The raspberry is composed of many connecting drupelets (individual sections of fruit) surrounding a central core, with the drupelets separating from the central core when picked thus leaving behind the hollow that we find in the center of each raspberry. Looking closely at the surface texture of raspberries, one discovers that they are slightly furry with teeny yellow whiskers.... which can be murder when you are trying for a macro shot using auto-focus! Above shot was only after numerous attempts 'click once, click twice, click many many many times' (try the large view)
Wonderfully tart and sweet at the same time, they are perfect as an accompaniment to a sweet creamy dessert. And the easiest would be a custard in the form of a crème caramel [krehm kehr-ah-MEHL] (don't you just love to say this phrase, especially with a slight accent on the 'krehm')!
- melt 1 cup of caster sugar in a saucepan over low heat - once the sugar starts melting, it will begin to change color - when it becomes a deep golden color, remove from heat and whilst still hot, pour caramel into a couple of ramekins (about 6) and leave to cool
- add 1/2 cup caster sugar (I've actually reduced the amount of sugar as compared to the original recipe which requested for a 3/4 cup), 1 cup milk, 1 cup double cream and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract into a separate saucepan and warm it until the sugar is dissolved, stirring constantly
- remove saucepan from heat and leave to cool for about 5 minutes or so
- in the meantime, whisk together 3 eggs and 3 egg yolks, and add slowly to the cooled milk and cream mixture, whilst stirring to combine
- strain the egg, milk and cream mixture (this is actually quite important, as the strainer will catch any part of the egg mixture which may have been cooked by the warmed milk), before pouring the mixture into the ramekins (this will fill about 6 ramekins)
- place ramekins in a bain-marie (in this case, use a roasting tin lined with a folded tea-towel and half-filled with water) and put the roasting tin into a preheated oven at 140C
- bake for about 50 to 60 minutes (until the custard is just about set with the center of the custard slightly wobbly)
- leave to cool before chilling in the refrigerator for a couple of hours
- AND this is the best part of making crème caramel - the unmolding of the custard - run a thin knife around the custard to loosen it from the ramekin - place the serving plate over the ramekin and invert the custard onto the plate with the wonderful caramel dribbling down the sides of the custard - serve on its own or with fruits which are slightly acidic and tart.. raspberries and strawberries are great choices!
This custard is an absolutely rich indulgence, with the amount of sugar, cream and eggs added into the mixture but quite irresistible when placed in front of you. Before I attempted my first home-made crème caramel, I always had this preconceived notion (from goodness knows where) that this was a dessert best reserved to be ordered and indulged in a good restaurant.... must be something to do with the way the waiter pronounces it with that slight frenchy accent. After several attempts and finding it just so bloody easy to make at home, I now cannot bear to plonk my hard-earned money at any restaurant by ordering this dessert unless it is unusually flavored and fragranced and only if there is no tiramisu on the menu!