Summer is just beginning to make itself felt in the Adelaide Hills, and it’s one of my favourite times of year. The days are becoming warmer and longer, but it’s not too hot yet. There’s a feeling of energy and life all around as gardens grow rampant, creatures come out to bask in the sunshine and we hills-dwellers let our winter fires go out for the year and head outdoors to gather together and share meals and laughter…and dessert.
I love to indulge in the beauty and deliciousness of desserts, and if I can nourish my body at the same time, well, I’m in heaven. With the festive season clearly in sight now, I wanted to create a dessert that’s decadent, rich and a feast for the eyes, but is virtuous enough to eat for breakfast.
Enter Whipped Mocha Sauce. It brings together extra virgin olive oil with all its monounsaturated, anti-inflammatory goodness, and the antioxidant power of raw cacao and coffee. Yes, coffee. Like cacao, coffee is an abundant source of polyphenols, making it a perfectly respectable ingredient in any nourishing dessert. Less widely known, however, is the effect that coffee has on the bacterial balance in our digestive systems. The good bacteria in our guts appear to easily utilise the coffee fibres in naturally brewed coffee for energy and reproduction, giving them a distinct advantage over the bad guys, reducing inflammation and even the risk for diseases such as type-2 diabetes, stroke, and Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases. Coffee anyone?
Draped over new season berries, the rich depth of the sauce contrasts exquisitely with the berries’ tart freshness, giving you a grown-up dessert with enough sparkle for any special occasion (including breakfast!).
Another plus is that you can happily make the sauce a day or two ahead, and leave it covered in the fridge until you are ready to serve. If you’re cooking for a crowd, the recipe multiplies easily and the process stays the same regardless of the quantity…perfect for festive deliciousness!
Summer Berries with Whipped Mocha Sauce (gluten, dairy & refined sugar free) – serves 4
A note on ingredients: given the simplicity of this sauce, average ingredients will have nowhere to hide. Choose the best you can get your hands on – organic eggs, fresh, fruity extra-virgin olive oil, and a rich, full-bodied coffee. I used Di Bella Coffee’s Arnika Reserve Blend, and ground the beans just before brewing for best depth of flavour.
- 2 heaped tbsps coffee grounds
- 1 cup boiling water
- 4 tbsp raw cacao powder
- 4 tbsp maple syprup
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- ½ tsp fine sea or Himalayan salt
- 4 egg yolks
- 200 ml extra virgin olive oil
- 800 g fresh berries, such as blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, red currants
First, make the coffee by placing the coffee grounds into a small plunger with 1 cup of boiling water. Set aside to brew for about 15 minutes, then depress the plunger to strain off the coffee grounds and measure out ½ cup coffee. Pour into a small bowl.
To the coffee, add the cacao, maple syrup, vanilla and salt. Whisk until smooth, then set aside.
In another bowl, whisk the egg yolks until smooth and foamy (a stand mixer is ideal as it leaves your hands free). Pour the olive oil into a small saucepan and heat until the surface first begins to ripple and small bubbles appear (around 80°C, if you want to get technical).
Ever so carefully, slowly drizzle the oil into the egg yolks, whisking all the while. The oil should incorporate nicely to create a smooth, spoon-able consistency. If not, you’ve gone too fast! *
Still whisking, gradually add the coffee mixture and whisk until thick and creamy. Pop into the fridge to chill and thicken a little more before serving.
When the sauce is nice and cold, assemble with the berries. If using plates to serve, spread a generous smear on the surface of the plate using the back of a spoon, then top with a layer of berries. Add some more sauce, then more berries until you have about 3 reducing layers of sauce and berries. Finish with your prettiest berries and serve at once. Alternatively, you could layer berries and sauce into glasses, jars, or little bowls – whatever takes your fancy!
*If the mixture splits as you’re adding the oil it’s okay! You can recover it by taking an additional egg yolk and whisking it in a separate bowl. Gradually add the split mixture, whisking all the while, and it should all come together beautifully.