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Summer for me is all about fruit, especially berries. The variety is amazing, and I can eat them all day long: a few blueberries topping my breakfast yogurt, a fistful of blackberries on my peanut butter sandwich instead of jam, a snack of strawberries with my afternoon tea, and homemade raspberry ice cream or a raspberry tart for dessert after dinner.
I put berries in my salads and mash them in my marinades. I blitz them into my vinaigrettes and sorbet them. I float them in my cocktails and freeze them in ice cubes for my iced tea and lemonade. But one of my favorite things to do with them is to make a berry terrine.
What is a berry terrine and why you should make one
Terrines are really any dish that is set in a loaf pan or loaf-shaped mold and sliced to serve. Paté is one example. Dessert terrines are a wonderful refreshing ender for any summer meal. They are also a godsend for entertaining, as you can make them a few days in advance, and they serve a crowd. I love semi-freddo, a sliceable terrine-style ice cream dessert from Italy.
But I really love a berry terrine. You can use a single type of berry or a mix of several. You can make them a casual jumble, or layer precisely for an ombre effect. Once set, you slice to serve, and can garnish in any number of ways, with ice cream or sorbet, whipped cream or crème fraiche, vanilla yogurt, chocolate shavings, toasted nuts, or a drizzle of coulis.
You can make the terrine show off the natural colors of the berries by using cranberry juice as your base or enhance the red tones by using pomegranate juice. No matter how you build it, it's going to slice into a cool, berry-tastic, summer treat. Here's how to make it.
6 cups mixed or single variety berries, washed, hulled, and dried well (if using strawberries, halve, quarter, or slice as needed)
2 cups unsweetened white cranberry juice or pomegranate juice
2 envelopes plain gelatin
⅓ cup sugar
Pinch fine sea salt
1. Sprinkle the gelatin over ½ cup of the juice to bloom for 10 minutes.
2. Heat the remaining juice with the sugar until the sugar is dissolved, then add the gelatin and stir to dissolve. Add the pinch of salt and set aside to cool.
3. Arrange the berries in an 8-inch loaf pan lined with plastic wrap. You can make a pattern on the sides and bottom if you want extra special presentation or put in layers of colors.
4. Carefully pour the liquid over the berries, just to barely cover, and cover with plastic wrap pressed onto the surface of the berries. If you need to, place a spatula or other utensil on top to weigh down the berries. Put in the fridge to set a minimum of 4 hours or overnight. You can make up to 3 days in advance.
To serve, use the plastic wrap to unmold, slice, and garnish. Voila!