At last weekend’s farmers market I went gaga over all the fresh and juicy berries—mulberries, gooseberries, red currants, black currants, blueberries, and loads of raspberries (golden, red and black)—I got them all. I had several ideas on what to make with them and finally settled on two desserts—fruit tartlettes (pictures on Instagram and a post about them soon to come) and this mixed berry and elderflower crisp.
I had been wanting to use elderflower liqueur with berries for a while. Its flavor is delicate, yet captivating. Versatile in its uses, elderflower liqueur has a subtle yet complex flavor, reminiscent of tropical fruits (like lychee) and pear, peach, and grapefruit. The liqueur is made from elderflower, a tiny, white starry flower that blooms through the spring and summer. In Europe, the flower is used in a variety of foods and beverages, but in the U.S. it has gained popularity in the form of liqueur.
I used St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur (I have no affiliation) that has bottled the flavor of the flowers in warm floral notes. You can use any other brand of elderflower liqueur, but I like St. Germain, not only because of its bright and fragrant flavor—and beautiful bottle/packaging—but also because of its quality and lovely history.
It is the first liqueur in the world created in the artisanal French manner from freshly handpicked elderflower blossoms. The picked elderflowers are bicycled to a collection depot where they are immediately macerated to preserve and extract the flavors of the bloom. Each bottle of St. Germain is individually numbered, reflecting the year in which the flowers were picked. How charming is that?! I’d love to have one of those old fashioned country bicycles with a basket filled with elderflowers.
Juicy berries alone are marvelous when nestled under a crispy top, but the elderflower adds another subtle element of flavor that makes this super easy and delicious summer dessert absolutely delightful. If you can’t get a hold of elderflower liqueur, or you would prefer not to use it, the crisp is still delicious. I baked a small portion without the liqueur so my little one could have some too. Feel free to use a mix of whatever berries you can find. The crisp is vegan. You can eat it alone or serve it with your choice of yogurt, ice cream (vegan or not) or cashew cardamom cream (recipe below).
Mixed Berry and Elderflower Crisp
1 cup almonds, chopped small
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup spelt flour
1/2 cup coconut sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
large pinch sea salt
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted (plus more to grease pan)
8 cups (about 2 pounds) mixed berries (red, black and/or golden raspberries, gooseberries, red currants, black currants, wine berries, mulberries, strawberries, blueberries, etc.)
1/2 cup coconut sugar
1 tablespoon arrowroot powder
1/2 cup elderflower liqueur
Preheat oven to 375 F. Grease a large (9×13) baking dish with coconut oil. Set aside.
In a large bowl, make the topping. Combine the almonds, rolled oats, spelt flour, cinnamon and salt. Mix, then add melted coconut oil. Mix well and set aside.
In another large bowl, make the berry filling. Combine all the berries, coconut sugar, and arrowroot powder in large bowl. Toss well. Add elderflower liqueur and toss again. Add berries to prepared baking dish. Cover berry mixture with topping. Bake until the top has nicely browned and the fruit juices bubble out, 35-45 minutes. Allow to cool about 30 minutes before serving.
Makes about 2 cups
3/4 cup cashews
2 cups + 1 tablespoon plant milk, divided
1-2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon cardamom, ground
1/2 vanilla bean, split and scraped
1 1/2 teaspoons arrowroot powder
Place cashews, 2 cups of milk, maple syrup and cardamom in a blender and puree until smooth. Pour milk into a medium saucepan. Use a sharp knife to slit the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape the seeds into the milk. Put the bean in the milk as well. Heat the milk over medium heat. Meanwhile, in a small bowl combine remaining tablespoon of milk with arrowroot powder and stir until dissolved. Whisking constantly, slowly pour arrowroot mixture into the milk in the saucepan. Whisk until slightly thickened. Remove from heat.
Strain the cream through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean container. Discard the vanilla bean. Allow cream to cool to room temperature, about 10 minutes. Refrigerate until well chilled, about an hour, and serve.