This year, the red raspberry harvest continued into November. For the first time, I was able to cover the plants with netting to keep the birds from devouring my crop.
If you want to taste raspberries at their best, grow your own plants or visit a local farmers market when berries are in season.
Raspberries are good to eat fresh from the plant while working in the garden. They are also good in ice cream, cakes and liqueurs. My husband uses them to flavor wine.
Fortunately, raspberries can be purchased year-round at the grocery store and one can easily satisfy a craving until the next local season rolls around. It is important to remember raspberries are highly perishable and should be consumed soon after picking or purchasing. To prevent the berries from molding, do not wash until ready to eat.
There are flavor combinations that work well with fruit. I like chocolate-covered strawberries and cherries, but my favorite fruit and chocolate combination is raspberry and chocolate.
I will end the local raspberry season with this raspberry truffle brownie recipe and a little trivia about one of my favorite fruits.
• The raspberry is a member of the rose family.
• The berry is made up of tiny, bead-like “drupelets” clustered around a core. Each drupelet contains one seed. An average raspberry has 100 to 120 seeds.
• During the Middle Ages, raspberry juice was used as a red colorant in artwork and illuminated manuscripts.
• George Washington grew several varieties of raspberries at Mount Vernon.
• After the Civil War, major production areas emerged in New York, Michigan, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois, Indiana and Washington.
• Today, Washington and California are the top commercial producers of raspberries.
• Raspberries prefer cooler climates but can be grown in tropical regions.
• One cup of raspberries has 60 calories.
• Raspberries are one of the top 10 antioxidant fruits.
RASPBERRY TRUFFLE BROWNIES
For Brownie Batter:
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1-3/4 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, melted
2/3 cup raspberry jam
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 large eggs
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup fresh raspberries
For Chocolate Raspberry Glaze:
1/4 cup seedless raspberry jam
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
2 tablespoons butter
Preheat the oven to 325°. Spray a 13-x-9-inch pan with vegetable spray and line it with a piece of parchment paper that covers the bottom of the pan but drapes over the long sides (like handles). Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the cocoa, sugar and salt and whisk to combine. Stir in the melted butter and whisk until well combined.
Stir in the flour. Add the eggs one at a time and stir until combined before adding the next egg. Add the jam and whisk briskly into the cocoa mixture. Stir in the chocolate chips. Gently fold in raspberries until well blended.
Spread the batter into a prepared pan.
Bake for 30-40 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Center will be slightly soft. Cool the brownies for at least one hour before glazing.
For the Glaze:
In a small pot or pan over medium heat, combine the chocolate chips, raspberry jam, corn syrup and butter. Stir constantly until the glaze is smooth and shiny.
Drizzle the glaze over the cooled brownies and let rest for several hours to set up.
To slice, run a thin, sharp knife under hot water and make slices to the brownies, wiping the knife after each cut and heating it under the hot water again to keep the slices "clean."
Note: I chose to serve my brownie with vanilla ice cream and raspberry syrup.