Nothing says summer to me like fresh berries, but especially fresh raspberries. I have fond memories of the massive raspberry bushes at my grandparents’ house, of going out in the back yard with an old ice cream bucket and filling it to the brim with bright ruby-red berries. When I was a wee girl, I got to be the one to pick the berries hiding down low and under the leaves, and I used to sit in the shade of the raspberry bushes and eat them by the fistful while my grandmother filled the pails. 25 years later, the smell of fresh raspberries transports me straight back to her kitchen, and the warm summer evenings we spent together.
My inspiration for this month’s Life Made Delicious post is the essential summer berry – the raspberry. The rich red tones, the tart yet sweet burst in your mouth – perfection in a bite. This recipe is a family favourite, one that has been made for as long as I can remember by my grandmother, my mother, and my aunts. Incidentally, this is my first time attempting it! It has graced every family picnic, every barbecue, every potluck, every celebration in the summer months for as long as I can remember, and yet I have never been the one to make it. Ever. It seems ironic that I’ve tackled the vast majority of my family’s staple recipes, but not this one.
I spent most of this month wavering on what recipe I’d post, too. I just didn’t know – summer foods? Too many choices! But a recent, and unfortunately sad, family event made the decision for me. My grandfather passed away last night at the ripe old age of 85. I was thankfully able to have a very good, though somewhat rushed, visit with him in his final hours. And before I left, he urged me to go to the house and pick the raspberries – the bushes were overflowing. Well, they weren’t quite overflowing, but there was a decent harvest of fresh berries. We had actually already been to the house and picked the canes of their beautiful harvest before our visit with him, but I promised him that we would make something delicious with them. And so I did.
I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do. I could honestly eat an entire pan of this and not feel an ounce of guilt. Granma and Pupa Good – this one’s for you. I miss you both more than I can possibly express, and your memories will live on. Of that I am certain.
1 cup graham wafer crumbs
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup butter, melted
4 oz cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup icing sugar
1/2 tsp almond extract
3/4 cup boiling water
1 package (85g) raspberry-flavoured gelatin
2 cups raspberries, fresh or frozen (thawed)
1 cup whipping cream
3 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp unflavoured gelatin*
1 Tbsp cold water*
Preheat the oven to 350F. In a small bowl, mix together graham wafer crumbs, brown sugar and cinnamon. Add melted butter and combine, reserve 1 Tbsp, and press the remainder into an ungreased 8×8 pan. Bake in a preheated oven for 10 minutes, remove from oven, and let cool to room temperature on a wire rack.
In a small bowl, beat together softened cream cheese, icing sugar, and almond extract. Spread over cooled graham crust.
Pour boiling water into a bowl and whisk in raspberry gelatin powder until dissolved. Stir in raspberries and refrigerate, stirring often, until the mixture begins to thicken and set. Pour over the cream cheese layer and refrigerate until completely set.
Whip cream until it begins to form peaks. Add sugar and vanilla. Sprinkle unflavoured gelatin powder over cold water, and let sit until all the water has been absorbed. Microwave gelatin for 30 seconds, until clear and all crystals have dissolved. Drizzle gelatin into the cream while whipping it. Spread over the set raspberry layer, sprinkle with reserved graham crumbs, and refrigerate until ready to serve.
* A tip: the gelatin and cold water is a stabilizing agent for the whipped cream. If you plan to serve this immediately, you can skip the stabilizing agent and just whip together the cream, sugar, and vanilla. I like to add the stabilizer if it will be in the fridge for more than a few hours, as whipped cream has a tendency to lose its airiness if left to sit for too long.
For other ideas on how to make your life more delicious, and creating tasty memories for your family, visit the Life Made Delicious page for inspiration!
Disclosure: I am part of the Life Made Delicious blogger program and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation. The opinions in this blog are my own.