Too early in spring. Too late in summer. Midwinter. We know the temptation to buy those tempting pints of raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries even when we know they’re a little–or a lot–less than perfect.
The solution is simple. Just douse the little roly-polies with simple syrup and roll them in ordinary granulated sugar. The whole process requires just a saucepan and a clean brush of some sort. The sweet little somethings that result turn even eye-twitchingly tart berries into an eye-catching embellishment for ice cream and coconut cake and cheesecake and, oh my, truth be told, just about anything.–Cheryl Day and Griffith Day
LC Broad Brushstrokes Note
Unlike painting the walls of your domicile, painting berries requires little exactitude and far, far less prep work. There are no worries about brushstrokes showing. No concern if a little too much dribbled off onto the carpet, er, parchment. Just paint to your heart’s content seeing as all manner of sloppiness or sin will be disguised by a sprinkling of sugar. Best yet, you can lick your fingers afterward rather than scrub them with turpentine. You’re welcome.
- A new, clean pastry or paint or watercolor brush
- Simple syrup
- Berries of all shapes and colors or, come midwinter, kumquats
- Granulated sugar
- Let the simple syrup cool to room temperature or, if you have it stashed in the fridge, you can use it chilled.
- Rinse the berries or kumquats and pat them dry. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Pour the sugar into a shallow bowl.
- Place the fruit in a single layer on the parchment. Lightly dip your brush in the simple syrup and paint the berries, avoiding the hull portion if using strawberries. Allow any excess syrup to drip off and then roll the fruit in the sugar to evenly coat. Set the fruit aside on the parchment to dry until no longer sticky.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
This is so simple that I feel almost foolish giving it a testers’ choice designation. However, with a huge amount of fresh berries on hand, I decided that this was the perfect thing to go with any of several desserts after a special outdoor dinner. Brushing the berries with the syrup, rolling them in sugar, and then drying them gives the fruit a nice, sweet crunchiness without them being too cloyingly sweet. I used fresh blueberries and freshly picked strawberries. We had planned to serve puff pastry shells with chantilly cream and were wondering what to serve on top…and this was perfect! We also had some locally made vanilla ice cream and pound cake that were wonderful topped with this. A nice change from the usual ice cream toppings and a very good summer dessert.
Originally published June 17, 2013