Grey felt momentarily as though he had received an actual blow to the pit of the stomach; his mouth opened, but he was incapable of speech. Or at least he thought he was. To his surprise, he heard his own voice, sounding calm, politely admiring.
“They are very handsome indeed. I am sure they are a consolation to your wife, in your absence.”
Von Namtzen grimaced slightly, and gave a brief shrug.
“Their mother is dead. She died in childbirth when Elise was born.” A huge forefinger touched the tiny face, very gently. “My mother looks after them.”
Grey made the proper sounds of condolence, but had ceased to hear himself, for the confusion of thought and speculation that filled his mind.
So much so, in fact, that when the princess’s special dessert – and enormous concoction of raspberries, brandy, sugar and cream — arrived, he ate it all, despite the fact that raspberries made him itch.
Diana Gabaldon, Lord John and the Succubus (Chapter 5 – Dark Dreams)
Is Lord John Grey destined to walk alone until the end of his days? He’s got no shortage of friends, admirers and, of course, there’s the occasional tryst, but when it comes to true love, LJ has yet to find his perfect match.
Stephen von Namtzen, with his feathered helmet, Teutonic blood and noble good looks seems a striking enough candidate to help LJ wipe a certain unattainable Scotsman from his wishlist for good. But then, just as LJ’s loins were starting to warm, Stephen had to go and confuse matters with talk of children and dead wives.
Does Stephan have itchy feet? Can LJ scratch them while Stephan soothes his own allergic reaction to raspberries? There’s definitely something there…we’ll have to wait and see.
These parfait-style desserts make for a deliciously easy, make-ahead end to a romantic Valentine’s dinner. I added a few sliced almonds for some crunch.
(Click on the title below for a printable version of the recipe.)
: Simple, decadent and delicious.
Serves 2 to 3
- Raspberries – 1 Cup (240 ml)
- Granulated Sugar – 1 Tble (15 ml)
- Brandy – ¼ Cup (60 ml)
- Whipping Cream – ½ Cup (120 ml)
- Granulated Sugar – 2 tsp (10 ml)
- Vanilla – ½ tsp (3 ml)
- Sliced Almonds – 2 Tble (15 ml)
Reserve a few raspberries for a garnish. Toss the rest of the berries, sugar and brandy in a small bowl. Stir well to dissolve the sugar, and allow to macerate at room temperature for 1 hour. Refrigerate until ready to assemble.
Whip the cream to soft peaks. Stir in the sugar and vanilla. Cover and refrigerate until ready to assemble.
Toast the almonds in a small pan over med-low heat until golden, about 5 minutes. Cool.
In small bowls, wine glasses or champagne flutes, layer the cream and berries, drizzling the sugary brandy over the berries and topping each layer with a few almonds for crunch. Garnish with the reserved berries and refrigerate for up to 3 hours before serving. Serve chilled.
Ith gu leòir! (Eat Plenty)
- Grand Marnier, Triple Sec, raspberry liqeur (or the booze of your choice) are good fill-ins if you find yourself short on brandy.