Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Picante Jarabe de Mora...what's not to love!

It all started with the wonderful sort of news letter I receive from 101Cookbooks.com…the author does absolutely mouth watering food photos and her recipes and information are totally inspiring. Well, last week she wrote about a recipe for Chile Blackberry Syrup. Boy was I all over that one! Blackberries with spice?! My taste buds did a little happy dance just thinking about it. I not so patiently waited until our Sunday farmer’s market and went on the hunt for the biggest sweetest berries…apparently my ‘ask and ye shall receive’ juju was on overdrive because I found some of the biggest, juiciest blackberries I have seen in a long time and at $3 for two generously filled pint baskets I was a happy camper! I then went to our food coop to purchase the dried chilies. Unfortunately they did not have either pasilla or the guajillo chilies but I learned that the New Mexico Red Chile is a third alternative, and those were available. Home I went ready to make syrup…
CHILE BLACKBERRY SYRUP – copied from 101cookbooks.com, with minor alterations…

4 dried guajillo peppers ( I substituted 4 dried New Mexico Red Chiles)

1 cup/6 oz/170g dark Muscovado sugar or dark brown sugar (I used the dark brown

sugar and it created a lovely flavor)

1 cup / 7 oz / 200 g organic sugar

1 1/2 cups / 355 ml water

1/4 cups fresh lemon juice

3/4 cups / 3.5 oz blackberries

Trim the stems from the dried chiles. Tear chiles into pieces and drop (along with seeds) into a medium saucepan. Stir in the sugars, water, and lemon juice, and bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat. Boil, stirring regularly, until the mixture has reduced to 2 cups / 475 ml, roughly 20 - 30 minutes. – it took me just 20 minutes to get a lovely syrup consistency…

In the meantime, puree the blackberries. I used a hand blender in a small bowl, but a standard blender is also an option. Force the berries through a fine-mesh strainer, and discard any seeds. Set the berry puree aside.

Once the chile mixture has reduced, remove from heat, and (carefully) puree it with a hand blender until smooth. (I found that the hand blender caused a lot of very hot splattering, as well as some trouble pureeing the chile pieces – maybe I didn’t tear them up enough, so I dumped the whole thing into my standing blender and had good success) Strain through a sieve into a heat-proof bowl. Press on the remaining solids in the strainer to squeeze out the remaining syrup, and discard the remaining solids. (but before you do be sure to taste ‘the solids’ – I actually put some on tortilla chips – the texture wasn’t perfect but it was really yummy…)

Whisk the berries into the chile syrup and set aside to cool. Place in a jar, or smaller jars, and refrigerate.

Makes about 2 ½ cups.

We drizzled it over a little goat cheese and served it with some very ‘seedy’ crackers and it was delish! 101 cookbooks suggested running a thin vein of the syrup through a cheese cake…and you know how I am about cheese cake…I think we’re going to have to give that a try!

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