Simple naked luxuriousness. Depending on your source, and the ripeness of the berries, you might want to add a pinch of sugar or a drizzle of honey to elevate the natural sweetness in the berries.
Zest of 1 ripe lemon
Zest of 1 ripe pink grapefruit (or alternatively, of 1 blood orange)
1 vanilla bean
2 cups mixed blueberries and blackberries
Fresh mint leaves for garnish
To candy the zests:
¾ cup (150 g) sugar
¾ cup (180ml) water
Prepare the candied zest:
Remove the zests from the fruits, making sure to remove all of the white pith. If using a vegetable peeler, cut the strips into julienne.
In a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat, combine the sugar and water. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally until the sugar dissolves. Add the zests, and allow the syrup to return to a boil. Cook until the zest is translucent through, about 8 minutes. Using tongs or a slotted spoon, transfer the zests to a plate and let cool.
Prepare the fruit segments for service:
After removing the zest from the pink grapefruit (or blood orange, if using) use a chef’s knife to remove the remaining pith and peel. Work over a bowl to catch the juices of the fruit and remove the segments of the grapefruit (or orange) (also known as “supreme-ing” the fruit). Reserve the juices; hold the segments separately.
Sort through the berries, removing any stems, stalks and leaves, or moldy berries, and place in a medium-sized bowl. Taste the berries; if necessary, add a pinch of sugar or honey to taste. Add 1 teaspoon of lemon juice, or if using a blood orange, up to 1 tablespoon of the orange juice. Split the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape the seeds from the inside using the back of a knife. Add the vanilla bean scrapings to the berries and gently toss to combine. Allow to macerate at room temperature for 1 hour, or up to 3 in the refrigerator.
Arrange about 3 or 4 fruit segments in the center of a chilled dessert plate. Mound the berries on top of the segments. Drizzle a bit of the berry juices and some of the reserved grapefruit juices around each plate. Garnish with the candied zests and a fresh mint sprig.
Recipe and photo by Donna Marie Zotter