Thursday, January 5, 2012

Mulberry Pots de Creme

Last weekend I was at the market with Mr. R. I had to by some knick knacks for the kitchen so had gone to the Alfa store, after having picked up some lovely glass spoons, a kettle, some mini cups, a few cupcake moulds etc etc etc… none of which were a part of my intended shopping list J, we were crossing the road to reach the other side where the car was parked, when suddenly I shrieked ‘Mulberries!!!!’ and ran towards the fruit vendor where I had spotted them. Mr. R whom I had left in the middle of the road came towards me with the expressions that were like ‘how is it that food makes you go nuts?’ but I guess the gleeful expression on my face like that of a 6yr old who had just seen a fairyland of candy kept him from saying that and instead he smiled at me and said, “Careful honey, they are not the last batch and it’s surely not the end of the world” and I looked at him and said “he has Mulberries Teddy!!!!” and almost laughing Mr. R bought all the 3 boxes of Mulberries that the fruit vendor had. (btw They are extremely difficult to get now a days and very expensive my behaviour was completely justified...)

Mulberries have a sentimental value for me, my mother loves them and I guess I love them because of her. I have fond memories attached with these berries. Mom would often share this story from my childhood while we would snack on these berries......
 I would have been around 2 yrs and dad was posted in some remote village. We had quite a few mulberry trees in the garden of the house where we were living. Every morning the ripe berries would fall off the trees, covering the entire the grounds and turning it a deep purple..what a sight that must have been!! A lot of the village kids would gather outside our house and request mom to let them pick berries from the ground, which my mom happily used to allow of course. But to her misery, being the stubborn child I was, I had to also eat the same berries that the other kids were picking up from the ground and not the fresh ones that mom had herself picked washed and refrigerated. I was a nasty child…I know.. but who isn’t at that age J So my poor mother started stocking heaps of mulberries in the fridge and used to have all those village kids eat the washed and refrigerated berries so that I could eat along with them and would stay away from eating the dirty ones.  
Then there was this other time, during my MBA I was doing my summer internship with a company in Pune and was staying all alone as all my other roommates had to do their internship in other cities. Mom came over and stayed with me for those 2 months so that I wouldn’t be all alone. We had a ball of a time in those 2 months!!! I used be back every evening by around 6pm and had Saturdays and Sundays off. Mom would be ready by the time I would reach home and then we would go to the around the movies...and after having exhausted ourselves we used to go to this Juice Centre on the MG road and have their speciality juice which used to be our favourite.... ‘Mulberry Juice’!!! We used to share the days gossip over a glass of Mulberry Juice
Every time I eat these sweet purple berries, I re-live those wonderfully sweet moments spent with my mother..

After eating through one box, I decided to make a desert with them. Amongst the several possibilities, I first decided to make a crumble and went to the cupboard to get the ramekins when I suddenly realized that pots de crème had been on my ‘to attempt’ list for the week anyway. These are French desert custards most commonly made with vanilla and chocolate flavours. The idea of a smooth rich and berry flavoured French custard was too hard to resist so sure enough the crumble was put aside ‘for now’ and I made some Mulberry Pots de Crème!


       200 gms Mulberberries (washed and stems removed)
3 tablespoons Castor sugar
2 large Egg yolks
1 1/2 cups Heavy cream
1 1/2 tablespoons Vanilla steeped Vodka

·        Preheat oven to 275 degrees. In the container of a blender, combine mulberries, sugar and egg yolks.
·        Bring a kettle of water to a boil. Pass mulberry mixture through a fine sieve into a bowl. Add cream and vanilla flavored vodka. Mix well.
·        Divide mixture evenly among 4 1-cup ramekins. (I used the smaller ramekins so divided the mixture in 6 instead of 4) Place ramekins in a baking dish, and add enough boiling water to come halfway up the sides of ramekins.
·        Place baking dish in the oven, and bake until the custard is just set, until the custard sets around the edges but still jiggles in the center, 25 to 30 minutes..
·        Remove from the oven; place ramekins on a rack, and cool. Cover with foil or plastic wrap, and refrigerate at least 2 hours.
·        Serve with some soft whipped cream on top of each custard