Cupcake Monday! What to do with leftover raspberry coulis
Or strawberry, or blackberry, etc. Such a simple thing to make, fruit coulis is a versatile sauce that can make desserts a bit nicer if you're in the mood for extras, especially with panna cotta and chocolate mousse. I made some raspberry coulis the other day to top a lime cheesecake I baked (the recipe didn't deliver enough lime and it was generally unpleasant so I'll be trying another recipe, though none of that stopped us from eating the entire thing over a few days), and I had a big bowl left over. It was great over fresh berries and ice cream, but we still had loads left. So I did two things with it: froze it in an ice tray, making coulis cubes that can be dropped into sparkling water for instant fruit pop, or thawed and drizzled over whatever; and the rest I used to add some sauciness to berry pastries. (All good, but I wish I'd saved some for making brie and phyllo appetisers, I'm doing a Homer drool right now thinking about that.)
I used store-bought puff pastry. I made my own once and it worked out, so I no longer have something to prove, and my family gets treated a lot more than if I had to find the time to make it myself. (I've learned that it's ok to take shortcuts for the greater good.) But this time I decided to try the 30% less fat variety alongside the usual, to compare. Could it actually be that I wouldn't be able to tell the difference? Big surprise, it turns out you can't have it both ways. I might as well have saved the effort and spread jam on a cracker. Or a playing card. It was that bleh. Good pastry is made with lots of butter. I can live with this.
As for the part I did have control over - easy peasy, and quick! For the filling/topping, I placed a bunch of fresh berries that were on hand (straw, black, blue) onto each square with some chopped macadamia nuts, and spooned some coulis over. I was worried if I used too little it would be absorbed during baking, and so I wound up using too much, and it spilled out a bit and weighed down the edges of the pastry in places, preventing it from rising properly. So for the next batch I used one tablespoon for each and it was fine. (Another thing I've learned is if you're not sure, try just a few first. I must finally be learning patience, my MO used to be 'dive in head first and don't look back', which backfired almost always.) I finished them off by brushing the edges with egg wash and scattering demerara over all of it before popping the tray into the oven for about 10 minutes. For serving, I poured some of the leftover coulis - that bowl was endless! - into a cup for drizzling.
You don't have to be precise. Take what berries you have (thaw before using if they're frozen) and add sugar to taste (I used white caster), throwing in a few tablespoons and adding accordingly after. Then puree in a blender or food processor. The amount of sugar you use depends on how sweet your fruits are, and how sweet you like it. Some recipes suggest you make a simple syrup first then puree it with the berries, but I find that can make the sauce quite thin. Most suggest a tablespoon or two of lemon juice, but I can't imagine how that would help sweeten the raspberries which are so hard to find not tart, I think I've had properly sweet raspberries twice! - can anyone attest to this? You can also add some boozy flavour to your coulis with a tablespoon of Chambord, Kirsch, or framboise eau-de-vie.
Be sure to strain your puree through a sieve, using the back of a ladle for efficiency, so you have a smooth, seed-free coulis. It should last in the fridge for three days, and if you have any left, you know what to do!
Photos © The Swelle Life