Macerated Summer Berries with Vanilla Cream

In cooking terms, maceration simply means the softening of food using liquid. In this recipe, mashed berries and orange juice are used to break down and soften an array of summer berries. A lot of my desserts use whipped cream – it’s one of those things I will never buy pre-made because it’s so easy to make and so, so much better fresh! I was very interested in this vanilla cream because it’s basically whipped cream with the addition of sour cream … huh, I’ll give it a go.  I think it makes the cream slightly creamier and denser and tastes a lot like Cool Whip. It is very tasty and something I’ll do now and again to change up my normal whipped cream routine.  Plus, its a great way to try and make your own Cool Whip for recipes that may call for that processed ingredient. I also tried something new with this recipe – vanilla bean paste.

The original recipe called for one vanilla bean but I saw this and thought I’d try it instead. First, it’s cheaper than vanilla beans and second, it seemed much easier. I loved it – the flavor was authentic, you have the beautiful real vanilla bean seeds, and it’s really easy to use.



  • 6 cups fresh berries (1 cup set aside)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice

Vanilla Cream

  • 1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise, or 1 tbsp. vanilla paste, or 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chilled heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup sugar


Prepare your berries by rinsing and if using strawberries, hulling those. Hull a strawberry by using a small paring knife to cut around the green leafy area (the hull). Depending on how ripe your berries are you can remove more or less of the white dense part around the hull. I cut mine pretty wide because they weren’t as ripe as I would have liked.

Combine your sugar, orange juice, and …

1 cup of your berries in a large bowl.

Using a potato masher, or back of a wooden spoon, mash until the sugar dissolves.

Once the sugar is mostly dissolved and the berries mashed well, gently stir in the remaining 5 cups berries. Let sit at room temperature, tossing occasionally, until berries are juicy in about 1-2 hours.

Prepare your cream no longer than 30 minutes prior to serving. If using a vanilla bean, scrap seeds into a medium bowl. Add chilled heavy cream, sour cream, and sugar. Using a whisk or electric mixer, beat until soft peaks form. Serve atop the delicious, juicy berries.

Serves: 6-8

Recipe source: bon appetit July 2011

Time: 20 minutes (plus time for berries to sit)


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