Berries with Citrus & Vanilla

Berries with Citrus & Vanilla

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.

Serves 4


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