Anyone who knew my mother would agree- nobody was a better home cook with the exception of perhaps her mother. In fact my grandmother and her sister owned a bakery in Detroit many years ago. And when Grandma came to stay with us…oh my…. those pastries after school! And her homemade noodles AND her pie crusts. Melt. In. Your. Mouth.
Years later, after we moved to Florida, my mother found some extra time on her hands and she became totally addicted to cooking classes; it makes me smile when I think of it because she probably should have been giving them not taking them! Anyway, Mother never lost her love of the culinary arts and my sister and I inherited her interest.
Pretty much right in the middle of her cooking class frenzy, this recipe made its initial appearance on our table. I think it was originally called Strawberry Spring Thaw- but Mother made it once with raspberries and loved it so she renamed it. Sometimes it’s such fun to make these really old fashioned desserts- they don't even try to be cutting edge- they stand alone- the best of the best. This is one you can make with a hand tied behind your back ( and a nice strong mixer) in no time at all. And freeze it way ahead of serving.
Raspberries are divine right now so use fresh but you can substitute frozen if you want. You could also use strawberries. If you use raspberries and don’t like the seeds, you could puree and then strain them. I don’t find the seeds bothersome in this recipe so I skip that step. Here's the thing: the crunchy nut topping makes this dessert.. I can’t get enough of it; luckily, it’s a generous amount.
When ready to put in the freezer, I use a springform pan but a rectangular pan would be fine. I’ve always thought it was a super ending for a ladies luncheon ( or Valentine’s Day) but it’s also great fun at 4th of July barbecues… serve it on a pretty white plate and add some blueberries for a pretty red, white and blue effect.
Raspberry Spring Thaw
1/2 cup melted butter
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 cup flour
1/2 cup chopped pecans
2 egg whites
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 pints raspberries or one 10 ounce package frozen raspberries
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup whipping cream, whipped
In a large baking pan stir the melted butter, brown sugar, flour and nuts with a fork. Bake at 400° for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring frequently. Set aside to cool. After about 10 minutes, crush the pieces with a fork to make a nice crumb consistency.
Beat whites to soft peaks, gradually adding 1 cup sugar. Add berries, lemon juice and vanilla. Beat on high speed until triple in volume. Fold in the whipped cream.
Spread all but 1/2 cup of the crumbs in a pan of your choice, top with raspberry mixture, sprinkle with remaining crumbs and freeze. ( To puree raspberries, process in processor and force through a sieve. If you sieve, use 2 pints fresh raspberries or two 10 ounce frozen packages.)