Pastry chef Sean Ehland (at right) picks berries with farmer Fritz Aichele at Maple Ridge Farms in Canadys. He uses them in dishes such as crème fraiche mousse with blackberry sorbet. Photographs by (left to right) Christopher Shane & Ruta Elvikyte
July 23, 2014
Tastes Like Summer
Pastry chef Sean Ehland shares a sweet use for blackberries
Pastry chef Sean Ehland—who soon departs McCrady’s for a still-unnamed Daniel Patterson Group project in San Francsico—confesses to a soft spot for blackberries. “My grandmother had them growing in her backyard,” he explains. “My brother and I would devour them. She would send us home with a bag full when we left her house—they rarely made the trip.” Bringing more tang than blueberries, which are also in season during the months of June and July, Lowcountry blackberries are ideal for desserts. Ehland puts them to work while they’re at their best, whipping up a crème fraiche mousse to pair with his blackberry sorbet, which he serves atop a bed of fresh berries. Ehland sources his fruit from local producers, such as Maple Ridge Farms in Canadys, and also purchases at the farmers markets. The downtown market offers plenty of opportunity to stock up this month, as several of its vendors sell blackberries from their stalls. “That fruit is as close to the soil as you can get aside from picking it yourself,” he says.
Crème Fraiche Mousse with Blackberry Sorbet
1 pint blackberries
Blackberry sorbet (see recipe below)
Crème fraiche mousse (see recipe below)
1 oz. good quality dark chocolate, grated
Divide the pint of blackberries among six bowls. Place a scoop of sorbet on top of the berries. Spoon a dollop of mousse on top of the sorbet. Sprinkle dark chocolate overtop. Serve immediately.
For the blackberry sorbet:
7 cups blackberries
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
Working in two batches if necessary, place the ingredients in a blender or food processor and purée until very smooth. Strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve. Discard the seeds. Churn the mixture in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Tightly covered, the sorbet will keep for three days in the freezer.
For the crème fraiche mousse:
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1 Tbs. powdered gelatin
1½ cups buttermilk
2 cups crème fraiche
Put the sugar and water in a clean glass quart jar. Stir until the sugar is completely dissolved. This is now simple syrup.
Put a quarter cup of simple syrup in a small saucepan and top with the gelatin. Put the buttermilk and crème fraiche in a medium saucepan and whisk to combine. Heat the syrup and gelatin over low heat, stirring until all the gelatin is dissolved. Meanwhile, heat the buttermilk and crème fraiche over medium heat until just under a simmer. Stir in the dissolved gelatin. Pour the mousse into a bowl.
Make an ice bath of equal parts water and ice in a larger high-sided bowl. Place the smaller bowl in the ice bath and beat the warm mousse with a hand mixer until it is aerated and the gelatin has set. Refrigerate. Tightly covered, the mousse will keep for up to two hours in the refrigerator.