Wineberries are ripe here in the Hudson Valley this week, so I picked about two cups of them and Amanda baked them into a flaugnarde. This might become a yearly tradition.
Wineberries are an invasive cousin to raspberries, brought to the US from Japan and other parts of Asia to cross-breed with the local raspberry stock. The plants are hearty, full of nasty thorns, and difficult to get rid of, but they produce pretty berries the color of red wine. They have fewer seeds than raspberries and the fruit falls apart easier.
You can identify wineberries by the color of the berries (red wine), the leaves (a cluster of three whose pattern and shape is pretty distinct), and how fuzzy the protective wrapper is on unripe berries.
Some foraging etiquette:
- Leave berries low to the ground for small creatures like turtles, chipmunks, and rabbits to eat.
- If it is in public woods and you are able to go off the path and into the brambles to pick the berries, do so. Not everyone can, and you should leave some berries accessible for other people to enjoy. Never pick all the berries unless it is on your own property.
A flaugnarde is a fruit tart with a consistency halfway between flan and custard. A custardy cobbler, if you will. Up until about an hour ago I had been calling it clafoutis, since we made one of those with black cherries on Monday. When I mentioned yesterday that the wineberries were ripe, Amanda thought they would go great with the clafoutis batter, so we made one. Then I started doing some research for this post and found that the French, who are quite particular with naming, only consider the dish a clafoutis if it contains cherries. If it has some other fruit, it is a flaugnarde. C’est les Français. A flan by any other name…
It is good warm, but even better cold. Let it cool after you make it, eat a small slice, then stick it in the fridge overnight.
It isn’t overly sweet, so it goes great with coffee in the middle of the afternoon. This is the year of the snacking cake, after all. (See Yossy Arefi or Bill Clark.)
We like the Smitten Kitchen recipe for the base. We used vanilla instead of almond extract with the wineberries, which was a good choice. Almond complements cherries, but would be too much for the wineberries.
In case you were wondering:
- Clafoutis is pronounced “clahhh-foo-tee”
- Flaugnarde is pronounced “floon-yard”
…or so I think. I once got mocked in the Charles de Gaulle airport for my pronunciation, so I might not be the most reliable source here.