueur. Just a dash of it in a flute of champagne transports festive bubbles to the sun-soaked plains of the Provence.
Don’t worry if you can’t get hold of lavender liqueur, it’s an optional extra. Pimms would be a nice substitute, or just leave it out altogether.
What isn’t quite so optional, is the Limoncello for the yoghurt and ricotta. Though you could replace with a little gin or vodka and a healthy dash of fresh lemon juice.
I layered the whole thing up in large glasses with cookie crumbs. Mine are Amaretti biscuits, but you could use Oreos, Hobnobs, Gingernuts or ladyfingers. You get the idea: this recipe is not an exact science. Choose your favourite berries, your favourite booze and your favourite cream cheese and thou shalt be Very Merry Berry.
Very Merry Berry Verrine (serves 4 – RSF V LC)
300 gr blueberries, fresh or frozen
200 gr raspberries, fresh or frozen
1-2 tbsp Erythritol (Natvia) or other unrefined sugar alternative
2-3 tbsp lavender liqueur
300 gr Greek yoghurt
300 gr ricotta or a mild and mellow cream cheese like Philadelphia or Mon Chou
2 large pieces of Italian candied citrus peel, finely chopped, or 2-3 tbsp lemon curd
2-3 tbsp Limoncello
100 gr amaretti biscuits, roughly crushed plus extra whole ones for serving
1-2 tbsp butter, softened
Heat the blueberries and raspberries with 1/2 tbsp Erythritol over medium heat on the hob. Reduce to low once the fruit starts to pop and cook for 20-30 mins.
Add lavender liqueur to taste (if using). Check if you need more sweetness and adjust if needed. Cook for a further 5 mins or so. Set aside to cool.
Whisk the ricotta with 1/2 tbsp of Erythritol. Stir through the yoghurt, Limoncello and chopped citrus or lemon curd. Check if you need more sweetness and adjust to taste.
Rub the biscuit crumbs with softened butter until they resemble breadcrumbs. Start with 1 tbsp, and only add more if needed, so they don’t end up wet or soggy.
Layer the fruit with the buttery biscuit crumbs and lemony cheese mousse in 4 glasses. Chill in the fridge until needed. Serve with a few extra biscuits.
Alternatively, you can arrange the various components on plates, if you’re feeling particularly artistic.