This time last week P., the kids and I spent a lovely day at a lake just outside Berlin. The temperature had been above 30C all week so we decided our family needed a bit of cooling off away from car noise and hot concrete pavements. 2 days later, on Sunday evening, the heavens opened and thunder rumbled late into the night. On Monday, Berlin temperatures had dropped down to a comfortable and warm 25C. But summer is still in town even though you can feel that it is starting to make its way out. The air is cooler and cardigans are again part of out morning walk to Kindergarten. I know that pretty soon, socks and jackets will have to come out of the wardrobe and our windows, which have been open all summer, will have to be shut. At least during the nights. No amount of blankets will take away that horrible feeling of a frozen cold nose at 3 in the morning. But for now, we are still holding on to these last summer moments.
Have you ever been to a pick-your-own-fruit orchard? Last year we took the kids and came home with so many plums that we ate them and baked them until we couldn’t stand the sight of them anymore. This year we plan to go for the berries. Toy buckets full of raspberries, tupperware boxes filled to the brim with blueberries and lots of berry stains on everyone’s clothes.
Late summer memories are made of squashed blueberries and raspberry smudged faces. And we like to make a bit more special by skipping the ice cream and whipped cream and serving our pickings with this Belgian version of Chantilly crème (which is no where near the recipe for the French version but this is what we call this smooth, creamy crème).
Belgian chantilly cream
Serves 4 big portions or 8 small portions
1 egg yolk (optional, see Note at the bottom)
1 egg white (optional, see Note at the bottom)
70g soft butter
70g powdered sugar
1 tbsp vanilla sugar
1. Measure out 750ml milk and then take 200ml from this and set aside.
2. Pour the remaining 550ml milk in a saucepan and add the sugar. Heat on a medium heat until it starts to simmer.
3. While the milk is heating up, mix the 200ml of milk with the cornstarch in a separate bowl. Make sure the cornstarch is completely dissolved and no lumps remain.
4. When the milk simmers take it off the heat and add the cornstarch-milk mixture while continuously whisking. The milk will thicken quickly and you will be left with a pale, shiny crème.
5. Let the crème cool. You can speed up the process by placing the saucepan in a sink or bowl filled with cold water. Stir now and again so it cools evenly.
6. While the crème cools, mix the butter, powdered sugar and egg yolk until smooth and creamy. You can do this with a fork or use a mixer on low speed.
7. Add the butter-powdered sugar-egg yolk mixture to the crème and stir until completely incorporated.
8. Whisk the egg white with the vanilla sugar until stiff peaks form. Fold it into the crème.
You can top the crème with all sorts of berries or just dip sweet strawberries in it.
Note: This recipe contains raw egg so be sure to use a very fresh egg. If you don’t want to use raw egg, you can just leave it out. The crème will still be delicious.