Brown Butter Raspberries

June  5, 2014

In Cooking from Every Angle, we hear from our fearless leaders: Food52 co-founders Amanda & Merrill.

Today: Amanda shares a summery dessert with all the flavors of raspberry pie -- no crust needed. 

Brown Butter Raspberries

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I created this recipe in honor of EAT (RED), DRINK (RED), SAVE LIVES, a campaign to help fight AIDS (#86AIDS). 

How do you get the flavor of raspberry pie without the pastry dough? It all began with a recipe for tomatoes, in which sliced tomatoes are laid on a plate, doused with sizzling hot browned butter, and showered with flaky salt. The result is hard to describe: rich, juicy tomato that reminds you -- happily -- of lobster with butter sauce.

More: Flaky salt makes everything better -- get to know our 10 favorites

I wondered if the same magical effect would work with summer fruit. Raspberries share some of the same qualities of a fresh tomato – they’re delicate and sweet yet have formidable acidity. I worried that plain browned butter on a raspberry might be odd, so after browning the butter, I dropped in some vanilla – which vaporized in the hot butter, amplifying its scent. Just as I'd done with the tomatoes, I spooned the butter on the raspberries, so it sizzled into the fruit, and then in place of the flaky salt, I sprinkled the wilting berries with raw sugar. I expected it to taste like buttery raspberries, but instead images of pie sprang to mind.

I was also reminded that while I love berries alone, I always feel a little sad when they’re served uncooked for dessert. I have a remedy now. And my next target: peaches. 

Brown Butter Raspberries

Brown Butter Raspberries

Serves 4

16 ounces raspberries
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Raw sugar, about 1/2 teaspoon per bowl, depending on the berries’ sweetness

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.

Photos by James Ransom

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A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).

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Amanda Hesser

Written by: Amanda Hesser

Before starting Food52 with Merrill, I was a food writer and editor at the New York Times. I've written several books, including "Cooking for Mr. Latte" and "The Essential New York Times Cookbook." I played myself in "Julie & Julia" -- hope you didn't blink, or you may have missed the scene! I live in Brooklyn with my husband, Tad, and twins, Walker and Addison.


Peter June 9, 2014
As the individual who turned you onto the Tomatoes and Brown Butter recipe that, in turn, inspired *this* recipe I hearby give unofficial Transitive Property Credit for Brown Butter Raspberries to Lulu & Po -- the Brooklyn restaurant where I first had those lovely tomatoes and brown butter. :-)
Amanda H. June 10, 2014
Hi Peter (!) and thank you.
Randy C. June 8, 2014
Made this tonight for 11 people thinking that doubling the recipe would be enough. I was dearly wrong as everyone inhaled the raspberries in 10 seconds. Excellent dish, and was a great little, but complex, taste at the end of a delicious meal served outdoors. Thanks Amanda for this.
Amanda H. June 9, 2014
So glad it worked out -- and good to know it can be made for a crowd. Thanks for giving it a try!
DragonFly June 8, 2014
I am so excited to try this, raspberries are one of my favourite things!! Thank you for sharing!
Fairmount_market June 6, 2014
This sounds lovely. When serving fresh berries (which are abundant throughout the Oregon summer) I feel pangs of guilt for not having a sauce for topping. My mother would always make creme anglaise for fresh berries, but these days, that seems too rich and too much work. This sounds like a great alternative.
amysarah June 5, 2014
As a quick dessert for my kids, I used to slice a couple of bananas, warm them in browned butter, sprinkle with brown sugar and serve it over a scoop of ice cream. I conceived of it as a quickie-cheat version of Bananas Foster, but revisiting it using berries is a great idea.
AntoniaJames June 5, 2014
I can easily imagine putting these over the almond scones featured last month, with a bit of Nancy Silverton Genius whipped cream . . . I made a batch of the scones for our (just T's and my) Mother's Day dinner and put 2 packs of 4, unbaked, into the freezer. I know what I'm serving to our small dinner party out on the deck this Sunday. Cheers! ;o)
Amanda H. June 5, 2014
Hope it goes over well!
AntoniaJames June 5, 2014
Actually I was just reminded that I have several quarts of dead ripe blueberries on my bushes out front (been traveling and now working 16 hour days with aggressive deadlines), so I have something else up my sleeve -- inspired by another of your summer desserts! But I'll keep this in mind when the raspberries around here ripen and I can barter my blueberries for some. I love the idea of that brown butter soaking into a scone! (Of course, it's very cool, even chilly, here in the summer, so baking is no problem.) ;o)
Amanda H. June 5, 2014
So funny because I'm in SF this week and I was thinking that we should write a column on Summer Stews for our SF readers!
Allyn June 5, 2014
Raspberries, peaches, that tomato version... these all look amazing. The perfect easy sides for when my little NYC kitchen turns into a sauna.
Amanda H. June 5, 2014
Yes, very low maintenance!
EmilyC June 5, 2014
This is one of those ideas that makes me want to run home and try it right now!! The peach version sounds equally delicious. Have you ever slipped in some ice cream, to get the pie a la mode effect (or would the hot brown butter congeal upon hitting the ice cream?).
Amanda H. June 5, 2014
I didn't try it with ice cream because I was afraid it would congeal -- but I might be wrong.