The Double Delight Of Raspberry FlummerySunday, August 10, 2008
Dictionary writers are not kind to flummery. The innocent pudding is referred to as “bland custard” and “a sort of pap.” Webster’s says an alternative meaning is “Something insipid, or not worth having.”
The dish has had a number of incarnations — many of them insipid — but those lexicographers have obviously never tasted raspberry flummery, which is more pop than pap. It is made by gently breaking down the fragile berries with heat and sugar, fortifying them with a little cornstarch and then drenching the pudding with cool, fresh cream at the table.
When I read the above in the New York Times Sunday Magazine some weeks ago I was dazzled by the sight of a white plate with a swirl of raspberry and cream. I cut it out.
A few days ago when we visited Clemen on Bowen Island she dispatched us with a large container of her fresh picked raspberries. I could not wait. Last night Rebecca and I went to the kitchen while Rosemary and Lauren entertained our dinner guests Paul and Amy.
The dessert was a success and the leftover became raspberry syrup for this morning's pancakes. I am instructed by Rebecca and Lauren to make pancakes when they sleep over.
On our breakfast table I had a couple of Rosa 'Double Delight' (1977, Herbert Swimm and O.L. Weeks) in a little vase. I had scanned them yesterday when I noticed the two blooms in my back lane rose hospital. I have discovered that rose bushes that look dead are not always so. I take them out of the ground in the spring and put them into a black plastic pot. With a combination of frequent watering and the lane's hot sun they often pull a Lazarus (Heb. Elʿāzār Eleazar "God (has) helped"). Double Delight did. In the best of cases it is a difficult hybrid tea to grow. Rosemary ( a snob ) has always considered the rose garish but I like the peppery/sweet/fresh scent. I have had a few generations of this rose in my garden and most succumb after a few years. This has been my first successful revival.
The usual description of Double Delight is, "A cream coloured rose that has been dipped into fresh raspberry jam." I asked Rebecca if two blooms of Double Delight would not be Double Delight twice over and she simply smiled and licked her lips.