Haskapa Says What?
Posted On April 4th, 2013 Author Lia Rinaldo Comments: 2
From the longest blog post in the world to the shortest or at least, one can only hope.
I may have mentioned last week that I would talk about what I've been building for the last three months or that I would share a bit about the Bahamas adventure. Sue me, I lied. Actually don't, there's no money for lawyers yet. There are just a few more pieces to the intricate puzzle that is my future career, y'know, the one to hang your hat on. You're gonna have to hold tight for a bit longer. I promise it's spectacular and that I will tell you eventually, really. I'm aware of how tired this is getting.
I have to say, one of the sweetest things about running a food blog is the fresh product, cool swag and event invitations that come your way. And for this week, the emphasis really is on the sweet. I received a couple of products recently from LaHave Natural Farms here in Nova Scotia–a bottle of pure pasteurized Haskapa juice (a gorgeous crimsone tone) and a bag of dried Haskap berries (delicious on their own). LaHave is the largest organic grower of the Haskap berry in Canada. The berry itself belongs to a species of blue honeysuckle that originates in Japan where it has long been considered a natural ingredient for eternal youth. Wow. Make it so.
Not only does the Haskap berry pack a flavour punch (with notes of raspberry, blackberry & blueberry), it has double the antioxidant content of wild blueberries, 60% of the daily recommended vitamin C dose, more calcium than an apple and double the iron content of a strawberry and triple that of a blueberry... all in a single handful! So, there I stood in my kitchen motionless, what the hell was I going to make with it? I don't bake and every single idea that came to mind was a dessert. I'm not a desserts person, give me a cheese plate to end the meal of all meals. Wait, cheese! So, I looked around for ideas, trotted dutifully down to Charcuterie Ratinaud, and the rest is damn history. The gallery here is a perfect representation of this now-so-aptly-named blog–what starts out as a stark mid-afternoon photo shoot deteriorates into a hot mess shared with good friends over Easter weekend. It would be one hell of a boring blog if it happened any other way. Big thanks to my friend Steph who summed up the taste perfectly as the cheese equivalent of a blackberry cheesecake ice cream in a waffle cone. I'll take it.
In the meantime, a rather enterprising group of food bloggers have found a way to pull us locals together on both Facebook and on Pinterest, be sure to follow both of these options for photos, recipes and fun banter. There are lots of great initiatives coming up that everyone can take part in, even just as a pure consumer.
Addendum: Just heard from the fine folks over at LaHave and they wanted me to mention this- And if you ever get questions from people about where to buy haskapa products (juice, jam, dried, honey, granola bars, etc.) then send them to us / haskapa.com.
Brie de Meaux with Haskap Berries
Adapted from here.
1 wheel or generous wedge of brie, a wheel would have worked better in hindsight but I don't care. Wedgie!
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed and rolled out thin
3 tablespoons whole milk or one egg white- both work
1 tablespoon butter
50g of dried Haskap berries
1 fresh vanilla bean
1 tablespoon honey, I used agave nectar, yeah I did
1/4 cup cognac
Pinch of salt
Juice of 1/2 fresh-squeezed lemon
Sliced baguette or crackers
1. Roast Almonds. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spread almond slivers evenly on a baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes until golden brown. Cool.
2. Turn the oven up to 400°F. Coat a baking pan lightly with vegetable oil. Carefully cut the wheel of Brie in half horizontally, gently pry the two pieces of Brie apart and open it up like a sandwich. Sprinkle the almonds on the cut side of one layer of cheese. Place the top circle of Brie on top of the almonds, cut side down, and press down gently. Like a sandwich.
3. On a lightly floured surface, roll the pastry thin. Put the Brie in the center of the pastry and gather up the sides to make a parcel. Decoratively twist and pinch the ends together to seal the pastry. Brush with milk or egg white. Carefully transfer the Brie to the baking pan. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the pastry is evenly puffed and browned. Mine exploded as expected, but who cares? They're still going to eat it.
4. Meanwhile, prepare the Haskap berry sauce. Melt the butter in a pot over medium-low heat. When the butter is foamy, add the dried berries and gently toss them to coat in the butter. Add in the vanilla bean, honey and cognac. Raise the heat to medium and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the berries are soft but remain intact and the liquid thickens slightly. Remove the pot from the heat and sprinkle with a pinch of salt and a squeeze of lemon juice to balance out the sweetness of the sauce. Remove the vanilla pod and discard. Set the Haskap sauce aside to cool slightly and thicken.
5. The finish. Carefully transfer the baked Brie to a platter. Allow it to cool for a minute or two. Spoon the Haskap sauce on top of the Brie. Serve it warm or at room temperature with sliced baguette or crackers.