You must try this dish if you have some fresh blackberries from the summer. Unfortunately, it takes a little while before you have enough sweet and spicy chile-infused blackberry syrup to keep your taste buds tingling until August. Years ago, I cut the recipe from an issue of a Magazine. The month was September 2007. I changed the chiles, made a few other changes, and spilled sparkling water with the syrup all week. It’s also delicious when mixed into yogurt, oatmeal, or crème fraîche. Other suggestions include slathering it on buttered toast, drizzling it over goat cheese, and serving it as a showy, surprising treat at any pancake, crepe, or waffle breakfast.
Gourmet featured their original version of the syrup alongside a bourbon-based cocktail and a Desert Sunrise variation. You can develop various drink applications if you think of it as homemade spicy grenadine. But don’t limit it to cocktails; its applications appear limitless. For example, I suggest incorporating it into a cheesecake. Do you know how a small film of vegetable ash runs through Humboldt Fog goat cheese? What if, as inspiration, you run a thin vein of the chile blackberry syrup through the cream cheese filling, only visible after slicing it into the cake? As a result, the flash is subdued and surprising. You could even incorporate it into a simple vinaigrette or a fruit salad. On the savory side, I’d like to make a chile blackberry yogurt to serve with lentil soup.
Anyway, you could think of a thousand things here. Please let me know if you attempt anything new or discover a new match that works well.
I hope you in the United States have a wonderful holiday weekend filled with sunlight, spritzy beverages, and sparklers.
Chile Blackberry Syrup
4 dried pasilla chiles are called for in the original recipe. However, I had guajillo chiles on hand and used those instead. In any case, the resulting syrup will have a strong flavor. It’s more like a slow-motion punch, where the heat smolders and lingers for minutes as it goes through your body. For those sensitive to spice, two or two-and-a-half chilies will yield a mild syrup. For a few weeks, keep the syrup covered and cold.
- 4 oz dried guajillo peppers (see notes)
- 1 cup dark Muscovado sugar or dark brown sugar (170g)
- 1 cup (7 oz) organic sugar (200 g)
- 1/2 cup (355 mL) water
- 14 cups freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 3/4 cup blackberries (3.5 ounces)
Remove the dried chili stems. Tear the chilies into pieces and place them (with the seeds) in a medium saucepan. Bring the sugars, water, and lemon juice to a boil in a saucepan over medium heat. Boil, stirring frequently, for 20 – 30 minutes or until the mixture has reduced to 2 cups / 475 ml.
Meanwhile, puree the blackberries. I used a hand blender in a tiny bowl, but a regular blender is also an option. Pass the berries through a fine-mesh strainer, removing any seeds. Set aside the berry purée.
Remove the chile mixture from the heat and (carefully) purée it with a hand blender until smooth. Pour through a sieve into a heat-resistant basin. Squeeze the remaining solids in the sieve to extract any syrup, then discard the solids.
Set aside to cool after whisking the berries into the chile syrup. Refrigerate in a large jar or smaller jars.
This recipe yields about 2 1/2 cups.
Learn more: Boursin Baked Ziti Recipe