Recipe Redux: Berries With Hibiscus Infused Whipped Cream
Saturday, June 21, 2014
Confession–this month’s Recipe Redux challenge might have made me cry a little.
Ok, so maybe it didn’t make me cry so much as sigh out loud in a moment of defeat before I even started to tackle the challenge. Because, well, it involved one of my least favorite food trends: flowers in food.
Look, I prefer to enjoy the wonders of lavender in my soap….not my chocolate.
I know…so pedestrian of me. Call me crazy, but I just can’t get past the fact that that fancy cupcake smells like my car air freshener.
But maybe in my fixation on the fact that I really don’t like lavender in my food, I wasn’t seeing the possibilities. I mean, there are a lot of flowers for consideration. So, as I sat and pondered blooms in food I wondered if maybe there was a way I could embrace this challenge. I thought about rose water but quickly eliminated it since I couldn’t get past the smell of, well, roses, long enough to get creative about what to do with it. Orange blossom water, now that’s an ingredient I can get behind. I’ve used it before and love the fact that it smells more of citrus than of English garden.
It’s amazing how important the nose is in the enjoyment of food, isn’t it? I mean, all of the roadblocks I encountered in this challenge had everything to do with the fact that my nose just couldn’t embrace very floral scents as food ingredients. Fascinating…
Then I remembered one of my favorite summer beverages–hibiscus iced tea. Hibiscus! That’s a flower, right?!
Please be a flower….please be a flower….
As my fingers typed ‘hibiscus‘ into the search field, I reassured myself.
Of course it’s a flower! YES! Everything might just be OK after all.
I gotta say, this one gave me a run for my money. First attempt: gluten free shortcakes with strawberries and hibiscus-infused whipped cream. I decided that I would steep dried hibiscus tea in some fresh whipping cream for a couple of hours, add a little vanilla, a pinch of salt and a little sugar and viola–a yummy treat to be enjoyed on fresh fruit, cobbler or shortcake. Turns out hibiscus does interesting things to whipping cream. What does it do, you may be wondering? For starters, it turned the cream the color of Pepto Bismol®. It also transformed it into a thick glue-like substance that does not like to be whipped. Trust me on this. As for the GF shortbread biscuits, they were not worthy of further mention.
Round 2–create a hibiscus-infused simple syrup for the whipped cream. The good news: the syrup is delicious and pretty versatile, too (think cocktails, seltzer, tea). The bad news: as the syrup cooled I thought it might be tasty in a vegan pudding. Strike two! First, I just couldn’t get the pudding right. Second, when I added the infused syrup, it caused the pudding to turn the most unfortunate shade of beige. Well really taupe. Or maybe it was gray? No matter, not only was it just ugly to look at (yup, totally judging a book by its cover on this one), it simply wasn’t edible.
Round 3–back to the whipped cream, just keep it simple. Make the syrup, add it to the cream and use it to top berries. Success!
You’ll notice that I used coconut sugar instead of granulated for this recipe. If you read this blog regularly, it’s not the first time you’ve seen this ingredient make an appearance. While there continues to be some debate about whether any added sugar should be included in a healthy diet, coconut sugar is minimally processed, helping it to retain some of the nutrients that are innate to the plant it’s derived from. So, I figure that, while it has the same calories as regular sugar, at least they are not totally empty calories. Plus it tastes a little sweeter, so the recipe needs less of the coconut sugar than it would if you used granulated white sugar.
Moral of the story: first, don’t give up before you even try and second, recipe disasters are an inevitable part of cooking at home. Pick yourself up, brush yourself off and live to cook another day!
A final thought–you may be wondering what sort of healthy recipe involves whipped cream. Well, come on, who wants to live on kale and quinoa? (Not this girl!). And, no need to get all judgey … it’s just a couple of tablespoons :).
Recipe Redux: Berries With Hibiscus Infused Whipped Cream
servings: about 4 | time: about 1 hour (enough time to allow the syrup to cool)
2/3 cup water
1/3 cup coconut sugar
2 TBSP. dried hibiscus tea
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
pinch of salt
4 cups fresh fruit (I used berries and grapes)
1/4 cup unsalted pistachios, coarsely chopped
1. Place the water and coconut sugar in a heavy saucepan and bring to a boil over medium high heat
2. Reduce the heat to medium low and allow the mixture to simmer until the sugar is dissolved (about 7 minutes)
3. Transfer the simple syrup to a glass cup or bowl and add the tea and allow to sit for 10 minutes
4. Pour the prepared syrup into another glass cup or bowl, using a fine mesh strainer, sieve or tea strainer to strain out the tea. Place in the fridge and allow it to chill for at least an hour
5. Place the whipping cream in a bowl and, using an electric mixer, begin beating on medium speed just until it starts to thicken. Turn the speed to high and add 4 teaspoons of the hibiscus infused syrup, 1 teaspoon at a time. Continue to whip to desired consistency (soft peaks)
To serve: spoon a cup of fruit into each of 4 individual serving cups. Top with 2-3 tablespoons of the cream and a sprinkle of chopped pistachios
Store the leftover hibiscus syrup in the fridge and use as a dessert topping, a flavoring for seltzer or tea or in a cocktail.Loading InLinkz ...
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