Yesterday was my mother’s birthday and I told her I would like to make her a birthday dinner – but that she was on her own for her birthday dessert. Because she makes amazing deserts.
Why not have the best?
So I made her a pork wellington filled with meat and greens – and she made something really special – my grandmother’s berry whip.
As soon as she uncovered the bowl I grinned.
Normally Grammy’s berry whip is made with wild strawberries that we’d spend hours picking. To give you an example of the work involved, look at your pinkie nail. When scouring the hills for wild strawberries, if we found one that big it was a score.
Needless to say, it would take awhile to pick a cup of the itty-bitty little things. To my grandmother’s credit, that should have been a job that she’d just send the kids out to do – just to get us out from underfoot. But, she loves picking fruit and the hunt for the perfect wild strawberry – so she’d be out there with us. And as soon as we hit the one cup mark, we’d get back in the kitchen and Grammy would be prepping the berries.
And then the magic would begin.
From only three ingredients, this amazing frosting would be created. And no one had any shame about eating dinner so fast that none of it registered in our mouth. It was a race to the finish to get to this frosting.
Needless to say, my mother used berries from a bush – not the “hillside scour” – for the frosting yesterday, because wild strawberries are out of season. But the second I saw this, it reminded me of climbing hills, walking gently so we didn’t crush any little strawberries, and the massive crick in our collective necks that followed.
Proust had his madeleine cookies to remind him of childhood, but in my family we have something even better. Berry whip.
So, so, so, so, good.
Grammy’s Berry Whip
1 cup berries
1 egg white
1 cup granulated sugar
Beat until stiff peaks form with a mixer, and serve over cake. Or ice cream. Or chocolate. Or directly from the bowl with a spoon.
(Photos by Launie Kettler. Dessert made by Launie’s mother.)