abundant berries

Summer in Oregon means berries, berries, berries. I may be a bit biased, but I’ve always maintained that Oregon berries are better than those in other states. Although, when I lived in Southern California, I fell hard for strawberries grown in the sandy soil of Oxnard and Ventura County. Maine blueberries are pretty amazing-tasting as well. However, Oregon berries will always be my number one. 

I grew up in Corvallis, land of the renowned agricultural university that is responsible for developing the marionberry in the 1950s. Does that make me a berry aficionado? No way. But now that I’m back living in the land of berries, I have an appreciation for where berries are grown, where they come from, and how many  varieties exist. When shopping at the farmers market in Portland, I almost feel like I need a berry identifier app on my phone to help decode the different types of berries available for purchase.

Don’t even get me started on wild blackberries of Oregon that take over people’s backyards and grow like weeds on the sides of roads, highways and freeways. That is for an entire other post.

Raspberry season in Oregon is turning out to be short this year because of the extra hot June and early July weather. I am taking advantage of the peak of season raspberries while I can. Of course, you can still find the commercially grown varieties in grocery stores.

This raspberry mousse dessert is a beautiful way to showcase the flavor of raspberries. It’s simple, doesn’t require a hot oven, and keeps well in the freezer for a few days, and up to a week.

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Image: Deborah Hsu

My kitchen notes

Adding the brandy or liqueur isn’t necessary, but if you have something on hand, consider it.

Frozen Raspberry ‘Mousse’ – adapted from Bon Appetit Magazine 

3 cups fresh raspberries, divided

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

1 tablespoon brandy or some sort of liqueur (optional)

1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream

1/2 cup sour cream

Directions 

1. Puree 2 1/2 cups of the raspberries along with the powdered sugar and brandy in a blender until smooth. Transfer to a large bowl.

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Image: Deborah Hsu

2. Using an electric mixer, beat whipping cream in another large bowl until firm peaks form. Add sour cream and beat until just blended.

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Image: Deborah Hsu

3. Fold whipped cream mixture into raspberry puree just until incorporated.

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Image: Deborah Hsu

4. Divide mousse into jars or parfait glasses.

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Image: Deborah Hsu

5. Cover each with plastic wrap and freeze. About 2 hours before serving, place mousse in refrigerator to thaw slightly.

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Image: Deborah Hsu

6. When thawed to your liking, top with additional raspberries and serve.

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Image: Deborah Hsu
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