Sometimes simple is best. Raspberry whip, with just three ingredients, is the example I present to prove that sentiment. This is an old-timey dessert reminiscent of meringue crossed with whipped cream, flavored with and colored by fruit. My Nana often made whip for us with strawberries, sometimes with blackberries, but I think most who tasted all three will agree that the raspberry version is best. Raspberry whip is the most stunning shade of pink you’ve ever seen, light as a cloud, sweet, and both fragrant and flavorful from the berries. You can tell immediately that it’s made with raspberries but would have a difficult time believing the rest of the ingredient list is so short. My Mom made some this summer with wild raspberries I picked with my aunt, and the three of us discussed the origins of this clever dessert: three common, often plentiful ingredients (especially on a farm or in a rural area) can be stretched to feed many people. It wasn’t unusual for a single recipe of whip and a 2-egg yellow cake to be dessert for a dozen people, and then have leftovers. Call it frugal, call it humble, but I call it magical.
I remember having friends come for lunch or dinner at the farm and being excited to introduce them to raspberry whip. It still makes me smile to remember their exclamations over the airy pink goodness on their cake. The smell of whip makes me think of summer and family– if a grandchild brought Nana a small container of berries, it almost guaranteed whip for dessert that day or the following day, as soon as a cake could be made. We picked up on that quickly. I remember sitting on the porch with cousins who would eat all their whip first, in tiny bites, while others spread it out like frosting on a cake. I can’t make whip without hearing the sound of my Nana’s mixer going in the camp kitchen, feeling the scratch of brambles on my bare legs.
The truth is that you can use any ripe berries (though blueberries don’t do as well) and most kinds of stone fruit for whip. (To substitute other kinds of fruit for raspberries, just keep the ratios of sugar to egg to fruit intact.) My great-grandmother used to make whip with grated, peeled apple, and I’ve always meant to try one made with peaches. Juicy berries are okay, but frozen don’t work; ripe and fresh is key. To serve, any plain cake will work as a vehicle. Yellow cake is my favorite, but our most recent batch went on angel food cake and was marvelous. Especially with raspberries, I think a simple dark chocolate cake would be good. I’ve also found a scoop of raspberry whip with a handful of fresh berries on top is delightful, and accidentally discovered that it’s also pretty awesome with vanilla ice cream. A little bit of whip goes a long way, and pairing it with something with some creaminess (fat) or sharp acidity (fresh raspberries, strawberries, etc.) balances the sweetness beautifully.
It’s really exciting to share raspberry whip with you, such a special family recipe. I’ve always wondered how many people have tried it before? I hope you’ll let me know if you’ve heard of raspberry whip, had some, or if you make some after reading about it here. What’s your favorite fruit to use?
- 1 c. fresh raspberries
- 1 large egg white*
- 1 c. white sugar
To a large mixing bowl (I use the bowl of my stand mixer, but a large bowl and a hand mixer will work with some patience), add raspberries, egg white and sugar. You can expect the volume of ingredients to quadruple. With your mixer on high speed, beat until the whip is thickened and glossy. You can stop and scrape the bowl if you like, but it’s usually not necessary. When ready, the whip will form stiff peaks like a good meringue. Serve immediately, with cake or additional fresh berries (or both). Leftover whip will keep a day or two in the refrigerator but will not be as gloriously thick and airy.
*Since the egg white will remain raw, use the highest quality, freshest egg you can find. You can pasteurize your egg using this method if you prefer, though I never have.