There’s a popular nursery rhyme that goes a little like this: “All around the mulberry bush, the monkey chased the weasel! The monkey thought it was all in fun. Pop goes the…Prosecco!” OK, the last word is my addition. But it seemed to fit nicely with the Prosecco Mulberry Gelee I planned to make. And I couldn’t help humming that version of the rhyme yesterday while the girls and I were picking mulberries off the neighbor’s tree.
It’s mulberry season in Illinois. For years, I used to complain when the deep purple, seedly berries stuck to the bottoms of our flip flops whenever we walked to the park. Then one day, our neighbor offered a taste and told me they were mulberries. Yum! How fun that that berries of the monkey/weasel rhyme fame grow in my state – actually across the street from my house! Thus, foraging for these local treats is especially convenient. (Yesterday, we didn’t even wake up the baby, we just grabbed a stepstool, looked both ways before crossing and we were beneath the mulberry tree picking sweet juicy black-purple berries.)
This month’s Bon Appetit magazine has a recipe for Prosecco-Raspberry Gelee, so I planned to just swap in mulberries for raspberries! But after my girls were a big “help” in eating – I mean picking – the berries, I decided to create a dessert they could enjoy too. So I adapted the Bon App recipe to use fruit juice and club soda, less sugar and more lemon juice zip, and to simplify the recipe I used only one packet of gelatin (and thus less liquid.) The result was a zippy, zingy, sparkling sweet treat that was soft-set and highlighted the mulberries unique flavor and gorgeous color. “…And my little monkeys thought it was all in fun. Pop goes the…club soda!” (Ok, yes, Prosecco has a better ring to it!)
Fizzy ‘Prosecco’ Mulberry Gelee
2 cups (9 ounces) fresh mulberries
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons. sugar, divided
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
100% fruit juice
1 tablespoon unflavored gelatin (one 1/4-ounce envelope)
1 ½ cups chilled club soda or Prosecco
Place mulberries, 1/4 cup sugar, and lemon juice in a medium bowl; toss gently to combine. Let stand at room temperature until mulberries release their juices, tossing occasionally, 20-30 minutes. Divide berries among six serving dishes (wine goblets are lovely.)
Place 1/4 cup fruit juice in a small bowl. Sprinkle gelatin over and let stand 5 minutes to soften. Bring 1/2 cup fruit juice to a boil with remaining 1/8 cup sugar, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat; add gelatin mixture and stir until dissolved.
Transfer gelatin mixture to a large pitcher and add club soda. Divide among dessert dishes. Chill gelée until firm, about 3 hours.