Monday, August 23, 2010
Marionberries were nearly impossible to find. The season is officially over but I was told by a grocer to meet The Berry Man under the freeway at the Sunday farmer's market. I was also told by another grocer "They are just blackberries" and more often than not, asked "What kind of berries?" One last call to the local Natural Foods Co-Op and a cheery voice non challanty said "Oh, yes, we have frozen Marionberries." Sputtering, I asked her more than once if she was absolutely certain they were Marionberries? Indeed they were. I felt like I won the Marionberry lottery. Stahlbush Island Farms has a store locator on their web site. Pop in your zip code to see if stores in your area carry them.
The genoise batter for these shortcakes used Wondra flour which I always have better luck mixing in than cake flour. The beurre noisette with vanilla gave it a wonderful flavor.
After two hours the berries barely thawed and were not releasing their highly prized juice. Placed in a double boiler over simmering water for just a few minutes worked like a charm.
The berries released the requisite amount of juice for painting the cakes. I didn't use any liqueur and the flavor was amazingly intense reduced on its own.
The dilemma of choosing between creme fraiche or whipped cream was solved by making both and coloring the whipped cream with the gorgeous juice. Not surprisingly, kids preferred the whipped cream and adults the creme fraiche. Mine was topped with both. This is a nice light dessert and perfect for any berry in season.