I’m pretty sure a decade ago the idea of creating my own recipe from scratch would have given me a panic attack. Shortly after I graduated from college (back when I was afraid to deviate from a recipe because I was sure I would ruin it!) I took a cooking class that included lemon curd. I made it a couple of times after the class thinking it was sure to impress. No one seemed to like it. I brought it to a Christmas party and it was left virtually untouched. That’s not entirely true. People put some on their plates with the pound cake I served it with but after one bite declined to finish it. I pretended not to notice but I was crushed. It really was FAR too sour. I like to taste the lemon but I’m pretty sure lemon curd is not supposed to cause an involuntary pucker and flinching reflex. However, being terrified to deviate from the recipe I was given, (the teacher was a professional chef after all!) I assumed I must just be bad at making it, so I stopped trying.

Fast forward to this past summer. Over a decade of more cooking experience later I have no problems tweaking recipes. In fact, I rarely leave them alone. Last summer I made a Lavender infused Lemon Curd (with lemon juice from my parents tree!) that was good. I mean, it was good. (Am I allowed to say that?) A couple of friends of a friend (whom I had given a jar) asked if they could buy some from me! After I got over the initial shock that someone would actually be willing to pay money for something I made I thought about those first lemon-curd attempts and was (I confess) mildly giddy.

Fast forward again to this last week. There was a Freshly Pressed blog about Blackberry Cobbler. I love blackberries. (All berries, really!)  I happened to have a bunch of fresh blackberries on hand. I started thinking of other fun ways I could use them.  It ocurred to me: If Lemon Curd is so good, why not try Blackberry Curd? And why not throw in a vanilla bean while I’m at it? Those flavors sound like they would go well together. And they do!

All of this is a very long introduction to tell you that I am VERY excited to share with you today a recipe I concocted on my own: Blackberry Vanilla Curd. I have so many ideas of what you could use it for. Only two of them are photographed below. If I made them all to photograph before posting this recipe then 1. Andy and I would weigh about 500 lbs each and 2. My kids would have a vague memory of a woman they used to call ‘mommy’ who fell into a black hole of cooking and disappeared. I hope you’ll enjoy what I did manage to photograph and most of all, I hope you try this recipe! It’s a good one!

Blackberry Vanilla Curd

Begin by making blackberry juice (an ingredient in the curd).

For the Blackberry Juice:

Yields about 1 1/4 cups blackberry juice

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 generous cups fresh blackberries
  • 1 tsp sugar

Rinse blackberries and drain. Place into a small saucepan. Pour 1 tsp sugar over the berries. (This is not meant to sweeten the blackberry juice. It helps with breaking down the berries.)Gently crush the berries to start releasing the juices. If you have a handy dandy muddler like this, it works great. If not, just use a wooden spoon.

When the berries are partially broken down about like this:

place the pan on the stovetop over medium heat until the berries just come to a simmer. The heat will help them break down the rest of the way. If they need a little extra help use your muddler or a spoon. Remove from heat when it looks like this:

Place a sieve over a bowl and pour the broken down berries into the sieve. 

Use the back of a rubber spatula to push the rest of the berry juices through the sieve and discard the seeds. Suggestions for use with the extra 1/4 cup of blackberry juice appear at the end of this blog.

For Blackberry Vanilla Curd

This recipe has been modified since I first posted it.

  • 1 cup unsweetened blackberry juice
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar (if you have super sweet blackberries you may want to cut the sugar to 1/2 cup.)
  • 5 large eggs, well beaten (or 6 egg yolks)
  • 2 vanilla beans
  • 2 tsp lemon juice

Directions

Fill the bottom pan of a double boiler with water about an inch and a half deep and bring to a simmer.

Place butter and sugar in the top pan of the double boiler.

Split vanilla bean lengthwise and use the back of a knife to scrape out the caviar. Add the caviar to the butter and sugar along with the empty vanilla bean pod. Heat butter, sugar, and vanilla until the butter is just melted.Remove pan from heat. Add blackberry juice, lemon juice, and eggs, whisking until fully incorporated. The butter mixture should not be hot enough that you have to worry about the eggs cooking when they are added to the mixture. If your butter mixture seems too hot then temper the eggs first by whisking vigorously while slowly adding a small amount of the butter mixture until you have slightly raised the temperature of the eggs. Then pour the eggs into the double boiler pan while whisking the mixture in the pan until fully incorporated.

Place double boiler back over the simmering water and cook, while whisking gently, until smooth and thickened. This should take 10-12 minutes.

Place a sieve over a clean bowl. Pour the thickened curd into the sieve and push through with the back of a rubber spatula. Discard the vanilla bean halves.Cover the surface of the curd with plastic wrap. This will keep a film from developing on the top of the curd as it cools.
Refrigerate until chilled. It will thicken a little more as it cools. Spoon into jars until ready to serve.

If you make it with yolks only instead of whole eggs it will have a deeper color:

Serving suggestions:

Serve with scones! (Please excuse the bad pictures! It was still early in my blogging career!)

Make Blackberry Cream to serve over berries, Angel Food Cake, Pound Cake, or Berry Pie!

Blackberry Cream

Beat 1/2 cup heavy cream until soft peaks form. (For a thicker end result beat until stiff peaks form). Fold in 1/2 cup Blackerry Vanilla Curd:

Or as a refreshing end to a small bites party:

I’ll save other suggestions for future posts. 🙂

Have leftover Blackberry Juice?  Make a Glaze!

Blackberry Glaze:

Mix 1/4 cup blackberry juice with 1 1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar. Adjust to desired thickness with more powdered sugar to thicken or 1 tsp of milk at a time to thin out. I added a little vanilla bean paste as well (because I was given some for Christmas and it’s fun to use!)Use for whatever you might want a glaze for: scones, cakes, home made donuts, cookies…

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