2inch striplemon peeluntreated (organic), removed with a sharp paring knife or potato peeler
1 cinnamon stick
3tbspLakantoor maple syrup or brown sugar
3tbsppotato starchor corn starch
1lbmixed berriessuch as raspberries, red and black currants, blackberries, gooseberries, strawberries, cranberries, pitted tart cherries
mint leavesfinely chopped, for garnish
1heaping tbspcorn starch
4egg yolksideally from pastured hens
2cupswhole milkor another plant or animal milk of your choice
Pour ¼ cup of the tart cherry juice into a small microwave-proof bowl and scatter the powdered gelatin over the juice in an even layer. Let sit for 5 minutes to allow the powder to absorb the juice -- this helps it dissolve when heated. Microwave on HIGH for 20 seconds to dissolve the gelatin. Cover to keep warm.
Pour the rest of the juice into a medium-sized pot, add lemon peel, cinnamon stick, maple syrup or sugar (whichever using) and potato starch and mix with a balloon whisk. Over medium heat, bring the mixture to a gentle boil, stirring continuously with the wire whisk until it thickens (4-5 minutes).
Pour the warm gelatin-juice mixture into the pot and stir to combine.
Add berries and vanilla extract to the pot and fold gently into the thick, hot sauce until the berries are evenly coated; don't stir too hard so as not to crush the fragile berries. Remove from heat and discard lemon peel and cinnamon stick. Taste for sweetness; if it's very tart, add a little more pale syrup or sugar.
Spoon into a glass serving bowl or individual dishes (I love to use empty Bonne Maman jam jars), cover with plastic wrap or lids and refrigerate until set; at least 2 hours, ideally overnight. (When I'm in a hurry, I put them in the freezer and they set within ½ hour!)
Decorate with mint leaves and serve. This dessert tastes extra-delicious when topped with homemade egg custard (directions below), a blob of Greek yogurt or sour cream, a drizzle of heavy cream (the Danish way) or a small scoop of top-quality vanilla ice cream.
Fill a large bowl with cold water and add about 1 cup ice cubes.
Warm milk in a small pot over medium heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until it is just about to boil, then remove from heat.
While the milk is heating, whisk corn starch and sugar in a heat-proof bowl and beat in the egg yolks with a wire whisk. Pour the hot milk over the egg yolk mixture, whisking continuously.
Return the milk-egg mixture to the saucepan and cook over low heat for 3-5 minutes, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until the custard thickens and coats the back of the spoon. Do not let the custard boil as this may split the eggs. If you think it might have boiled (even briefly), swiftly remove the pot from the heat and dunk it into the bowl of ice water while whisking it continuously to stop the cooking and salvage the custard. Even if the eggs haven't split, I often dunk the pot in the ice bath after the sauce has thickened to help it cool faster. Serve warm or cold.