Friday, 11 July 2008

Anna Olson's Field Berry Parcels - Food Network Canada Cooking Club Challenge

This month's Food Network Canada Cooking Club Challenge is Anna Olson's Field Berry Parcels. This recipe is perfectly timed for berry season where I live and I was excited to make them.
I love love love fruit recipes. I am sorry to confess that I am not a chocoholic, I don't dislike chocolate but there is only so much of it that I can eat without feeling really full and really thirsty. Fruit based desserts, however, are tart and sweet at the same time. Lighter and refreshing they don't seem to weigh you down so much. One could almost convince one's self that they were moderately nutritious. Almost.

I made this recipe almost to a "T", I just subbed a lime for the lemon, doubled up on the blueberries instead of using blackberries, used mango pieces instead of the raspberries and walnuts for the cream. Let me just say....YUM! These were very good and quite easy to make. You just have to give yourself some time. I made the cream in the morning and the bundles in the evening. It is always less stressful to break recipes down if you can.

If you have never used phyllo before - do not be afraid. You buy it frozen at the grocers, put it in the fridge the night before you want to use it. Carefully unroll it and place the pile on your clean, dry counter and cover it up with a damp dish towel. Use the sheets one at a time as per your recipe instructions - usually brushing melted butter or oil in between the layers - and fold or layer as stated. It does rip easily but that's okay. All those layers means that a little rip will be covered by another layer and nobody will know. Try to use the rest of the phyllo up in a day or two, it does dry out. To see what I did with the rest of my phyllo, come back tomorrow.

Field Berry Parcels
Yield: 6

• 1 1/2 cups of fresh raspberries (I used frozen mango pieces)
• 1 cup of fresh strawberries
• 1 cup of fresh blueberries
• 1 cup of fresh blackberries ( I doubled up on the blueberries)
• 2/3 cup of sugar
• 1/3 cup of honey
• 2 tsp fresh lemon juice (I used lime)
• 1 tsp of vanilla extract
• 1 tbsp of cornstarch
• 1/2 cup of unsalted butter
• 1 tsp of finely grated lemon zest (I used lime zest)
• 12 sheets of phyllo pastry

Pistachio Cream

• 1/3 cup shelled pistachios (I used walnuts)
• 3 tbsp sugar
• 1 cup table cream (18%)
• 2 egg yolks
• 1 tsp vanilla extract

Field Berry Parcels

1. Stir berries to crush lightly and spoon into a sieve over a bowl. Let berry juices drain for an hour. Set berries aside and whisk sugar, honey, lemon juice, vanilla and cornstarch into juices. Heat juices, whisking, until thick and shiny. Set aside to cool completely, then stir into berries.

2. Melt butter with lemon zest (to infuse flavour). Layer four sheets of phyllo pastry, brushing lemon butter over each sheet. Cut phyllo in half and spoon ½ cup of berries into center of each half. Gather up edges of phyllo and twist to hold. Chill for 15 minutes. Repeat with remaining phyllo and fruit.

3. Preheat oven to 375 °F. On a lightly greased baking tray, bake parcels for 15 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool 5 minutes before lifting and serving with pistachio cream.

Pistachio Cream

1. Pulse pistachios and sugar in a small food processor or with a mortar & pestle to grind as smooth as possible.
2. Heat cream to just below a simmer. Whisk egg yolks and vanilla into pistachio paste and slowly pour in hot cream, whisking constantly. Return mixture to pot and stir with a wooden spoon over medium-low heat until it coats the back of a spoon. Chill completely before serving.
3. To serve, pool pistachio cream in a bowl and place a warm berry parcel on top.

A note on cream and milk. You have probably noticed that when you work from a variety of recipes during the week they give a certain percentage of milk fat that your milk or cream should have for the recipe. Skim milk, 1% milk, 2% milk, homo milk, 10% cream, 18% cream, 35% whipping cream. If we all had this many types of milk and cream in our fridges there would be no room for the rest of the ingredients. What I do is keep 1% milk and whipping cream (35%) . This 1% milk is what we use every day and the whipping cream has a long fridge shelf life. For any of the other required milk fat contents - I just stir the two together to approximate the milk fat content. It may not be what the pros do but it works out very well for me.