Did you know that you can make curd out of virtually any juice or purée? In this post, I will explain how to do just that by explaining how to make a Blackberry Lime Curd. A curd is essentially a stirred custard, similar to crème anglaise or pastry cream. Most folks have heard about lemon curd. I do love a well-prepared lemon curd. It is the perfect balance of sweet, sour and tangy. You can use it in so many ways: as a cake filling; in a crème brûlée recipe; in lemon curd ice cream; on top of plain Greek yogurt for a refreshing dessert – the list goes on.
That said, I want to encourage you to try to make a curd using a fruit juice or fruit puree. In the past, I have made crimson coloured raspberry curd, fresh looking orange curd, and even a coral coloured rhubarb curd. Try making a new variation, too, thinking outside of the realm of luscious lemon curd for a change. I think you will be pleasantly surprised!
In this post, I am going to explain how to make blackberry puree, and then, using the prepared puree, I will illustrate through my recipe how to make a luscious blackberry lime curd. It is a gorgeous sauce, not only in its rich burgundy colour but also its flavour.
I lived for many years on Vancouver Island, British Columbia where blackberries were plentiful, so it was wonderful to make good use of this bounty from our berry picking adventures. We always had a lovely feast of the freshly picked berries in our usual style of serving them simply with a light sprinkle of sugar, lime zest and vanilla bean paste. I typically use the remainder of the berry pickings for puree, jams and compotes.
During my competition days as a pastry chef, I delighted my chef/competition coach by creating what I called ‘blackberry caviar’ for a special dessert menu. I found it so fascinating that I could literally separate the small individual round juice-filled balls of a blackberry to make the perfect rounds of ‘blackberry caviar’. I froze the berry first so that I would not damage the tender flesh of the berry. Then, using small tweezers, I separated the perfectly formed tiny spheres easily and set them aside until I needed them for the dessert plating. They were really quite beautiful and the creation certainly had the judges humming about what I used to make the unique garnish on my dessert plate. Score!
Did you also know that blackberries have many health benefits? In brief, blackberries an antioxidant, and due to their rich purple-black colour – anthocyanin, bioflavonoid as well as possessing anti-inflammatory properties. They have sources of Vitamin C, Vitamin K, fibre and magnesium and calcium.
So, let’s start by making the puree using these healthy blackberries. If you can restrain yourself from feasting on these lovely berries to save four cups of fresh blackberries, you can make this puree. I think you will enjoy it!
Yield: 2 cups blackberry puree
INGREDIENTS for the puree:
- 4 cups of blackberries, washed and dried on a paper towel lined baking sheet
- 1 cup of granulated sugar
- 2 Tablespoons lime or lemon juice
- 1 Vanilla pod (or substitute 1 – 2 teaspoons of vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract)
METHOD for the puree:
- In a medium saucepan, place the berries, the sugar, lime or lemon juice and vanilla pod (if using the vanilla pod).
- Bring the mixture to a boil, and then simmer until the berries soften and become juicy – about 10 minutes.
- Lightly crush the berry mixture with a potato masher or fork.
- Using a fine-meshed strainer, strain the mixture to remove the seeds, pressing with a rubber spatula to extract the puree. Discard the seeds. If you are using vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract, add it at this point.
- Store the puree in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to three days.
CHEF TIP: Fruit puree freezes very well. I pour them into silicone cups or silicone trays that have small wells to freeze portions of 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup. After they are frozen, I put the frozen ‘pucks’ in a plastic zipper storage bag. As an alternative option, I freeze the puree in recipe-size amounts (250 ml or 500 ml) using a food vacuum system, date and label, and freeze the pouches on a tray and then store upright once frozen.
BLACKBERRY LIME CURD
CHEF TALK: This is a beautiful curd! It is a rich burgundy red coloured curd with a silky smooth texture. Lime Juice is essential, in my opinion, for this Blackberry Lime curd – it gives the puree and the curd its tangy fresh taste. Do try it! I use the prepared curd to fill tiny meringue nests or tiny tart shells, or even to dip small cookies (Langues de chat cookies) into the curd for a different dessert treat.
Blackberry Lime Curd
INGREDIENTS for the Curd:
Yield: approximately 2.5 cups
- 1 cup of prepared Blackberry Puree (recipe above)
- 1/2 cup granulated Sugar
- 1/4 cup of fresh lime juice (about 2 limes)
- 3 large Eggs
- 4 large Egg Yolks
- 1/2 cup Butter, cut into 1/2” cubes
METHOD for the Curd:
- Fill a 2-quart saucepan with an inch or two of water and place over low heat. Bring it to a gentle simmer.
- In a medium-size stainless steel bowl, place the blackberry puree, sugar, lime juice and eggs (both whole and yolks) together. Place the bowl so that it sits over the top of the saucepan of gently simmering water.
- Cook, while stirring with a wooden spoon, until the mixture is thick (about 5 minutes). The mixture will coat the back of the spoon. CHEF TIP: I use a thermometer and place the temperature probe into the bowl set to signal an alert of 71°C (160°F).
- Turn off the heat. Leaving the bowl over the pot of hot water, whisk in the chunks of cold butter, one piece at a time, until all the butter incorporates smoothly into the curd.
- Strain the mixture using a fine-meshed strainer into another heat-resistant bowl. CHEF TIP: For restaurant-quality curd, straining is important to achieve a silky smooth curd.
- Chill the curd: Fill a large stainless steel bowl (larger than the bowl used for the curd) with ice cubes and some water. Place the bowl of curd so that it floats on top of the larger bowl holding the ice cubes and cold water. This chills the curd thoroughly, quickly and safely.
- Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the blackberry curd to prevent a skin from forming.
- When the curd is cold, place it in a covered airtight container in the refrigerator.
- Storage: Blackberry curd will keep in the refrigerator in a covered airtight storage container for 1-2 weeks
- 4 cups of fresh berries = 2 cups of puree
- Dessert Variation: I use the egg whites that are left over from the curd to make Meringue Nests. One of my favourite ways to use them? The curd looks lovely in the white crispy meringue nests. Use a small spoon or piping bag to place the curd into the nests just before serving. This is a showy dessert perfect for a buffet and it also has the advantage of being a very pretty gluten-free dessert option.
Please CLICK the link above to access my UrbnSpice LEARNING TIPS, which are listed alphabetically on the Learning Tips blog post under the following subheadings:
- Bain Marie
- Ice Baths
- Egg Yolk Chemistry
- Meringue Technique
- Curd Technique
You Might Also Enjoy:
Huffington Post Article – Blackberry Facts
This is one of my favourite things about being a pastry chef. I get to play in the kitchen with beautiful seasonal fruit in the best ways possible and then find gorgeous ways to use them in pretty desserts like this one. I want you to try this recipe and substitute the puree for other variations. Think about how you can use any fruit puree to make a gorgeous silky smooth curd like raspberry curd, orange curd, blueberry curd, rhubarb curd, etc. You will not be disappointed! If you make curd of any kind, send me a photograph. I would love to see it.
Happy Curd Making!
If you try my recipe for Blackberry Lime Curd, please leave me a comment below with your feedback. Don’t forget to pin this recipe for later!
The Urb’n’Spice Chef
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This post was updated January 1, 2017, with additional photos and updated links