French Fridays with Dorie: Citrus-Berry Terrine

Friday again. Last week’s heat bubble popped, and the weather is back to normal summer instead of summer in hell. It’s 20 to 30 degrees cooler.

This week’s recipe for French Fridays with Dorie was a dessert called Citrus-Berry Terrine, which is a fancy name for French Jello Mold. OK, it wasn’t exactly French jello, as opposed to American jello. It was much more elegant. The terrine was based on “homemade” jello, made from gelatin and fruit juice, rather than an artificially flavored, heavily-sweetened box of Jell-O. Plus, the terrine was studded with fresh fruit: orange, grapefruit, and freshly picked berries.

I am a child of the 60’s and 70’s, so as most children raised in American suburbs during that time frame did, we ate plenty of Jell-O at our house. Cups of regular jello were a frequent snack. Then, there was the special occasion jello mold that appeared on the table for all holidays and special family dinners. My family’s was a strawberry-flavored Pink Jello Mold, which I still make (and enjoy) today.

The concept of homemade jello never occurred to me until I read a column in Gourmet magazine by Laurie Colwin. “Desserts that Quiver” made a real impression on me. Like she did, I brought home different kinds of fruit juice and boxes of Knox gelatin from the store and went to town. This essay can be found in her collection, More Home Cooking. (Sadly, Laurie Colwin passed away in 1992. She’s one of my favorite food writers.)

Back to the terrine… This was a lovely, refreshing dessert. The citrus was tart, and the berries were sweet, giving it a nice contrast. I made a half recipe, using a 5-inch square container. After supreming the orange and grapefruit, I squeezed the juice from the remaining membranes. Then, I made up the difference with grapefruit juice, which is our usual morning juice. Dorie said it would take about 2 hours for the gelatin to get to the consistency of egg whites. I missed the actual point of egg whites, and after 45 minutes, it was way past that. I added the fruit anyway, though I think the fruit would have mixed in better if the consistency had been a little runnier.

Last night, my friend Laury and I went to a delicious Persian restaurant for dinner. We passed on ordering dessert, and I served the terrine when we came back to my house. Howard declined to try it, but that was his loss. It was beautiful to look at (though difficult to photograph). Laury and I both enjoyed it. I think it could have been a tad sweeter, so when I make it next time, I would either add a little more sugar (there wasn’t much in the recipe) or use orange juice, which would definitely be sweeter than the grapefruit. I will also experiment with other fruits and juice flavors.

The Doristas are a creative bunch. I’m sure some of them experimented with the basic formula here, and I can’t wait to read about what they tried. You can check out their links at French Fridays with Dorie. We don’t post the recipes, but all the recipes are in the book, Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table. It’s well worth adding to your bookshelf. (From someone with hundreds of cookbooks, this is a hearty recommendation.)

Next Friday: Slow-Roasted Tomatoes. Perfect for the season.

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Posted on 29 July 2011, in French Fridays with Dorie, Summer and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 17 Comments.

  1. Your terrine looks great!

  2. This was a perfect after dinner dessert. Your terrine looks wonderful, Betsy! I didn’t think it was sweet enough with just the orange juice either. If only the one I made with pineapple juice had set. I’m glad to hear that the weather has cooled down for you. Have a great weekend!

  3. Your terrine looks lovely. We liked it too, but thought that it fit better on the breakfast table than as a dessert.

  4. I love how pretty everyone’s treats are this week!
    So glad the heat finally cracked (kind of)

  5. you had the same problem that I had, with the gelatine setting too quickly! LOL! I pressed on however and got it to set, but the slices didnt stay whole… they fell apart.

  6. Hi Betsy, your fruit terrine looks lovely, such a fancy French take on jello salad! The slow roasted tomatoes may be more my thing but I do like fruit for dessert especially in the Summer;-)

  7. Gosh, it’s so good to know I’m not the only one with a picky hubby! I left out the grapefruit, blueberries and blackberries… Then he was more receptive. Yours is beautiful!

  8. Glad you stuck with it. Your terrine looks great, and it sounds like it was a hit. Nice job!

  9. Love the square shape of your terrine. I think many of us had the same issue of the gelatin setting too quickly. At least it tasted good!

  10. I like your square terrine! It looks beautiful and I’m glad you and your friend enjoyed it.

  11. Love the way your terrine came out…very pretty! I enjoyed this for breakfast. It was incredibly hot here and this was so refreshing! Have a
    great weekend!

  12. I love the title “Desserts that Quiver” and I like your square terrine! Mine also jelled in under an hour.

  13. Love the terrine cube! It looks modern, even with the retro feel of the dessert.

  14. Thank you for pointing me to Colwin’s book! Always a treat to read great food writing. Your terrine looks pretty!

  15. I am glad that your weather has gone back to normal. Your terrine looks fab – the slice at the top of the post looks so tempting..

  16. The terraine looks odd but I bet it is delicious. I love jello molds, especially the pink family recipe!

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