Slightly sweet, creamy, and full of fresh fruit flavors- this easy recipe for berries and creme anglaise comes together quickly for a crowd pleasing farm to table dessert.
One of the things I try to focus on when entertaining for a group is simple, fresh, and colorful foods that will help get the party going- and delight their senses. I also try to keep the food easy to prepare, foods will compliment the wines I am serving, and find items that can be made ahead of time, or come together in just a few minutes- like my all-time favorite dessert- Berries and Creme Anglaise.
I am not a huge sauce person (I’m odd and have a strong aversion to condiments- especially egg-based sauces), but there is something about a simple, slightly sweet, creme anglaise that makes me want to eat an entire bowl full of it. Paired with fresh, in-season local fruit and a crisp, acidic and slightly sweet Pinot Gris or lightly oaked Chardonnay— and it’s heaven! Berries and Creme Anglaise is one of the tastiest treats in life- and it’s really so incredibly easy to make and serve at a party.
When Megan from Freckled Italian and I started planning a brunch party set in the gorgeous Richard’s Grove in Santa Rosa, California with La Crema– just down the street from La Crema’s winery– I knew I wanted to serve my favorite dessert at our party! What a better way to pay homage to the gorgeous Northern California scenery, than to enjoy some delicious, fresh food grown nearby? Sonoma County is incredibly lucky to have an abundance of beautiful foods at their fingertips, and starting our day off by pairing some delicious local finds with some of our favorite white wines from La Crema was nothing short of magical.
Creme Anglaise with berries is a dish that is incredibly quick to prepare, bright and colorful- and fills the air with the smell of sensuous vanilla and fruit. It’s truly one of the easiest ways to incorporate local, fresh, farm-to-table ingredients at home!
Can you imagine a better place to throw a gorgeous brunch party? I absolutely love Sonoma County – my husband and I have decided we need to visit as often as we can. You can see more of my tour of La Crema’s vineyard- right up the road from Richard’s Grove- here.
One of the biggest perceptions about Farm to Table foods is that they have to be fussy- but I like to let simple, fresh foods shine on their own without over complicating them. Finding great, quality ingredients can seem overwhelming though- so I have a few great tips to help:
-Buy locally. It’s no secret that the fresher your ingredients, the better. Local produce not only tastes great- it supports small farmers in your area and helps boost your local economy, and uses less resources to physically bring the food to your plate. When you can, buy local!
-Eat what’s in season. While I don’t stick to this in a daily diet because I simply love a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables year round, you will find the best flavors when produce is in season. Plan your menus around the harvest of local vegetables and fruits for the most flavor.
-Get to know your farmers! Many local farms/ranches offer crop share programs for things like eggs, milk, honey, meat and produce- and some even do tours at the beginning or end of season. It takes a little planning and time, but meeting the people who grow your food is not just a great learning experience- it is a lot of fun. By getting to know the people who grow your food, you can have a better understanding of what to expect when, what is a responsible pick, and what your food really costs. Ask about water use, pesticide use (don’t just assume organic means better- it’s so helpful to know what most farmers do, and why), and you can even ask if you can purchase “ugly” fruits and vegetables that the farm might not be able to sell to markets, for a fraction of the price (many markets won’t sell food with small blemishes or irregularities even though they taste the same- and “uglier” foods tend to sell slowly at farmers markets). Even if it’s just chatting up the attendants at a farmer’s market- get to know the people who grow your food! It will really change the way you think about what you eat.
-Join a Co-Op when you can’t go local. When you can’t buy locally, look to farm co-ops that wield purchasing power to bring down the price of food by buying bumper crops from small, independent farmers. I live in Colorado- where we just aren’t going to get many foods locally, especially in winter. I like to use a few different co-ops who buy produce from small, sustainable (and often organic) farms in California, Florida, and Mexico/Latin America in bulk. You can pick up baskets of farm-fresh produce once a week- and often for far less than the price of a grocery store. They also don’t package fruits and vegetables like stores do, cutting down on waste. The average time in transit is a fraction of traditional grocery stores- it is a great way to find fresh foods even if you aren’t local.
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 4 egg yolks
- 1/3 cup white sugar
- 3 cups fresh berries
In a small, heavy saucepan, heat cream and vanilla until bubbles form at edges.
While cream is heating, whisk together egg yolks and sugar until smooth.
Slowly pour 1/2 cup of hot milk mixture into egg yolks, whisking constantly.
Gradually add egg yolk mixture back to remaining milk mixture, whisking constantly.
Continue to cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture coats the back of a spoon.
Plate berries and drizzle creme anglaise on top.
Serve warm or cool (I love it cooled).
For more on our Farm To Table Brunch Party, and full recipes, styling tips, and DIY decor, be sure to visit the rest of the posts in this series:
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of La Crema. The opinions and text are all mine.