Mulberry – from garden to plate #6

mulberries2

The mulberry tree, an important pit stop on the daily commute to the bus stop. In a fight against the birds and bats we plucked ripe looking specimens guzzling one after another until the fear of missing the bus becomes too strong and theres nothing left to do but run to the end of the road. All the way trying to remember not to wipe sticky juicy stained fingers on our school dresses. The predators stalked our mulberry tree endlessly, eating most the crop from above, while we stood inside, enveloped, clearing all the branches within reach. There was never enough leftover for the traditional exploits of a pie or jam.

mulberriesHand

Starting out pale and hard the mulberry hides underneath big shady leaves and matures through sharp and tangy red to a sweet inky purple black. These were picked next door (thank you Kate!), as the mulberry tree from my childhood was sadly obliterated by the storm. The mulberry tree doesn’t only produce delectable fruit, the leaves are also important as the only food of the silkworm. I grew up feasting at the mulberry tree and wearing silk (pMum is a textile artist working with silk) – though quite possibly never at the same time. We would clip leaves and take them to primary school when friends had silkworms as pets and right now I’m reading Middlesex, which features a cocoonery. It all comes back to the mulberry.

mulberriesPlate

When I moved to Sydney I memorised the locations of local trees, though sadly often missing out on the best fruit, with all reachable branches picked clean. The only indication of mulberry season being the stains on the footpath. But Spring this year turned into an orgy of mulberries. First there was the visit next door to ravage a tree heavy with fruit, then my sister hit the jackpot finding a secret, hidden cache. I returned to Sydney to bags of frozen fruit. Mulberries don’t keep or travel very well, which is why we rarely see them on supermarket shelves. So what to do with this unprecedented onslaught of mulberries?

mulberryFool2

Old favourites jams and pies were out, it was far too hot in Sydney and I needed instant gratification a little more sophisticated than gorging at the tree. So I made a fool. This dish should enhance and extend the natural flavour of its main ingredient, not overpowering the delicate sweetness of the mulberry. I used creme fraiche as a topping and served them in miniature shot glasses for a decadent mid-afternoon treat, the grown up version of eating fruit from the tree on the way home from the bus stop.

mulberryFool

Mulberry Fool

This isn’t really a recipe, just an idea. The amount you can make depends on how many mulberries you can get your mitts on. Use your intuition about quantities, and keep tasting as you go. If your fruit is very sweet you will need less sugar, and may even need some lemon juice, but be careful to not split the cream.

Wash your mulberries very well and remove the stem. Reserve a few and mash the remainder roughly with a fork. If they are hard feel free to puree them in a food processor.

In another bowl whip some cream until soft peaks form. Fold mulberries through cream and add icing sugar to taste. Place in the bottom of serving glasses.

In another bowl mix creme fraiche or mascarpone with a touch of sugar and finely grated lemon zest. Place spoonfuls on top of fool. Top with fresh mulberries and serve.

This work, unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License.

7 Comments

  1. Posted January 29, 2010 at 2:58 am | Permalink

    Gorgeous photo… such a romantic souffle of a picture! You really have bokeh down to a tee!
    .-= deana@lostpastrememb´s last blog ..Cosimo de Medici’s Divine Jasmine Chocolate =-.

  2. Posted January 29, 2010 at 10:39 am | Permalink

    Beautiful! I always loved climbing in our mulberry tree at home (after dad had done a prelim runaround to sweep out all the scary big spiders of course), getting purple-stained hands and tart-faced mulberry mouths :) But no matter how many new ripe fruit there were each morning, we still never managed to salvage (ie: not eat) enough to actually bring them back inside for use in actual recipes!
    .-= miss_om´s last blog ..Wallflower Words: Quantise (v.) =-.

  3. Posted January 29, 2010 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

    I’m not sure I’ve ever had mulberries but love berries of all sorts so need to keep a keen eye out for them. And Middlesex is one of my favourite books…so much so that when it never got returned after being borrowed from me, I went and bought another copy.
    .-= mlle délicieuse´s last blog ..Epicure Recipe Card #20: Spaghetti alla Puttanesca =-.

  4. Posted February 10, 2010 at 3:10 am | Permalink

    we used to have mulberry trees growing behind my house in Hawaii. It was great – no one else ate them! Oh, I loved snacking on them. Thanks for the memory.

    Since these mulberries were foraged, please enter this post in our Grow Your Own roundup this month. Full details at

    http://chezannies.blogspot.com/2010/02/announcing-grow-your-own-39.html
    .-= Nate´s last blog ..Nutella Rocks; No-Knead SUCKS =-.

  5. Posted February 17, 2010 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

    Ohohoho.. i just can’t wait for summer to arrive in finland!
    .-= foodtale´s last blog ..White Fish Stuffed Mushroom =-.

  6. Posted February 24, 2010 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

    OMG, I miss them so much, my grandparents had many mulberry trees – I miss living in Europe…
    .-= Yasmine´s last blog ..Playing in the Dirt =-.

  7. Posted February 26, 2010 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

    deana@lostpastrememb: Oh thank you! Props must go to my sister for helping me set it up.

    miss_om: Same! (though I had to deal with the spiders myself) I still think that eating them warm off the tree is the best way with mulberries.

    mlle délicieuse: Wasn’t Middlesex fab! I’m glad I bought it because I’ll totally read it again very soon (and I’ll be sure not to lend it out to anyone).

    Nate: Sorry I missed this yet again! Too busy. You’re lucky to had the mulberry haul to yourself :)

    foodtale: DO you have mulberries in Finland too?

    Yasmine: Oh, I miss them too, their season is so short.

2 Trackbacks

  1. [...] This will be the final garden to plate post, pretty good considering I planned for a series of four originally. Want more? Asparagus, Avocado, Beetroot, Carambola, Jackfruit, Mulberry. [...]

  2. By Take a Walk on the Wild Side: Foraging Basics | Yummly on September 25, 2011 at 4:39 am

    [...] Foraged Mulberry Fool (from Pikelet & Pie) [...]

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