So, I had my darling sister Arwen over for dinner who is, of course, a coeliac. Me having a savoury tooth, I had a fabulous dinner planned, but kind of forgot about the whole dessert side of things. This meant that when the moment came I simply had to grab what was on hand and invent something that was also gluten free. Luckily I had a mulberry tree on hand. A fruiting one, no less! We’d spent some of the afternoon picking mulberries for the purpose of stewing and freezing and pie making and other delightful culinary pursuits, so it swiftly came to mind. I decided on a smoothie, since it was a hot night and they’re easy to whip up quickly with not many ingredients.
Mulberries are better known for their role in providing food for silkworms, but as a fruit they are quite delicious and easy to grow. The fruit look some what like black berries, but are much sweeter, and they have the massive advantage of NOT growing in the middle of a bramble bush imitating an incompetent acupuncturist. The trees can get quite big and are heavy fruiting, but you will lose a significant portion of the crop to birds and other back yard denizens. None the less, you should get a fair amount of fruit as long as you remember to pick them. They fruit seasonally and in bulk but the fruit handles freezing pretty well. The tree seems to be reasonably drought tolerant once established (ours is anyway).
I kept it simple, only using 4 ingredients. The big problem is that when I usually make smoothies I put in a hefty spoonful or two of malt. Malt is in practically everything sweet and is part of what makes things tasty. Unfortunately it is also derived from barley which means it isn’t coeliac friendly, so I needed something else. I decided to try using maple syrup, since it has a distinctive flavour that I thought would complement the mulberries. So I started by throwing some mulberries (about 3 handfuls) and a hefty slosh of maple syrup (2 or so tablesppoons) in the blender. I gave it a quick whizz until the berries where smoothish, and then I sloshed in a bit of milk (mostly for lubrication) and then four or five scoops of icecream. Once it was blended smooth, I slopped it out into glasses. After tasting, I put in a few whole mulberries which added a bit more bite. It came out smooth and sweet, and the mulberry and maple syrup did work quite well. The whole mulberries in it were a nice addition, both because they looked good before they sank and they added texture and bursts of tartness. I don’t think Arwen minded that I hadn’t planned dessert.