CATHI LITZENBERGER: Raspberries for dessert

recipes

It would appear that summer may finally be here; let’s hope so because I, for one have had enough of the cool, cloudy and rainy weather.

Apparently the cooler weather has extended the raspberry season and for me that’s a good thing, as I’ve yet to get my supply for the year. Raspberries are not actually a berry at all, but an aggregate fruit of many smaller fruits, called drupelets, around a central core.

Besides the wonderful taste, raspberries are also one of nature’s most healthful fruits, containing significant amounts of antioxidants linked to health protection against human diseases including cancers. They are ranked near the top of all fruits for antioxidant strength due to their dense contents of ellagic acid; only cranberries and blueberries are ranked higher.

With company coming I went in search of desserts using fresh fruits in season. I needed a kid-friendly one as well as something special for the adults. I could think of nothing better than a Jell-O treat and a cheesecake made with fresh raspberries.

Raspberry Swirl Cheesecake

2 pkg. (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

2 eggs

1 graham pie crust (6 oz.) or make your own

3 tablespoons red raspberry preserves (I use puréed and sieved raspberries)

1 cup thawed Cool Whip

2 cups fresh raspberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla with electric mixer on medium speed until well-blended. Add eggs; mix just until blended. Pour into crust.

Dot top of batter with preserves. Cut through batter with knife several times for marble effect. Bake 40 minutes or until centre is almost set. Cool. Refrigerate several hours or overnight. Serve topped with whipped topping and raspberries. Store leftover cheesecake in refrigerator. Makes 8 servings.

Raspberry Jell-O Treat

1 cup boiling water

1pkg. raspberry Jell-O, 4 serving size

2 cups ice cream

1 cup  fresh raspberries

Dissolve Jell-O in boiling water. Add ice cream by spoonfuls, stirring until ice cream  is melted. Fold in raspberries.

Pour into bowl and chill until set; about 1 hour.

Cathi Litzenberger is The Morning Star’s longtime columnist.