Patriotic summertime dessert features raspberries grown locally

A patriotic dessert with local red and black raspberries is the ultimate summertime treat. CONTRIBUTED/JIM RUBENSTEIN

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A patriotic dessert with local red and black raspberries is the ultimate summertime treat. CONTRIBUTED/JIM RUBENSTEIN

Welcome to the thousands of Journal-News readers who are seeing The Oxford Press for the first time. This column is devoted to local food as featured at MOON Co-op Grocery and Oxford’s Farmers Market, but I hope some of you living elsewhere in the area will also find it interesting.

The selection at Oxford’s Farmers Market differs from others in this area. Many of the growers at the Oxford Farmers Market, which occurs on Saturdays, come from Preble and Darke counties, and Oxford is as far south as they get.

MOON Co-op is a cooperatively owned grocery store in Oxford. The name is an acronym for Miami Oxford Organic Network.

The grocery opened in 2011 in order to fill a need for local and Earth-friendly products. The co-op currently has around 970 member-owners. Anyone can join the co-op, and anyone can shop there.

The shortcomings of our nation’s industrial food system are many, but I prefer not to dwell on them in this weekly column. I prefer to extol the virtues of our local growers and producers.

My first county-wide column features my absolute favorite local fruit, raspberries. Red and black raspberries have appeared first this summer in Oxford’s Farmers Market. By the time you read this, you may be seeing yellow and purple varieties as well.

Black raspberries and red raspberries are different species. Black raspberries are thought to be native to the Americas, whereas red raspberries probably reached America from Asia across the Bering Strait or from European settlers.

For this holiday weekend, I baked a patriotic dessert with local red and black raspberries. I reckon that black is a close enough substitute for blue.

Melt 5 tablespoons unsalted butter in a microwave and let cool. Meanwhile, generously grease the bottom and sides of a rectangular baking dish. Mine was 6x9.

When the butter is cool, mix it with 2 tablespoons organic sugar, a pinch of sea salt, and 1/4 teaspoon each almond and vanilla extracts. Add 2/3 cup unbleached pastry flour to form a soft cookie-like dough. Press the dough evenly into the bottom and sides of the pan and bake for 12 minutes at 375.

Remove the shell from the oven, and sprinkle 2 tablespoons finely ground almonds on it. In addition to imparting a nice flavor, the ground almonds keep the shell from getting soggy when the filling is added.

Combine 1/4 cup creme fraiche, 1 egg, 1 tablespoon honey, 1/4 teaspoon almond extract, and 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract. Pour the filling into the shell and bake for another 10 minutes.

Place a handful of black raspberries in the upper left corner of the custard. Place red raspberries in several parallel rows, ideally seven. Return to the oven for only 1 or 2 more minutes.

Happy Independence Day. Thanks to folks outside of Oxford for taking the time to read this column. Come on over to Oxford and check out our farmers market and MOON Co-op Grocery.

Jim Rubenstein writes this column on behalf of MOON Co-op, Oxford’s consumer-owned full-service grocery. The store is located at 516 S. Locust St. Get info online at www.mooncoop.coop.

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