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Berry Custard Treat



It's officially spring. One of the loveliest seasons to be in London. Everywhere you look trees are bursting with gorgeous pink or white blooms, Magnolias and Camelias are in full bloom and everything suddenly has turned green.
With spring, come fresh spring fruits as well! I came across these amazingly smelling berries, strasberries and pineberries and although they were a little pricey, I HAD to get them. They literally smelled like strawberries used to smell when I was young and honestly I wanted my kids to try them, as not even organic strawberries come close to these.



Strasberries are a variety of the garden strawberry, smaller in size and with a deep red colour. They were developed by a German breeder in 1925, and they were nearly extinct until a Dutch farmer reintroduced them as a commercial variety. Pineberries are also a variety of strawberry with an appearance opposite to the regular strawberry: white skin and red seeds. Their name comes form their flavours resemblance to pineapple. They were actually one of the original ancestors of the garden strawberry.



I decided to make an easy custard or Greek 'crema' to combine them with. Yes it was a good idea, as we all went for seconds, and added extra berries to each spoonful of the rich custard. You can easily recreate this dessert with store bought custard-I won't judge-but making your own is really easy, plus you can sweeten it as much as you like and you can even make it vegan, if you substitute the milk with nut or plant based milk.
I should mention here that Greek 'crema' is made without eggs, so the word 'custard' in the name is actually misleading, but there is no other word to translate 'cream' except maybe blancmange pudding, as it's starch thickened, so I'll just go with custard!



        INGREDIENTS:
  • Assorted berries 
  • A  jar of strawberry jam-preferably a no-added-sugar one
  • 2 cups whole milk-or substitute with any other milk of choice: coconut, soy, almond etc.
  • 4 tbsp granulated sugar -you can also use 2 tbsp sugar, 2 tbsp honey if you prefer, or if vegan, maple or agave syrup instead of honey
  • 4 tbsp corn starch or arrowroot powder
  • 1.5 tsp vanilla extract or paste or 1 vanilla pod


        RECIPE:
  1. Prepare 4-6 glass bowls by adding 1 tablespoon of the strawberry jam.
  2. Heat 1 cup of the milk until lukewarm and add the sugar, stirring until dissolved.
  3. Pour the rest of the milk in a pan and add the vanilla-if using a pod, add just the seeds-and corn starch. Mix with a whisk, over low heat.
  4. As soon as it starts to heat up, add the sweetened cup of milk whisking continuously. Keep on whisking for about 10-15 minutes. 
  5. The mixture will start to thicken. Be careful not to boil it! Remove from the stove. 
  6. Evenly distribute the 'crema' to the glass bowls and let cool. After they are at room temperature, just add berries and pop the bowls in the fridge to cool up more. 
  7. Serve with mint leaves and extra berries!








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