Raspberries and white chocolate

It is a combination I find irresistible. Who discovered the compatibility of white chocolate and raspberries? Was it one of those serendipitous inventions, the extension of a strawberry dunked into dark chocolate and left to harden for an end-of-meal treat? There I was at one of my favourite cafes on the east coast, The Deck at Currumbin – where despite the relentless stream of Sunday morning breakfasters the smiling warmth of the service never falters – forced to make a choice between the Raspberry and White Chocolate Coconut Bread thickly toasted under a snowy sieve of icing sugar, or the Raspberry and White Chocolate Muffin. (I opted for the latter and it was quite perfect, but to cheer myself up for what I missed out on I include a recipe for the former.)

Raspberries are, anyway, the queen of berries, at least in my opinion. Perhaps it is their relative rarity, their short season, their delicacy and perishability that bolster my affection for them – or their flavour, that little burst of sweet and sour. Or possibly their prettiness, and the knowledge that they belong to the rose family.

As for white chocolate – which isn’t real chocolate anyway, because devoid of the thick liquid produced when fermented, dried and roasted cocoa beans are shelled and ground, called chocolate liquor. So another thing altogether, devoid of the anti-oxidants, most of the caffeine and that feel-good serotonin although replete with the same lush creamy ‘mouth-feel’ which feels good enough to me! On its own it can be cloyingly, richly sweet – and this is where that tiny touch of raspberry acerbity comes in, to glorious effect.

I admit to an injudicious fondness for Byron Muffin Men’s version of raspberry and white chocolate muffins, especially when still warm so that the raspberry spills out of the centre and muddles in with the gooey melted white chocolate. This is cold-weather food, therefore abundantly acceptable, nurturing, cheering and heart-warming. I am setting aside part of the weekend for some raspberry and white chocolate baking and should anyone else feel inclined to follow suit, here are some simple recipes – including the bread – which few will resist. In fact I have yet to meet a person who has claimed not to love the marriage of raspberries and white chocolate.

RASPBERRY & WHITE CHOCOLATE FRIANDS

Pre-heat oven to 180°C and lightly grease eight friand moulds, or similar. Crush 75 grams fresh or frozen raspberries and mix with 185 grams melted butter, six egg whites, 100 grams ground almonds, 1/2 cup plain flour, 1 1/2 cups sifted icing sugar mixture and 100 grams chopped white chocolate. Combine well then pour evenly among moulds. Scatter with 50 grams fresh or frozen raspberries and bake for 25 mins or until skewer inserted comes out clean. Stand five mins before turning out to cool, then dust with icing sugar.

RASPBERRY & WHITE CHOCOLATE BROWNIES

Pre-heat oven to 180°C and grease a deep square cake tin. Line with baking paper. Melt 150 grams butter and 200 grams chopped dark chocolate in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, then stir in one cup caster sugar, two teaspoons vanilla extract, three lightly beaten eggs, 1/2 cup sifted plain flour, 1/2 cup sifted SR flour, 100 grams chopped white chocolate and 150 grams frozen raspberries. Pour into pan and bake about 35 mins or until just firm. Cool in pan then cut into wedges.

RASPBERRY & WHITE CHOCOLATE COCONUT BREAD

Pre-heat oven to 180°C. Grease a loaf tin and line it with baking paper, allowing an overhang. Combine two cups SR flour, one cup desiccated coconut and 3/4 cup caster sugar in a bowl then add 185 grams frozen raspberries and 100 grams white chocolate coarsely chopped. Whisk together 185 ml buttermilk, 125 grams melted butter and
two eggs separately, then fold into dry ingredients. Spoon into pan, smooth surface and scatter over flaked coconut. Bake 1–1 1/4 hrs or until skewer inserted comes out clean.

About victoria

Author of the gastro-memoir 'Amore&Amaretti: A Tale of Love an Food in Tuscany', I am a Byron Shire-based food and travel writer, food columnist, cooking teacher, recipe editor and chef. Born in Canberra, ACT, I have a BA in languages although am only really passionate about the Italian one, in which I am fluent, having spent four years in Tuscany in my late twenties, and returning reasonably frequently ever since. Despite that, my partner of many years, a wonderful artist, clothes designer and aged carer, is half-Greek!
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